Seeing as my last post was in November, I think it’s high time for another.

I bring you a recipe for a very old-fashioned, but delicious shortbread thumbprint cookie.  It’s mixed with a lot of arm muscle, dipped in egg whites, rolled in chopped pecans and filled with a fancy blackberry jam.  When they’re baked, the jam becomes firm and chewy, while the nuts turn toasty.

I found this recipe in an old cookbook of mine from High School.  It’s handwritten on a recipe card, lovingly titled “Nana Wilson’s Cookies”.  These cookies are very dear to my Mom’s friend’s Grandmother who I presume made them all the time for her.  They taste like they’re made with love and that’s exactly how it should be.

Blackberry Pecan Thumbprint Cookies from Simplified Feast 1

Cookie history, for those that care:  This humble pastry is actually called “Hallongrotta”, which sounds pretty terrible, but means “raspberry cave” in Swedish.  They are typically filled with raspberry jam.

Blackberry Pecan Thumbprint Cookies from Simplified Feast 2

I used a Blackberry & Poppy Flower Preserve that I found at World Market, but you can use whatever jam or preserve you fancy most.

Blackberry Pecan Thumbprint Cookies from Simplified Feast 3

Blackberry-Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

also known as Nana Wilson’s Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies



1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room-temperature

1/2 c. brown sugar, lightly packed

2 eggs, separated

Pinch salt

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. finely chopped pecans

Jam or preserves  (any flavor)



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add beaten egg yolks and a small pinch of salt.  Mix until combined.  Stir in flour, 1 c. at a time, until well incorporated.

Roll into teaspoon sized balls (maybe a little bigger).  Dip balls in egg whites that have been beaten a little and thinned with a splash of cold water.  Roll in chopped nuts and transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet, 1-2 inches apart.

Make a thumbprint in center of each cookie and fill with preserves.  Bake on middle rack for 13 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack lined with paper towels.  Let cool.