Saturday, December 3, 2011

Butter Thumbprint Cookies

Don't you love it how you gain the neatest recipes through people whose paths you may only shortly cross?  This came from my brother's speech therapist when we were really little.  This is one of my favorite Christmas cookies.   

In my opinion, these are not your run-of-the-mill thumbprint cookies!  They have such a rich flavor.  I used to only make them at Christmas but I've made them some through the year for special occasions for a couple of years now.  Every time I do, people really comment on them.

1 cup butter softened (no substitutes) 
1 cup sugar  
2 eggs, separated 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 cups flour 
¼ teaspoon salt 
1 ½ cups chopped pecans.   

Cream butter and sugar.  Blend in egg yolks and vanilla.  Add flour and salt and stir until combined.  Chill at least 2 hours.  Shape into balls (I usually use my small cookie scoop and scoop the dough out before chilling...the dough is a bit easier to deal with that way).  

Beat egg whites lightly and drop balls into egg whites, roll in pecans.  Place on greased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart and make an imprint in the center with your thumb.  Bake at 325 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Cool and ice with icing below.   

2 cups powdered sugar 
2 tablespoons soft butter 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2-3 tablespoons hot water food color (optional)   

Beat until smooth.   When we make these at Christmas, we color half the icing pink and half green.  They are definitely worth the effort!  Have extra pecans on hand…sometimes it takes more than it calls for.

Sometimes I make more of a butter cream icing so I can pipe it onto the cookies.  Both ways are tasty and pretty!

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