And like that, it was Christmas.
This saddens me, because it means that pretty soon it will stop being acceptable to listen to my NKOTB and Hanson Christmas CD’s day every day all day. And it means that I won’t be able to talk about them on this space for roughly 315 days. Phew, man, I just gotta be strong. I got this.
You know what else I’ve got? New skis. A gorgeous new winter coat. Loads of not-new stuff. Chipped nails. Constantly-splitting ends. A truck with snow through-the-grill from plowing myself through 15″ of fresh snow. Cat affection. Cat reflection. Cat detection. Cat protection. Cat selection. Cat complexion. Cat infection. jk.
I also have these Deep Dish Pistachio + Plum Jam Thumbprint Cookies, and tell you what, they are infectiously good. Speaking of infections, after making Seasons 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead last for months, we found a little contagion of our own and watched 10 FLIPPING EPISODES in a one-day time span over the weekend. Disgusting. Disgustingly good. And yet also, disgustingly bad. Poor actors who get all emotional, pick a point somewhere off yonder and stare pointedly, I’m looking at you. While Eli comforted my conscience by quoting the recent and surely scientific study of Netflix users, wherein 73% felt awesome after binge-watching the program of their choice, I can’t help but feel a bit rueful about time lost.
I used Mirabelle plum preserves for these thumbprint cookies, because it is gorgeously golden in color, decadently sweet in taste, and delightfully refreshing as far as jams go. I also added in a few splashes of red currant jelly, for festive flare and extra yumminess. Spell check recommended I change yumminess to crumminess, but I don’t believe it for a minute. I’ll mention now that when I say deep dish, I mean huge monstrous dish – - so if you are jam-averse in the slightest, this is not a cookie for you. These cookies have jam for days.
And pistachios, darling gems of the plant world. I had a sudden onset of confusion while at the grocery store the other day, realizing that I didn’t know what a pistachio…. tree?bush?shrub? looks like. Sure enough, it is a small tree native to the Middle East and Central Asia. Surprise factoid of the day: pistachio trees actually contain urushiol, the same toxin found in poison ivy (as well as mango, cashew, and sumac trees). How about that. No urushiol here, though, because good golly am I allergic.
If you make these, make sure to let them cool fully, or else you’ll have jam running every which way like I did. One cookie makes an excellent treat split between two people, but then you’ll just want to eat twice as many. An interesting conundrum with an easy solution. Deep dish holidays are here to stay, I think.
Deep Dish Pistachio + Plum Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 12 deep dish cookies
1/2 c. roasted + salted pistachios, shelled and chopped fine
2 sticks (1 c.) unsalted butter, softened
Heaping 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 c. flour
7 oz. Mirabelle plum preserves (or other plum jam)
1-2 oz. red currant jelly
In a large bowl, beat softened butter two to three minutes until floofy and light-colored. Add in sugar and salt, and cream together. Beat in vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time.
Add flour, and mix until just combined. The dough will look pebbly and crumbly. Cover, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Butter and flour one 12-cup muffin tin; set aside. Heat oven to 350 F. When dough is chilled, remove from fridge and divide into twelve equal portions. Roll each dough ball in the crushed pistachios, then set into the prepared muffin wells. Push down in the center and up around the sides, to create a bowl or cup shape out of the dough. As you can see in the above picture, I brought the dough up nearly evenly with the edge of the pan.
Place one heaping tablespoon of Mirabelle plum preserves in the center of each cookie. Add 1/2 tsp of red currant jelly on top of each for extra color and tasty taste. Sprinkle with any remaining pistachios.
Bake for 22-26 minutes, until edges are light golden brown. Remove from oven, and allow to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes – they are fragile and jammy until the cool significantly. Run a thin knife around the edge of each cookie, until you can pop each one out of the tin. Set on a cooling rack to cool further, before storing in an air-proof container, preferably in the fridge.
++Options:++ Switch up the jams or the nuts if this combination isn’t to your liking. Also, feel free to add a dollop of your favorite brown sugar-based streusel on top, prior to baking. The computer wants to auto correct streusel to stressful, but streusel is only stressful when you’re out of brown sugar like I was, hence the lack of streusel here. These are very pretty as is, though. Like giant cheery Christmas eyes, watching you…. always watching.
I’m really quite jazzed for Christmas. I spent weeks eying various fir trees alongside the roads I drive every day, only to end up cutting the tree next to the tree I had chosen, upon discovering that aforementioned chosen one was a reeeeeeally wide load. I cut it down in a freezing rain downpour, and once it had thawed out at home, we lit it up with our five strings of lights and various homemade ornaments. I create a wood-burned ornament for the tree each year, and this year, it was an homage to my thousand times gorgeous teal Yeti mountain bike.
Sunday was a snow day. We took to the streets on our new skis, and had the greatest time bombing down mini hills and plowing through the foot or so of snow that we had accumulated at that point. We brunched at our local organic cafe, The Whole Potato, where I discovered this frightful puppet looming above me, working to finagle some of my sweet potato hash. Stay back, haunting little person.
The snow days continue out here in the woods. Only a few more days to be spent plowing through the snow in my truck, before launching into fully-fledged Christmas cookie consumption and cat adoration/infection. Happy holidays to each and every one of you – may whatever you celebrate be celebrated with peace, joy, and love.