Variety Flour Thursday: Almond Oat Flour Thumbprints

April 21, 2011

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my mother is not a baker. Her idea of freshly baked cookies is, to this day, those refrigerated pull-apart dough balls you find amongst the cheese and sour cream in grocery stores. Once a year, though, she would get together with her mother and sisters for “cookie day”. Cookie Day was full of frozen dough, eggshells, maraschino cherries, cookie cutters, cocoa powder, parchment paper, and was, basically, my favorite day of the entire year. Hard to imagine, I know.

And my favorite cookie of them all? Thumbprints. For some reason, though, they were voted off the Cookie Day island and we didn’t make them for years. No one had the recipe; it, somewhat mysteriously, disappeared off the face of my planet. I ended up curbing my homemade thumbprint cookies with the store-bought variety all through high school and up until about 2 years ago, when I started the search for a thumbprint recipe that reminds me of the good ol’ (few) days of rolling dough balls and stepping in flour with my mother. I think I found the recipe, and the only embarrassing thing I can admit this afternoon is that these almond thumbprints not only remind me of the beloved Cookie Day but also remind me of the store-bought thumbprints. Even though I started eating them as a substitution for the “real deal”, those cookies became some of my favorite snacks. It’s kind of an interesting thought, how a food can remind you of a warm, cozy, family activity while simultaneously reminding you of late-night grocery store runs and post break-up cookie binges. Life, memory, nostalgia, all pretty crazy things.

Today, Variety Flour Thursday is all about the oat flour. It’s whole grain, which is awesome for someone who uses a ridiculous amount of all-purpose flour in a week, and fairly versatile. The number of oat flour recipes is enormous and you don’t have to adapt all-purpose flour recipes too much to incorporate it. The oat flour in these thumbprints, along with the almond meal, gives the cookies a hearty crunch while letting be crumbly, like shortbread. You can use any jam you like, I just happened to have raspberry in the fridge.

Almond Oat Flour Thumbprints

(Recipe adapted from the back of Bob’s Redmill Oat Flour bag)

Yields 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup oat flour

1 cup almond meal

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

6 tablespoons light brown sugar (I’ve also used white, granulated sugar with good results)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Add almond meal and oat flour, and mix until dough sticks together.

3. Roll dough into 1 ½ teaspoon-size balls and place cookies on baking sheets about two inches apart.

4. Bake cookies for 30 minutes. At 26 or 27 minutes, working quickly, oven open and make thumb-size indents in the center of each cookie, using either your thumb or the butt-end of a wooden spoon. You want to make the indentation as deep as you can without destroying the cookies (for the maximum jam experience). Close the oven and continue baking until cookies are slightly brown around edges.

5. When you take the cookies out of the oven, make another indentation. The cookies will have puffed slightly since making the first indentation. Fill holes with a half-teaspoon of jam, and then let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.

Keep cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

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