At Love & Salt, the new Cal-Italian resturant in Manhattan Beach, pastry chef Rebecca Merhej serves a plate of classic cookies that she sees as a counterbalance to overly sweet desserts. The plate’s thumbprint cookies, light on the sugar but heavy on the almonds, are a homey treat that remind her of a cookie she used to make with her grandmother. Bring these to your next holiday party and you could start a new tradition.
(Yield: two dozen cookies)
- 1/2-pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2-cup sugar
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2-teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups chopped raw almonds
- Your favorite jam
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Using an electric hand-mixer or a stand-mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the two egg yolks and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated. Stir in the flour and salt until just integrated.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk.
- Using a spoon, scoop up the dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls. Dip first into the egg whites, then into the chopped almonds. Place on the prepared cookie sheet, spacing each ball 2 inches apart.
- Using your thumb, gently press down in the center of each cookie, making a deep indent in the center.
- Fill with 1/2-teaspoon jam.
- Bake cookies for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden. Transfer cookies from baking sheet to a wire rack to cool.
Recipe courtesy Rebecca Merhej, pastry chef and chef de cuisine, Love & Salt
Love & Salt, 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach, 310-545-5252