Apricot butter thumbprint cookies recipe

Apricot butter thumbprint cookies recipe

Using dried apricots in winter baking serves as a reminder of juicy summer stonefruit.

Nicola Galloway

Using dried apricots in winter baking serves as a reminder of juicy summer stonefruit.

Nicola Galloway is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author and culinary tutor.

As we settle into the winter months I like to cook with dried fruit on occasion for a reminder of summer fruit. Dried apricots in particular bring an intensity of flavor and a little goes a long way.

When our apricot tree is humming in summer I always dry some for winter cooking. Sadly the tree had an off-season (or possibly didn’t experience enough frosts last winter) so I have no homemade dried apricots this year. But a scoop of dried fruit from the bulk bins brings some summer flavor to our sweet treats this week.

With my bag of dried apricots I started by making a simple and flavorful apricot butter. The dried fruit brings a thicker texture compared to using fresh fruit, therefore less sugar is required – in fact leave it out completely if preferred, but I find a small amount takes the sour edge off.

Spread the apricot butter on toast, stir through yogurt, and use in the following recipe.

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These cookies are particularly fun to make with children, or for those who like to be young at heart. It is based on a recipe I shared in one of my earlier cookbooks, Feeding Little Tummies. I used the apricot butter for filling the thumbprints, but any fruit jam or preserved can be used. The ground hazelnuts are delicious in the cookie base, a special treat I get from our local farmers’ market through winter. Ground almonds or extra flour works just as well.

Apricot & hazelnut thumbprint cookies

prep time: 20 minutes + apricot butter preparation time

cooking time: 12-15 minutes

Makes 18 cookies, about 1 cup apricot butter

Ingredients

For the apricot butter

1 cup (200g) dried apricots

1 cup of boiling water

2-3 tbsp sugar

20g butter

For the cookies

100g soft butter

⅓ cup (70g) sugar or honey

1 egg at room temperature

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup (150g) plain flour (can use gluten-free flour mix)

½ cup (60g) ground hazelnuts or almonds (or use the equivalent quantity of flour)

½ tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

About ⅓ cup apricot butter (see above) or store-bought apricot jam

Apricot jam can be used instead of apricot butter, and ground hazelnuts can be swapped for other ground nuts or plain flour.

Nicola Galloway

Apricot jam can be used instead of apricot butter, and ground hazelnuts can be swapped for other ground nuts or plain flour.

Method

For the apricot butter

  1. Place the dried apricots, boiling water and sugar or honey into a saucepan. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the apricots are hydrated and soft.
  3. Remove from the heat, add a knob of butter and use a stick blender to puree until smooth(ish). At this stage if the apricot butter is very thick, add a splash of extra boiling water and blend again.
  4. Scoop into a jar and refrigerate, consume within 1 week.

For the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a cookie tray with baking paper.
  2. Use a stand mixer or food processor to beat/blend the butter and sugar together. Add the egg, lemon zest and vanilla, and mix until creamy.
  3. Combine the flour, ground nuts, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to combine and aerate. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and use a spatula to mix together, or if using a food processor pulse until just combined.
  4. Scoop heaped teaspoons amounts of the dough and roll into balls (about the size of small walnuts). Arrange on the baking tray with space between each.
  5. With your thumb, or the end of a wooden spoon, make an indent into the middle of each cookie ball. Use a small teaspoon to fill each thumbprint with about ½ tsp apricot butter or jam.
  6. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in a container or biscuit tin and consume within 5 days.

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