Right before Christmas my dear friend Jess celebrated her birthday and I refused to let it pass unacknowledged. So I took the day off,
brought her out to a nice seafood dinner and never called her again, brought her out to brunch at the Deluxe Town Diner, shopping for treats, and finally home where I gave her my favorite cookbooks and told her to pick a treat. She chose an adult thumbprint cookie from Baking by Dorie Greenspan. It looked easy enough but then I realized I didn’t quite have the ingredients it called for but had a few other things that would work as substitutes and made it work.
What came out were perfectly bite sized cookies with a lovely yielding texture and bright non-winter tropical flavors of coconut, mango, and passionfruit. Dorie Greenspan’s recipe called for hazelnuts, but I didn’t have any so I swapped in a combination of finely ground pepitas, pecans, and coconut – hers were also raspberry jam filled but Jess wanted something tropical and as all I had that could be considered tropical was coconut milk we went to the store and ended up getting this in Medley of Fruits. It made perfect curd (thanks Ina Garten!) and was just right in our thumbprints. There’s something truly indulgent about making cookies on a whim because it’s a friends birthday and it just feels right.
These were a perfect birthday treat for Jess and I sent her home with most of the leftovers, knowing full well that I wasn’t going to finish them and she would be MUCH better served by having them at her home.
My point? Go make these cookies for yourself, right now. It’s cold and snowy outside and, honestly, all you want is a little bite of the tropics to make you at least fantasize about warmer weather and longer days, AMIRITE?
Tropical Thumbprint Cookies
The cookies are adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. The curd is straight from this recipe by Ina Garten but I substituted finely shredded unsweetened coconut (about 3 Tbs) for the lemon zest and fruit juice for the lemon juice (1/2 cup).
For the Cookies
- 1 3/4 cup Finely Ground Nuts (I used 1 cup of ground pepitas and pecans and 3/4 cup of finely shredded unsweetened coconut)
- 1 3/4 cup AP Flour
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk the nuts, coconut, and flour together
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar together for 3-4 minutes on medium, until light and fluffy. Add the extracts and beat to blend them in, another minute.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour/nut combination. Mix the dough just until the flour is incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- working in scant tablespoons create dough balls in your hands. Once the dough is shaped using your thumb (or the rounded handle of a utensil) press dimples into the cookies.
- Bake the cookies for 15-18 mins, they will be a little bit browned and crispy, don’t worry about under baking these though as the lack of eggs makes the dough fine to eat on it’s own. Also, I enjoyed the tenderness the cookies had when they were a hair underdone.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely after removing them from the oven.
- Fill the dimples in the cookies with your homemade curd, or jam, or whatever thick, treacly thing you want to put there – but the curd went a LONG way.
- Enjoy, with a cup of tea and a friend on her birthday.