Image © Leigh-Ann Martin
I’m hesitant to ask if cookies take a back seat to the baked hams, steamed pastelles, and the rum-soaked black cakes during Christmas in the Caribbean. These foods go oh-so-well with cold glasses of homemade ginger beer, sorrel and punch de crème, but cookies, a word that umbrellas so many baked goods—insanely addictive coconut-chocolate chip, crunchy and mild butter cookies and even the heavily spiced and spiked rum balls—they too make up a happy part of my Christmas eating.
My Ma’ was never a baker. For Christmas, the extent of homemade cookies came from the help of a store-bought box of brownie mix. Ma’ made delicious sorrel jellies and relishes for us to eat with baked meats like ham, turkey and duck breast. Like most jellies and jams, today I realized that one can use the same sorrel jelly to create a sweet treat…perfect for the season.
These Sorrel Jelly and Spice Thumbprint Cookies are made with the same ingredients everyone stocks in their homes for the season. They’re easy to make, bake and eat!
- 4 cups unsweetened sorrel
- 3 ½ cups sugar
- 6 Tbsp. pectin
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter room temperature
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. dark rum
- 1 Tbsp. browning
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 cup sorrel jelly
To Make Quick Sorrel Jelly: in a medium-sized saucepan, bring juice to a simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk in the pectin and whisking occasionally, bring to a rolling boil. Add sugar, whisking until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Cook on high for another 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully cool the jars with the jelly, cover tightly and allow to cool before storing in the fridge.
To Make Spiced Thumbprint Cookies: Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and a second rack in the lower third, then preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and ground spices; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, then the vanilla extract, rum and browning. Beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic, and chill for at least ½ hour.
Roll the dough into 1-ounce balls and arrange on baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Using your thumb or the round end of a small melon baller, make a well in the center of each cookie. Bake, switching the cookies between the upper and lower racks until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Fill piping bag with the jelly and fill each cookie, being careful not to overfill the wells. Place the cookies back in the oven for 5 minutes. Cool the cookies on baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Continue baking cookies on cooled baking sheets.