If you like cookies that are not too sweet, then you will love these buttery little gems. The first time I made these, many years ago, I thought the recipe made way too many to eat up before they would get stale.
Hubby Allen generally had good self-control when it came to sweets. But not for these cookies because they are very buttery (you can tell by the photo of ingredients), not very sweet and soft rather than crisp. He ate these so quickly it was as if he thought that “a balanced diet is a cookie in each hand”. If he finished his cookies before he finished his coffee, he knew he needed more cookies.
One year I requested a new cookie jar as a birthday present. I had a beautiful ceramic one, but I wanted one of the old glass kinds that used to hold dime store candies and goodies. Allen hated that cookie jar. The good ol’ original ones had a gasket on the lid. The newer version I was given did not have a gasket lining the metal lid. Whenever anyone lifted the lid off and put it back on, it made a distinctive noise.
Of course, Allen tried to figure out how to lift off and return the lid without making noise, because I would hear it. Then I would say, “Another cookie?!” He would grin and waltz out munching more of them. Finally, he decided he could just leave the lid off, and wander in and out of the kitchen, popping a whole cookie in his mouth. If I happened to look at him, though, he would stop chewing.
Yeah, like THAT wasn’t obvious!
JAM BUTTONS: LITTLE BITES OF HEAVEN
I must admit, though, I loved how he loved these little Jam Buttons. The recipe does make a lot of cookies, but these freeze beautifully. I like to make the dough, form and flatten the individual balls of dough, then put a thumb print in the middle. At this point, I freeze them until solid, and place them in a freezer container. Don’t worry about how close they are when freezing, just make sure they are not touching.
When I want to bake some, I put the frozen cookies on a baking sheet and space them out according to the recipe. Then I let them thaw for just a bit while I get organized. By the time I preheat the oven, figure out what kind of jam I want to use, get my special long handled teaspoon, set up the cooling racks, and find my metal spatula, the cookies are thawed and ready to bake.
The dough is simplicity itself. Cream the butter and slowly add the sugar. Beat in eggs and extract, then the flour. I was distracted this time and left my butter at room temperature on a warm day, and it was too soft to form into little balls. If that happens to you and the dough is too soft, refrigerate it for 30-60 minutes. Then it is easy to scoop and shape the dough.
FORM AND MAKE A THUMBPRINT
Place each ball on a cookie sheet as formed, spacing them about 2 inches apart. When the sheet is full, push your finger or thumb into the middle to make a depression, and flatten the cookies out a bit. They don’t need to be perfect, as you can see in the photo above.
Baking is a two-part process with these cookies. Cook them long enough to start to firm up. Notice that they have spread out and the center has come up somewhat. That is normal, and is just fine. Remove them from the oven and spoon jam into each center. Then put them back in the oven to finish.
HOW TO CHECK FOR DONE-NESS
The most difficult part of cooking these perfectly is trying to figure out if they are really done. I usually lift one cookie off the baking sheet and contort myself to check the bottom of the cookie as I hold it up overhead. If it has a moist looking center, then I put the cookies back in for another minute or two.
After cooling the Jam Buttons on a wire rack, it is best to layer them with sheets of wax paper to keep them from sticking to each other.
- 3 3/4 Cups Flour
- 2 Cups Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
- 1/4 Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 2/3 Cup Jam, any flavor
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat butter until creamy and slowly beat in sugar until well combined. Add eggs and extracts and beat well. Gradually beat in flour.
Roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls. If dough is too soft, refrigerate it until it is stiff enough to form the balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheets. Press a deep indentation into center of each ball, spreading dough to approximately 1 1/2 inches.
Bake the cookies for 7 minutes or until cookies start firming up. Remove sheets from oven and fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam. Return cookies to oven and continue baking 6-7 minutes or until the cookies are just set on the bottom. Cookies will not get brown, but will lose their sheen and look dryer.
Cool on wire racks. Layer cookies in lidded container or cookie jar with wax paper between layers.
Makes 6-7 dozen cookies.