It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve been back home for winter break. Much as I expected, Palo Alto has stayed more or less the same—there were some rumors about our favorite local restaurant closing, which prompted a frenzy of lunch visits and curry takeout orders all around the neighborhood, but it appears as though the claims were for the most part unfounded. Despite the continuity of our life here in California, it seems ever so slightly different after being away for four months. Things I used to take for granted, like eating my mom’s Almond Roca or taking my dog for a walk, are a treat after getting used to living in a dorm. It’s so nice to be able to see my high school friends and cook in our kitchen.
It seemed so luxurious to bake these thumbprint cookies for our Christmas Day party; I had forgotten how nice it is to use a standing mixer and dishwasher and to have all of the ingredients at my fingertips. I didn’t have to take the blue cheese from the salad bar or remove nearly a cup of chopped walnuts from the condiment station—what a treat!
We had a container of fig jam in the freezer left over from the summer (long story, but it involves homemade fig newtons), and after making a batch of fig and blue cheese focaccia, I thought the flavors would do pretty well together in a cookie. These cookies are barely sweetened, a resemble more of a savory shortbread, and have toasted walnuts and Roquefort folded into the dough before the centers are filled with fig jam. They’re a great accompaniment to a cheese plate and serve as great puzzle-solving fuel if, like us, you still have an unfinished 1000 piece puzzle that is the one lingering guest from your Christmas party.
Walnut, Blue Cheese, and Fig Thumbprints
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
¾ toasted walnuts, finely chopped
½ cup fig jam or spread
Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
For the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pistachios and set aside. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream them together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add the blue cheese and walnuts and mix on low speed until distributed throughout the dough.
Taking 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and place 1 ½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using a wine cork or the back of a wooden spoon, press an indentation in the cookie. Fill the indentations with the fig jam. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until just barely golden. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.