While I love to explore fun flavours like Rocky Road or Cookies And Cream, there’s always a place in my heart (and bowl) for good old vanilla… My favourite building block to the perfect ice cream sunday, and the only flavour you’ll find topping my pie.
This year I decided to do something fun and super easy for Easter. Focusing on bright spring colours, instead of traditional Easter shapes or flavours.
We’ve got this big box of Earl Grey tea in our pantry. Nobody’s drinking it (Dave liked it for a while, but has moved on to green teas). So there it is every time I go in, taunting me to throw it out… Except I hate wasting things… Then I started seeing Earl Grey recipes on Pinterest and a lightbulb went off!
So, um… Recently, there’s been some complaints about my baking… Now, I don’t want to go naming names, or anything *cough*Dave*cough*.
Shocking! I know!… And what exactly is his complaint? It’s too brown… Yup, you read that right… “How come everything you bake is brown?,” he says. “No body likes brown,” he says. “You should use more colour,” he says… Of course I handled this with grace and an open mind 😉
Is there any better way to present a jam, than nestled in a delicious vanilla shortbread cookie? I think not. Which is why, when I found myself with several jars of jam on my hands, I immediately imagined dollops of the sugary goodness in thumbprint cookies.
The jam was left over from Christmas. I make my gifts, and last year I decided to make vanilla extract, vanilla scented salt, vanilla-pear jam, and blueberry-vanilla jam… Do you see a theme here? :-)… Anyway, turns out I made more jam than I needed, and 5 jars of the stuff would take me years to go through (if I were to use it on toast). Dave is particular and eats only red jams, so he is of no help.
Of course I don’t expect you to have vanilla jam on hand, nor do you need to. Use whatever jam is your favorite… However, if you’d like to try turning your preferred, store bought jam into a vanilla version, here’s how. Heat 1 cup of jam, 1/3 of a vanilla bean (split, scrape out caviar, and add both scrapings and pod to jam), and about 2 tablespoons of water (add more if needed). Heat over medium-low for 15 minutes (stirring frequently). Remove pod and transfer jam back to jar (if you used the whole jar) or into a new container, and let sit in refrigerator for a week to allow flavours to mingle… For homemade jam, I added the pods and the scrapings of 2 beans to a recipe that yielded a 6 cup batch.
1/2 cup Margarine
1/2 cup Shortening
2/3 cup Sugar
1 tbsp Non-Dairy Yogurt, plain or vanilla (I used coconut)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Salt
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Jam (your favorite)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat the margarine and shortening until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add the sugar and beat on medium for about 2 minutes. Add the yogurt, vanilla, and salt, beat for another 2 – 3 minutes. Add the flour and beat on low or stir in, until all the flour has been mixed in (careful not to over mix).
Using a level tablespoon to measure, scoop dough, roll into a ball, place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookies sheet, and gently press into 1/4 inch – 1/2 inch thick discs. Make an indentation in the center of discs and fill with jam.
Bake for 14 – 18 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.
Allow to cool on sheet for 1 – 2 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Cool completely.
Makes about 30 cookies.