Suzi's Blog

Market Jam Gems (aka Thumbprint Cookies)

“You’re eating jam. Again,” Suzen said.

I swallowed and objected. “No, I’m not.”

“There is an open jam jar in front of you. Your spoon is grape colored. And so is your lower lip. You obviously have a problem.” She began to leave the kitchen indignantly.

“Wait,” I said. I held open the cookbook and showed her the page. “Quality control,” I said. “Can’t use bad jam.”

“Alright. I apologize. Don’t screw up the cookies.” She left. I baked.

You might know these cookies by another name: thumbprint. This is a soft buttery cookie baked in mounds with an indentation on top filled with jam. Author Jennie Schacht of Farmers’ Market Desserts has renamed them here for a good reason: these cookies are a delightful way to spotlight the jams and jellies that dot the rows of your local farmers’ market.

The recipe below is easy to do and has as many flavor possibilities as you have jams and jellies in your pantry. We used some homemade Concord grape jelly, and then, for contrast used a hot pepper jelly from Beth’s Farm Kitchen. Beth’s products, available in the Northeast, are delectable. And, the “hotness” of her sizzling jelly was muted by the baking process. We ended up with very sweet, yet peppery cookies.

This cookbook, Farmers’ Market Desserts, is a new gem for the fall. Suzen and I will be testing and blogging out of it for the duration of fall here. The best thing about this book is that it uses farmers’ market ingredients in some very new and delicious ways. So, you won’t find chocolate cake recipes in this book. You will find Ginger-Pear Skillet Cake, Grilled Fig Sundaes with Balsamic Fudge, Mojito Melon Balls, and Individual Apple-Pear Crisps. If you shop at a farmers’ market, then here is how to take home those lovely fruits and use them in ways you’ve never imagined.

Market Jam Gems

Yield: about 60 bite-size cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups [2 ½ sticks] unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • ½ cup jam, jelly preserves or fruit spread, strained, if necessary to remove seeds or large pieces of fruit.

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350°F with one rack in the upper third and one rack in the lower third. Line two or four baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a handheld mixer), beat together the butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well and stopping and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add the flour, about 1 cup at a time, and mix just until combined.

Use a melon baller, small ice cream scoop, or a measuring spoon to scoop out a rounded a teaspoon of the dough, and the roll it between floured palms into a ball. Arrange the alls about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. (If you are using four baking sheets, you can form the second batch while the first batch bakes. If you are using two sheets, wait for the pans to cool after baking the first batch before forming the second batch.)

Using a wine cork, the rounded handle tip of a wooden spoon, or your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each ball of dough. Put the jam into a bowl and stir to loosen it. (You may wish to warm it to loosen it further.) Using a ¼-teaspoon measure, fill the indentation generously with the jam. (The jam will shrink a bit as it bakes and cools.)

Bake the cookies two sheets at a time until the cookie edges just begin to color, about 12 minutes, switching the ;pans between the racks and rotating them font to back about halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool on the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes, then, using a spatula, transfer them to the racks to cool completely.

Pack the cooled cookies between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Source: Farmers’ Market Desserts by Jennie Schacht

Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam

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Brian and I had a mutual flashback a week ago: tomato jam. An old friend had given us a jar of his own special delicacy years ago. We never got the recipe from him and it’s not in his cookbook. So we remember Jacque Burdick fondly and we wish we could duplicate his sensational creation.

We went on the web, searched and found this recipe. This recipe is not really a jam, it’s not what we remember, but on its own this is a delectable combination of tomatoes, sugar, and spices. It’s really a condiment and an ideal accompaniment for proteins. We served this with grilled lamb chops and received beaming smiles.

We found this recipe at very good site: theperfectpantry.com. And there they credit this recipe originally to Small Bites: Tapas, Sushi, Mezze, Antipasti and Other finger Foods by Jenifer Joyce. I’ll be tracking down that book for more.

Before those late summer tomatoes disappear, try this. It’s a long, long way from ketchup!

Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1½ lb peeled tomatoes, chopped (I use POMI)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch ground cloves

Preparation:

Place the oil in a large saucepan (I used a nonstick 3-quart pan with a lid). Over medium-low heat, add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for 1 minute until just starting to turn golden. Add the vinegar and allow the mixture to sizzle for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the remaining ingredients, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, until the jam has thickened. Allow to cool completely before serving, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Source: Small Bites by Jennifer Joyce