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1986 Winner: Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Author/Submitted by: Penney L. Haney of Kenosha, Chicago Tribune annual Food Guide Holiday Cookie Contest December 4, 1986
Servings: 60
Categories: Cookies / Desserts

Ingredients:

-------COOKIES-------
2  cups  Sifted all-purpose flour
1/2  cup  Sugar
1/4  teaspoon  Salt
1  cup  Butter
3/4  cup  Almonds, grated
2  teaspoons  Vanilla

-------FROSTING-------
6  tablespoons  Butter
1/3  cup  Half and half
2/3  cup  Packed brown sugar
2  cups  Confectioner's sugar
1/2  teaspoon  Vanilla
    Pistachio nuts, chopped, for garnish
   

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. For cookies, sift flour, sugar and salt into bowl. Cut in 1 cup butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Blend in almonds and vanilla. Work mixture with fingers until a ball of dough is formed. Then shape into 1-inch balls.

2. Place balls on greased cookie sheets; make a depression in center of each cookie. Bake about 8 minutes; remove from oven. Dent again and bake about 8 minutes longer; cool.

3. For frosting, blend 6 tablespoons butter, half-and-half and brown sugar in saucepan. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Cool about 15 minutes, then stir in confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth and thick.

4. Fill depressions in cookies with butterscotch frosting and sprinkle frosting with nuts.

Winner Penney L. Haney of Kenosha described these cookies: "Oh, the aroma! Dad knew his 'girls' had been baking as soon as he stepped in the back door, brushing snowflakes from his coat. He warmed his hands over the hot oven, slowly recovering feeling in his fingertips, numb from stringing red, yellow, blue, green and white lights in the pines in the yard. His chore and our special treat combined each year to mark the beginning of our holiday preparations. "While chatting to Mom about trying to locate the single, burned-out bulb that had kept an entire strand out, he watched me, his tiny daughter, with not so dexterous fingers, shaping dough into big marbles. I had to kneel on a wooden chair to reach the table, with Mom's brightly-colored apron wrapped around me nearly twice, held together in back by a giant safety pin."


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