cranberry thumbprints (12 days of christmas cookies)

Sometimes I bring my leftover cookies and treats into co-workers.  The Big Man does the same- he may be big and I may at times be insatiable, but sometimes there’s just too much food and not enough us, so we’ll tuck leftovers into our coat pockets or handbags and hand them out to our loving friends.

But I just have to say- these thumbprint cookies are so fricking delicious that there is no way in hell they are leaving my apartment before I eat every.last.crumb.  I woke up excited to eat another cookie. I squirreled some away in the freezer only to dig them out an hour later.  Out of my cold, dead hands will they…  okay, okay, that’s maybe too far, but you get the point.  These babies are good.
Cranberry Thumbprints

Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies

adapted from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa makes about 18 cookies


  • 1 ½ sticks butter (about 2 ¼ cups) room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ¾ cup white unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup (approx) almond meal, for coating
  • cranberry compote (see recipe) or another jam


In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and combine.

In a small-medium sized bowl, sift together the flour and the salt. In stages, add the dry to the wet until completely combined, but be careful not to overmix.

Dump the batter onto a floured surface and gently shape into a large ball. Return to the bowl and chill for 30 minutes.

When chilled, take tablespoon-full sizes of dough and shape into balls. Place on a greased baking sheet and press an indentation in the center of each ball with your thumb. Lightly press each cookie into the almond meal, indentation side down, to form a light coating on the top of each cookie around the indentation.

Drop a teaspoon full of the compote into each indentation. Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes at 350*F or until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool before devouring.

Cranberry Compote

This compote is more or less your basic Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. The sugar tones down the tartness and the liquor gives a hint of bite. This will keep, tightly covered, for up to one month in the refrigerator. makes approx. ½ cup sauce


  • 1 cup whole, fresh cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon liquor (I like dark rum, bourbon, and whiskey)


Combine the cranberries, sugar and liquor and heat in a small saucepan over low-to-medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook until the cranberries have popped and broken down significantly, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.