Normally I don't get super excited for cookies but now that it's December, I'm ready for all the holiday baking! I'm especially excited for today's recipe because it's what I would call, the definition of a winter cookie. These ginger thumbprint cookies with pomegranate kumquat jam are incredibly soft and tender with a lovely crunchy sugar coating and a spiced tangy jam. Not too sweet, it's easy to eat several of them in one sitting...trust me, I would know.
Ginger Thumbprint Cookies with Pomegranate Kumquat Jam
Ginger thumbprint cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (296 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature (113 grams)
- ½ cup brown sugar (100 grams)
- ⅓ cup molasses (105 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup coarse sugar (100 grams)
Pomegranate kumquat jam
- 2 cups pomegranate juice (500 ml)
- ¾ cup kumquats chopped seeds removed and reserved
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- Make the ginger thumbprint cookie dough. Combine the flour with baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the molasses, beating until combined. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing until fully combined.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Chill the cookie dough for at least 2 hours or until firm.
- Meanwhile, make the pomegranate kumquat jam. Chop the kumquats into small chunks, reserving the seeds. Wrap up the seeds in a cheesecloth and place them in a medium saucepot with the chopped kumquats, pomegranate juice, sugar, star anise, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to cook until thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and discard the cheesecloth with the seeds. Blend the jam until smooth and let cool completely.
- Remove the cookie dough from the fridge. Portion the dough into individual balls about 2 tablespoons each. Roll each portion into a ball and coat them in the coarse sugar, covering all sides. Place the cookies two inches apart on a lined baking sheet. Chill the cookies for another 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake the ginger thumbprint cookies for 10-12 minutes or the bottoms of the cookies are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and carefully use the back of a small spoon to create an indentation in the center. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Spoon about ½ teaspoon of the jam in the center of the cookie. Serve and enjoy!
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If you're a fan of ginger cookies and jam, you're going to enjoy these ginger thumbprint cookies. They just taste like the holidays if that makes any sense.
The cookie batter is a fairly standard cookie batter with the addition of spices and molasses. Start by creaming together the softened butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the molasses, followed by the egg and vanilla, mixing until well combined. Then, while the mixer is running, slowly add the flour mixture. You don't want to add all of the dry ingredients at once or it'll be harder to mix. By slowly adding the flour, you're able to incorporate it into the batter without overmixing.
The cookie batter is very soft so to prevent them from spreading too much in the oven, we want to chill it in the fridge. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours or until firm. You can also make the cookie dough the night before and let it rest in the fridge overnight.
While the cookie batter rests, make the pomegranate kumquat jam. You can use bottled pomegranate juice or fresh like I did. If you're using fresh juice, you need to remove the pomegranate arils from 2-3 pomegranates and blend until smooth. Strain the liquid to remove the seeds and measure the amount you need for the recipe.
For the kumquats, you want to finely chop the fruit and set aside the seeds. The seeds have natural pectin which will help thicken the jam. Wrap up the seeds in a cheesecloth to make them easier to discard later on. If kumquats aren't available, you can substitute them with oranges.
Boil the ingredients for the jam until the liquid is reduced and thickened. Make sure to keep it boiling and not simmering! (An important tip when making jam).
Remove the jam from heat and blend it up until smooth. This jam is very thick but that's what we want for the cookies. You can also prepare the jam up to a week in advance.
By now the cookies should be ready to rolled. I used a small ice cream scooper to get consistent sizes - you want them to be about 2 tablespoons big. Roll each portion into a round ball and coat them in coarse sugar. Arrange the cookies on a lined baking sheet, placing them 2 inches apart.
Pop the cookies back in the fridge while the oven preheats. Then, bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie turns lightly golden. Since the cookies are already brown, it can be hard to tell when they're done. I found the easiest way is check the bottom of the cookie - if it's dark brown, they're overbaked.
As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, use the back of a small spoon to create a small indentation in the center. If you have a round teaspoon measuring spoon, it works like a charm.
Let the ginger thumbprint cookies cool completely, then fill each of the cookies with about ½ teaspoon of jam. A little extra jam also doesn't hurt!
Now get ready to enjoy some holiday cheer! These ginger thumbprint cookies with pomegranate kumquat jam were exactly what I wanted. They're not too sweet and has the most tender crumb. The jam is a beautiful pairing with the lovely spiced notes and slight tartness. A wonderful Christmas cookie if I do say so myself!
For more cookie inspiration check out these mocha almond fudge cookies!