How To: Candied Citrus Zest

I love candied citrus zest! It’s an easy way to make a simple sweet impressive. AND it gives you two incredibly delicious and useful products: candy zest and flavored simple syrup! Not many people consider simple syrup a staple – I know I didn’t until culinary school – but now I use it for things like sweetening coffee & tea, mixed drinks, and layer cakes. Continue reading How To: Candied Citrus Zest

Christmas in July (…or August)

Every year I give homemade treats as Christmas gifts for my family. Always something edible, creative, and impressive. After scouring Pinterest for weeks, I decided that I really liked the look of thumbprint cookies. They’re the small, round cookies that you press your thumb into and fill with jam, chocolate, caramel, or the like. The contrast of the dough and filling gives the cookies aesthetic appeal and a great combination of flavors.

Some problems I had with the thumbprint cookies include spreading, uneven jelly, and a whole lot of cracking. My solutions:

  • Whip the jelly until it is smooth before adding to the cookie dough.
  • Press thumbprint in cookie before and after baking (when using a filling that is added after baking).

My favorite shortbread recipe is from the Lemon Thumbprint Cookies by Glorious Treats. It was soft and moist and did not crack when rolled, flattened, and ‘thumb-printed’. Read what I though of each recipe:

Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies from Cooking Classy

Incredible! My mom’s favorite by far!

Orange Thumbprint Cookies from Mom Trends

I would suggest adding zest and orange extract to make the cookies’ flavor pop! I filled mine with a dark ganache and candied orange zest.

Lemon Thumbprint Cookies by Glorious Treats

 The best shortbread cookie. It was soft, moist, and didn’t crack when shaped. I added lemon extract for extra flavor.

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies by Sally’s Baking Addiction

 I’m a sucker for anything almond, so these were heavenly.

Raspberry Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies by Baker by Nature

 So super moist and chewy. Definitely a winner!

Apple Butter Thumbprint Cookies by Mother Thyme

 Such a great combination of apple and spice. Tastes like apple pie!

Gingerbread Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies by Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

 Yum yum yum!

Chocolate-Mint Thumbprint Cookies by Betty Crocker

 Mine weren’t quite so pretty, but still every bit delicious.

Read my expert tips for making perfect cookies!