These cookies taste great when made just the way the recipe is written. But, if you’re like me and your cookies always turn out flat, here’s how to make these cookies turn out taller, just like the ones in the picture. First, turn the oven temp down about 10 degrees. Second, don’t soften the butter before mixing, just cut it into 1 tbsp pieces and mix with the sugar. Third, add an extra 1/4 cup of flour to the dough. Finally, once you’ve filled the thumbprints with jam, put the whole cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking. The first time I followed the recipe and my cookies were so flat the jam leaked through the bottom, and the second time I made these adjustments and the cookies not only tasted delicious, they looked perfect, too!
I think I figured out why some people have trouble with this recipe. Made one batch, followed recipe exactly. They turned out great. Made another, but decided to substitute vanilla for the almond extract. BIG MISTAKE! They turned out flat as a pancake, so I’m attributing the cause to the switch in the extracts because I made a third batch, like the first (with the almond extract) and they were perfect. Also followed another reviewer’s advice and used a chapstick end to make the hole. These are delicious and attractive IF you follow the recipe exactly.
Have been making these for Christmas since they first appeared in a Pillsbury Classic cookbook many years ago. They are a tender, buttery, melt-in-your mouth cookie that also look pretty on the plate. They do spread a bit, so I always chill the dough first and roll the dough into balls a little smaller than the recipe suggests.
I’ve made these cookies a half-dozen times now. They’ve been DELICIOUS every single time, but here’s a few words of advice: First, do not leave out the almond extract or sub it with vanilla. The almond adds a great flavor and its very distinct. Second, pull the cookies out of the oven midway through cooking, take a spoon and lightly spread the jam outwards and even it out into a circle. This way, the cookies will look much prettier when done. The first time I made them, the jam had bubbled all over the cookie and wasn’t evenly spread. The flavor was the same of course but the jam likes to go its own direction and I like them to look pretty. Great recipe! ETA: I have found that once the cookies are ready to be put in the oven, if you put them in the fridge for ~15 minutes, it will eliminate the need to “fix” the jam half-way through baking. Also, because shortbread is naturally so white, it is easy to burn these without realizing that the bottoms are browning. So, carefully watch the edges and when they turn light brown, they are done (even if they don’t look like it!) Also, use the back of a teaspoon to make perfect little holes to fill.
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
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