Apricot Butter Fingerprint Cookies Recipe
The use of dried apricots in winter baking is reminiscent of the juicy stone fruits of summer.
Nicola Galloway is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author and culinary tutor.
As we settle into the winter months, I like to cook with dried fruit on occasion for a reminder of summer fruit. Dried apricots in particular provide flavor intensity and a little goes a long way.
When our apricot tree is buzzing in the summer, I always dry some for winter cooking. Unfortunately the tree had an off season (or maybe didn’t see enough frosts last winter) so I don’t have homemade dried apricots this year. But a scoop of dried fruit from the bulk bins brings some summer flavor to our sweet treats this week.
With my sachet of dried apricots I started by making a simple and tasty apricot butter. Dried fruit provides a thicker texture compared to using fresh fruit, so less sugar is needed – in fact, leave it all out if you prefer, but I find a small amount takes the sourness away.
Spread the apricot butter on toast, mix it with yogurt and use it in the following recipe.
* Half Roasted Cauliflower Masala Recipe
* Baked kūmara recipe with tahini butter sauce
* Apple, chamomile and lemon bread recipe
These cookies are especially fun to make with kids or for those who like to be young at heart. It’s based on a recipe I shared in one of my previous cookbooks, Feeding Little Tummies. I used apricot butter to fill the thumbprints, but any fruit jam or preserve can be used. Ground hazelnuts are delicious in the cookie base, a special treat I get from our local farmers market during the winter. Ground almonds or extra flour work just as well.
Apricot and Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies
Preparation time: 20 minutes + apricot butter preparation time
Cooking time: 12-15 minutes
Makes 18 cookies, about 1 cup apricot butter
For the apricot butter
1 cup (200g) dried apricots
1 cup boiling water
2-3 tablespoons of sugar
20g of butter
For the cookies
100g soft butter
⅓ cup (70 g) sugar or honey
1 egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (150 g) plain flour (can use gluten-free flour mix)
½ cup (60g) ground hazelnuts or almonds (or use equivalent amount of flour)
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
About ⅓ cup apricot butter (see above) or store-bought apricot jam
For the apricot butter
- Put the dried apricots, boiling water and sugar or honey in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the apricots are hydrated and tender.
- Remove from heat, add a knob of butter and use a hand blender to puree until smooth (rather). At this stage, if the apricot butter is very thick, add a little extra boiling water and mix again.
- Pour into a jar and refrigerate, consume within 1 week.
For the cookies
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Use a stand mixer or food processor to beat/mix the butter and sugar together. Add the egg, lemon zest and vanilla and mix until creamy.
- Combine flour, ground nuts, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix and aerate. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and use a spatula to blend or, if using a food processor, beat until just combined.
- Scoop out teaspoons of dough and roll into balls (about the size of small walnuts). Arrange on the baking sheet, leaving a space between each.
- With your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon, make a slit in the middle of each cookie ball. Use a small teaspoon to fill each indentation with about ½ teaspoon of apricot butter or jam.
- Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in a container or cookie tin and consume within 5 days.