Syrian Shortbread Thumbprints

The buttery shortbread and sticky and sweet preserves are a match made. They are perfect for tea in the afternoon or after dinner and I love giving these shortbread thumbprints as gifts.

Adapted from Sofra Bakery and Cafe, Cambridge and Friends Food and Family

Makes 15 cookies

  • 1/2 cup clarified unsalted butter (see recipe below)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Raspberry or other preserves

Whisk together the clarified butter and sugar. Refrigerate until firm, at least 45 minutes.

Beat the chilled butter and sugar mixture in the same bowl for 4 to 5 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Mix in the flour and salt until smooth. Use a rubber spatula to form the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to firm slightly. (If chilled longer, it will need to sit at room temperature for an hour or 2 to soften for shaping.)

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Once dough is chilled, using an ice cream scoop and roll into 1-inch balls, placing them about 2 inches apart on the prepared sheet. Make a small but fairly deep indentation using the rounded end of a wooden spoon or your thumb. Chill the cookies for at least 30 minutes to firm.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Fill the indentations with about ¼ teaspoon of jam each. Bake for 23 minutes or until the cookies are just slightly pale golden.

Carefully slide the parchment paper, with the cookies on it, off the cookie sheet and onto a wire rack. Cool the cookies completely before removing from the parchment paper. (Crumbs will stick to your fingers unless the cookies are thoroughly cooled.) Store the cookies, layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

To clarify butter in the microwave: In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 1.5 sticks) of unsalted butter on high, uncovered, for about 2 minutes or until the milk solids have separated from the butterfat. Do not stir. Skim off the white foam on top, then slowly strain the clarified (clear yellow) butter into a measuring cup, leaving behind the milk solids.

To clarify butter on the stove top: Melt 1.5 sticks of unsalted butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. After the butter melts, it will bubble wildly for a few minutes while the water in the butter evaporates. Do not stir. When the bubbling lessens, the butterfat will be clear yellow. Strain the clarified (clear yellow) butter into a measuring cup, leaving behind the milk solids.

Store clarified butter in a jar in the refrigerator or freezer.

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