The Fourth of July holiday weekend is coming up soon. We will be spending some time at a lake nearby with family kayaking, fishing, and eating! When my family gets together, as I think it is in most families, it’s always, “What do I bring to eat?” I always think desserts. I considered cherry cheesecake, blueberry pie and cut out sugar star cookies.
But something else has happened this week. Our first grandchild was born on June 30th! A beautiful baby girl was delivered in the middle of the night and it’s been a whirlwind of activity and fun. I’ve had little time to bake or plan anything special for the 4th. So I needed a quick and easy cookie recipe. I dug out an old thumbprint cookie recipe that I use at Christmas.
After mixing up sugar, butter and flour with vanilla, egg and salt, this cookie dough is rolled into small balls (if you use a scale, each weighs about 3/4 of an ounce) and dipped into sugars. Instead of using red and green as I do for the Christmas season, I substituted red and blue sugars for the Fourth of July.
After rolling the cookies in the colored sugars, I made a depression in each cookie using well, my thumb of course, covered the cookies with a sheet of aluminum foil and chilled the whole cookie sheet for 1 hour while I mixed up the vanilla frosting.
After baking and cooling these simple, shortbread like cookies, I allowed them to cool for about 30 minutes, then filled each cookie using a basic powdered sugar icing with a piping bag and star tip. You could also just use a spoon to add your icing. If you are using a spoon to add the icing, thin a bit more with additional milk. Add milk slowly, a tablespoon at a time as a little bit goes a long way toward thinning.
These cookies mix up so quickly. You’ll spend the most time rolling the balls and dipping in the sugars. Chilling the dough for an hour adds to the time also. But they still remain an easy cookie recipe that can be used for different holidays and occasions.
You can vary the color of sugars and the frosting. For example, I use green and red for Christmas with red and green frosting.
I made my daughter some pretty “girlie” thumbprint cookies today using bright pink sugar! Since she and her husband were bringing their baby home from the hospital today, I wanted her to have a sweet special sweet.
I do recommend using sanding sparkling sugar, it’s a fine sugar and coats the cookies really well. Also, dip the cookie dough balls in the sugar immediately after rolling so the sugars will adhere better to the slightly softened and smooth cookie.
I love lots of frosting so I make my depressions extra deep and fill to the brim! This is a somewhat crumbly & dense cookie, it will remain soft for a few days in a covered container, otherwise freeze the cookies in a tightly covered container.
Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Fourth of July weekend 2015! Tag us if you try the thumbprint recipe with your photo on instagram or your favorite social media. #countrycupboardcookies. We’d love to see your cookies!
- 8 ounces unsalted butter (1 cup)
- 1¾ ounces light brown sugar, packed (1/4 cup)
- 1¾ ounces white granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- 10 ounces all-purpose flour (2¼ cups)
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- colored fine sugars as desired
- 9 ounces powdered sugar (2 cups), unsifted
- 3 TBL butter, very soft
- 3 TBL milk (can use any kind of milk here, skim, whole etc. Or use just water if you prefer)
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Cream softened butter and sugars together until mixed well.
- Add 1 egg yolk and vanilla. Beat well.
- Add flour and salt and mix until soft dough forms. You may need to finish mixing with your hands as dough is very thick, but it shouldn't crumble apart.
- Form small balls of dough and roll smoothly. Roll in sugars and place on silpat lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Using your thumb or forefinger, make a depression in each cookie. Try to keep cookie from cracking.
- Cover cookies with wrap or foil and chill 1 hour.
- After chilling, bake cookies at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Sometimes, if craters are not deep as I would like them, at this time, I will use the tip of a spoon to further indent while warm. Be careful not to crack the cookie.
- Cool for 30 minutes, then use a piping bag and tip to fill with frosting and sprinkle with sugars.
- I used a wilton # 21 open star tip, but you could also use a spoon to add frosting. Just thin your icing a bit more if using a spoon.
- Mix powdered sugar & very soft butter with flat beater. Add milk and vanilla. Icing works well in a piping bag as is. If too thin, you can chill or add more powdered sugar. This icing will firm up quickly as it sets. Fill each cookie, then sprinkle with additional sugars.