When I just couldn’t stand the winter weather anymore a few weeks ago, I went in search of something delicious to brighten my week. I wasn’t sure exactly what that something was, but I walked into Stanley’s Fruit Market early one morning and saw the answer staring right at me: Dapple Dandy Pluots.
Nope, I didn’t just make up the word pluot. They’re a real thing—a cross hybrid of apricot and plum. Dapple Dandy pluots are purplish red with dotted smooth skin similar to that of a plum. They’re also known as Dinosaur Eggs. Pluots are sweet and juicy; they have a higher sugar content than either a plum or an apricot.
What did I do with these pluots, those beautiful little fruits? I went on a jam-making binge, of course. I made a batch of pluot jam. It was sweet and a brighter shade of red than I was expecting. I loved it for its gorgeously sweet simplicity and sheer exoticism. (I’ve never seen pluot jam at the store, have you?)
But the pluot jam wasn’t enough for me. I had to make a batch of plum jam, too. I’d given away so many jars of the pluot jam already—and I needed more, more, more! More to share, more to hoard in my pantry for the upcoming weeks, more to slather on brie before it’s wrapped it in puff pastry and baked until the pastry is golden brown and crispy and the cheese and jelly ooze together when you cut into it. Also, I just couldn’t get over these adorable little jam jars. I had to make jam until my pantry was going to burst.
Of course, now my pantry is groaning with the fruits (pun intended) of my jam-making efforts, so I’ve shipped jars to my gal Alicia in Creamery, Pennsylvania; I’ve left jars on my neighbors’ doorsteps; I’ve handed them out to friends and family passing through town; and now, dear readers, I’m sending two of my jams—one plum and one pluot—to one of you.
What’s your favorite way to eat jam? Answer my question in the comment section of this post for your chance to win two jars of the KB’s homemade jam! If I’m going to do a giveaway, I might as well give away some homemade stuff, right? I’ll randomly select a winner from the comments. You must enter by noon on Thursday, April 14th.
With all my extra jam I decided to make thumbprint cookies. I always loved thumbprint cookies when I was little, so I filled half the cookies with jam and the other half with pink icing as a sort of cookie homage to the coming spring, which I think might finally be here! I’d like to mention that these little cookies would be great for Easter. They’re very pretty, and you can fill the cookies with a variety of pastel-colored icings to get into the Easter spirit. In terms of texture, these thumbprints are a lot like Pecan Sandies—they’re crunchy and slightly crumbly; the cookies are not very sweet on their own, which is why the sweetness of jam or icing complements them well. I promise these won’t last long on Easter Sunday.
Iced Thumbprint Cookies
If you want to fill the cookie with jam instead of icing, spoon jam into the cookies when you remove them from the oven after the first 10-minute bake time. Press the cookies’ centers down with a wooden spoon, then spoon jam into the center of each cookie, and continue with the recipe.This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart. Click here to download a PDF copy of this recipe.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. whole milk
Pink food coloring
Make cookie dough. Put butter and granulated sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and gradually mix in flour, salt, and pecans. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Bake cookies. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Shape dough into 1¼-inch balls, and space 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Press thumb into center of each cookie. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven; press centers with the end of a wooden spoon. (Spoon jam into the cookies’ centers now if desired.) Bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets.
Make icing, if using. Stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk; tint pink with food coloring. Fill cookie centers with icing. Let set overnight. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 1 week.