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Onion Jam Thumbprint Cookies

The photo is of the unbaked cookies, because I failed to take a good photo of them after they came out of the oven and before they were taken away.

I am catering a cocktail party (well, we are – I never cook alone anymore; everything I make is a joint effort with Dave nowadays). We’ve never done any catering before, but this was for the Fresh Fruit Festival, an LGBT theatre festival I’ve been volunteering to help out.

When the Managing Director asked us to make savory cookies (among other things), I said sure, though I’ve never heard of savory cookies before. I figured that with my cookbook collection and the powers of the internet, it’d be easy to find a decent recipe and tweak it into something good. It was not. Dave found one recipe that didn’t quite work out, and then we were on our own.

Savory cookies. Sure, why not? We can supply anything except catering business cards, which perhaps we should have printed out.

If anyone out there has more savory cookie recipes, I’d love to hear about them.

Onion Jam
3 or 4 smallish onions, chopped
6 oz red wine
2 oz tarragon vinegar
1 tbsp herbes de provence
1 tbsp mustard oil

Saute the onions in butter until they are browned and nicely caramelized. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir over the heat briefly, then remove from the heat.

Thumbprint Cookies
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
One 8 oz. package cream cheese (chilled and cut into pieces)

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are about the size of bread crumbs. Add the cream cheese and process until the dough begins to clump together, about 30 seconds.

Chill the dough briefly in the fridge; 1/2 – 1 hour or so ought to do you.

When you’re ready to make the cookies, position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough into 1″ balls. Place them on the cookie sheet and press them down with your thumb to form the indentation.

I filled them with onion jam before baking the first time, but I actually suggest filling them after baking instead, so that the onions retain that translucent beauty instead of crisping and drying in the oven. On the other hand, if these need to travel at all, fill them before baking so that the onions will adhere more to the dough.

Bake, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time, for about 25 minutes, or until light golden brown at the edges. (If you cook them with the onion jam in, it may take closer to 30 minutes overall.) Cool on wire racks. Fill if you have not filled them in advance.

Grind some black pepper and sprinkle some fleur de sel (or other lovely, crunchy salt) over each cookie before serving.

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11 Responses to “Onion Jam Thumbprint Cookies”

  1. Rose Fox says:

    This might interest you, and other readers of this blog:


    In your copious free time, of course.

  2. Rose Fox says:

    As for savory desserts, I really like making shortbread with minmal sugar and lots of herbs and salt.

  3. abbacat says:

    Trader Joes has these pouches of alaea sea salt and black sea salt that would be (I suspect) perfect on those cookies! They’re good-sized cubes of crunchy salt with red clay or black lava mixed in. They’re great flavors for people who like mineraly things, and I’d bet the red salt would complement sweet onion nicely.

  4. RhiannonStone says:

    I consider shortbread cookies to be savory. Other than that, though,
    the only savory cookies I can think of are cheese biscuits, which are
    basically cheese straws in a cookie form factor. I make them with
    cheddar, blue cheese, and parmesan (seperately, that is, although I bet
    it’d be good together!).

  5. Danielle says:

    Rose – that sounds very similar to our first attempt, which were these sort of almond cookies with herbs and salt on top. They tasted too dry to me, too much like crackers, is why we ditched that idea.

    abbacat – Mmm, specialty salts! Exciting. I’ll have to try that.

    RhiannonStone – Cheese biscuits could count, sure. I was even thinking cheese and herb savory scones, but we were told to avoid needing messy spreads and stuff, and scones are not as good dry.

  6. Ivonne says:

    You’ll have to excuse my ineloquence but I just don’t know how else to say it … YOU ROCK!

  7. Danielle says:

    Ivonne – That means a lot to me, coming from you! I love your blog so much!

  8. [...] Appetizers and Snacks French Onion Soup Dumplings Garlic Scape Tartlets Kaddo Bourani (Pumpkin with Yogurt and Meat Sauces) Onion Jam Thumbprint Cookies Roasted Red Pepper Chipotle Egg Rolls with Tzatziki Dipping Sauce Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms (Cheese) Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms (Duck) Sweet Roasted Káposzta Töltött Paprika (Cabbage-Stuffed Peppers) [...]

  9. embee says:

    So were these onion thumbprints good? They sound kind of good. Maybe some poppyseed in the dough too?

  10. Danielle says:

    embee – They were!

  11. Susanne says:

    Have you thought about balsamic onion jam?

    Try this recipe from http://coconutlime.blogspot.com/2007/08/balsamic-onion-jam.html
    Balsamic Onion Jam

    4 red onions, cut into 1/4 inch thick half rounds
    1/2 cup water
    3 tablespoons brown sugar
    2 tablespoons reduced balsamic vinegar*
    3 tbsp grape juice
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    pinch salt

    In a large sauté pan with a lid, heat the oil. Add the onions, cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally, until translucent but not browned. Sprinkle with sugar, and grape juice, cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or onions are golden and soft. Add half of the water, sprinkle with salt, cover and continue to cook on low, stirring occasionally for another 20 minutes or until the onions are a rich, dark brown. Add the remaining water and the vinegar, cook 10-15 additional minutes, uncovered, or until the water, grape juice, and vinegar has been absorbed.

    *Note from your website: don’t buy expensive real balsamic vinegar. Take several large bottles of inexpensive but tasty balsamic vinegar, pour them into a big pot, and simmer it all down until it is reduced to about 1/4 the original amount, and is thick, syrupy, and coats the back of a spoon. Then pour that back into one of the bottles to keep in the cupboard.

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June 2006
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