Jam thumbprints are appealing to kids and grownups alike: Who doesn’t like a sweet surprise? But rarely do we see variations on the buttery cookie base and fruity jam filling. We thought this category of cookie was ripe for a new, sophisticated interpretation. For the filling, we immediately thought of another fruity spread, one that’s richer and a bit more refined than jam: lemon curd, a custard-style sauce made from eggs, sugar, butter, and, of course, lemon juice. For the cookie base, we wanted an equally upscale flavor that would pair well with the lemon curd. A nut-based cookie seemed ideal, and the warm, round flavor of hazelnuts provided a nice contrast to the tart lemon filling. Toasting the hazelnuts before processing them with the flour and salt greatly enhanced their flavor. We love homemade lemon curd, but it’s a lot of work, especially when we needed only ¼ cup to fill all the cookies. The convenience factor of the jarred variety was undeniable here; our favorite lemon curd is Wilkin & Sons Tiptree Lemon Curd. Many other varieties of jarred lemon curd taste cloying, so purchase carefully.
- Yield: 24 cookies
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
- Pinch salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 0.33 cup (2⅓ ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup lemon curd
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Process flour, hazelnuts, and salt in food processor until finely ground, about 45 seconds. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, slowly add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
- Working with 1 tablespoon dough at a time, roll into balls and space them 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Using greased rounded 1-teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each dough ball.
- Bake cookies until just beginning to set, about 10 minutes. Remove sheets from oven and gently reshape indentation in center of each cookie with greased rounded 1-teaspoon measure. Fill each indentation with ½ teaspoon lemon curd. Bake until cookies are just beginning to brown around edges, 8 to 10 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.