Christmas Baking - Cranberry-Almond Thumbprints

I love baking and I often get my children involved especially near Christmas. It can be very therapeutic and calming with Christmas music in the background, candles and fairy lights lit.

I would like to share this recipe for Cranberry and Almond Thumbprints which are Vegetarian, Low Sodium and Soy-Free.

Start by making the Cranberry Jam.

Ingredients - Cranberry Jam:

2 ½ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (295 ml)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

⅓ cup orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom

Method for preparing the Cranberry Jam:

Combine cranberries, 1 cup granulated sugar, water, orange juice and lemon juice in a large saucepan.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 teaspoon each vanilla, cinnamon and salt and 1/8 teaspoon cardamom.

Pour the jam through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl (discard solids). Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Ingredients - Cookies:

¾ cup blanched slivered almonds

¼ cup plain flour plus 6 tablespoons, divided

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole-wheat flour

½ cup icing sugar

½ teaspoon coarse salt

½ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed

1 large egg, separated

1 tablespoon low-fat milk

½ teaspoon almond extract

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup granulated sugar

Method for preparing the Cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 1

Spread almonds on one of the prepared pans and bake until just beginning to color, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Step 2

Combine the almonds and 1/4 cup plain flour in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground.

Add the remaining 6 tablespoons plain flour, whole-wheat flour, icing sugar and salt; pulse to combine.

Add butter, egg yolk, milk, almond extract and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture looks crumbly, then process for a few seconds until it clumps together and forms a dough.

Step 3

Whisk egg white in a small bowl until foamy.

Place granulated sugar in another small bowl and set a wire rack nearby.

Divide the dough into 24 pieces and roll into 1-inch balls. Use a fork to dip each ball into the egg white, turning to coat and letting the excess drip back into the bowl, then place on the rack.

Roll the balls in the sugar and divide between the prepared pans.

With the back of a small measuring spoon or melon baller, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Fill each with a heaping teaspoon of the jam. (You'll have about 3/4 cup jam left over.)

Step 4

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the bottoms begin to turn golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes. Transfer to a clean rack to cool completely.


To make ahead: Refrigerate jam for up to 1 week.


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