This recipe reminded me the apricot brown butter thumbprint cookies I used to bake while working in the kitchen at the Bi-Rite Creamery. The dough is dense and smooth and we would pipe in sweet and tart apricot jam that would ooze and caramelize on the edges. Man. I love those cookies.
I am the kind of person, who, at any given moment might have multiple jars of jam floating around my kitchen. I decided to do a little taste test and try out some different filling options. I had a jar of ume plum jam by Yumé Boshi that is sour and salty and so amazingly delicious. I also had a jar of crabapple jelly that my friend Johanna gifted me. She made the jam last fall from trees on her property in Vermont and it is sweet and fruity. Then I remembered I had a jar of habanero fudge that Mike's mother had given as a stocking stuffer for Christmas... and the game was on.
Ingredients For Dough:
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup smooth tahini
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ingredients For Finishing Cookies:
1/4 cup sesame seeds
jam or fudge
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside. Combine butter and tahini into a stand mixer and mix until smooth with the paddle attachment, about one minute. Scrap bowl (you should continue scraping regularly moving forward but I am going to stop adding it to the directions), add sugar and mix again. Then add maple sugar, egg, lemon zest and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix until dough is consistent in texture and pulls away from the side of the bowl. This dough is pretty easy so you don't have to worry about over mixing.
Using a cookie dough scooper, scoop dough into balls. Place sesame seeds in a small bowl and roll the dough into the seeds until coated. Place coated balls onto the parchment lined baking sheets and using your thumb, press holes into the center of each ball. Then using a small spoon (or by piping), fill each hole with selected filling.
Bake twenty minutes and enjoy!
My taste test conclusion? They were all delicious (Ah! Such a copout I know...) but for very different reasons. The chocolate played really well with the buttery tahini and I would say is a crowd pleaser. The crabapple jelly reminded me of a classic thumbprint cookie with a sweet fruity filling and a rich dense cookie. However, the ume plum jam was my personal favorite. This funky jam was a great compliment to the nutty sesame seeds and added an acidic kick to the cookie that I loved.