Summer Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies

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Earlier this year I spent some time assisting Yankee’s Senior Life and Home Editor Amy Traverso with recipe testing for our upcoming annual “cookbookazine,” and one of my favorite recipes to come out of the cookbook process was the one for these jam-filled thumbprint cookies, which I am referring to as Summer Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies for the purpose of this post.

I am doing this because I’m currently working my way through two absolutely delicious jars of homemade jam made from New England’s most famous summer berries – strawberries and blueberries – which perfectly complement and enhance the nutty, buttery flavors in the thumbprint cookie.

They are called thumbprints, of course, because you use your thumb to make the well in the center of the cookie that will hold onto the jam once the cookies have cooled.

Despite owning books on the subject and a penchant for purchasing canning jars (which I end up using as containers for gifted baked goods), I have never actually canned or preserved anything. I mean to…I want to…but in the end the process intimidates me. Someday soon I am going to make this right, but until then, I am lucky enough to have a sister and co-worker that like to can, and more importantly, like to share.

My sister Courtney is the jam queen in our family. She’s been making jam in different flavors for around a decade, and I look forward to my jar each year with the enthusiasm I once had for my Easter basket. This year Court made strawberry jam with berries picked at Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, MA.

The blueberry jam was a gift from Lucille Rines, a Senior Production Artist here at Yankee with 36 years (!!!) at Yankee Publishing under her belt. I collaborate with Lucille on the bi-weekly Recipe Box Newsletter, and Lucille is also a terrific cook, so it seems we are always discussing and sharing food and recipes. When I told her I was thinking about including these thumbprint cookies in this week’s newsletter (which is all about blueberries), she brought in a jar of her delicious homemade jam for me to use. What luck!

Lucille and her husband are a formidable canning team. The blueberries (the small, wild, lowbrush variety) were picked on Gap Mountain in nearby Troy, and this year, over the course of just one day, they canned a whopping 72 jars of blueberry jam.

This (plus the zucchini relish, strawberry jam, strawberry-rhubarb jam, bread-and-butter pickles, and tomato sauce they also churn out – whew!) is a recent hobby for them. I couldn’t believe it when she said they’ve only been canning for about 6 years. Way to make up for lost time and set that bar sky high!

Yes, of course, you can use store-bought jam to fill these buttery gems, but if you’re not ready to get canning in the kitchen anytime soon, or are still working on your courage (like me), then do yourself a big favor and get on the good side of those that do and sweet talk your way into a jar.

If they are nice and share, you’ll be a convert for life. Just make sure to return the jar!

Thanks for the jam, Court and Lucille! It did these thumbprint cookies summertime-proud.

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