Apricot Butter Fingerprint Cookies Recipe

The use of dried apricots in winter baking is reminiscent of the juicy stone fruits of summer.

Nicolas Galloway

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.

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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

Ingredients

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

Apricot jam can be used instead of apricot butter, and ground hazelnuts can be replaced with other ground nuts or plain flour.

Nicolas Galloway

Apricot jam can be used instead of apricot butter, and ground hazelnuts can be replaced with other ground nuts or plain flour.

Method

For the apricot butter

  1. Put the dried apricots, boiling water and sugar or honey in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the apricots are hydrated and tender.
  3. 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.
  4. Pour into a jar and refrigerate, consume within 1 week.

For the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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