Thursday, February 18, 2021

Butter Pecan Thumbprints

These Butter Pecan Thumbprints were the perfect treat for my grandma's (low key) 85th birthday and were super simple to make thanks to a cake mix and the super flavorful @croftersorganic Wild Blueberry Spread. The spread has a great texture and a fresh flavour that isn't as sweet as regular jam.

Now that the end is in sight for my university courses, I've had the opportunity to clear out my pantry and try some things out that I didn't have time for the last few months. I stocked up on quite a few "shortcut" mixes for baking last year, one including a Butter Pecan cake mix that I intended to use as the base for N's Nana Cake on his birthday but promptly forgot about. That said, we don't let things go to waste here, and when Crofter's sent me a huge jar of their Wild Blueberry Spread I immediately thought about converting the cake mix into thumbprint cookies. 

Thumbprints have a long history in my family - I can remember many a bake sale, Christmas and Easter where these cookies would be laid out with their arrays of colourful fruit fillings. That said, most of the "cookie" portion of those treats was rather... boring. A relatively standard sugar cookie dough, not offensive but not spectacular either. Call me weird, but those are my least favourite cookie doughs. Give me something with flavour and texture that compliments the other ingredients! Since Crofter's sent me blueberry spread that tasted more like the fruit and not sugar (as can be the case with other jams), I wanted something rich and warm to compliment it. Spotting the cake mix gave me an instant idea, because not only does it have the rich nutty flavours built into the mix but a cookie dough can hold onto other tweaks (like adding ground pecans and nutmeg to the batter, which I did here). All I can say is once the cookies cool enough to handle and eat (a surprisingly long time given the fruit filling), the combination of aromas are beyond indulgent. If mom hadn't come across the rest of the jar and started using it daily on toast (including a bread I made with the jam baked in), I'd be picking up another cheap mix to try other flavour combos!

If you don't know the Crofter's brand of jams and fruit spreads, let me tell you - they are worth seeking out. Normally I see "normal sized" jars of their spreads in the grocery store, but they emailed to let me know that starting this month Costco is stocking HUGE 660mL jars of certain spreads, which is fantastic given the need for more packed lunches these days. Crofter's is a Canadian brand which is still family run, a rarity these days, and they seek Canadian fruit to make their products. The blueberries in the jar I got were all Quebec harvested and there were enough left whole to really hammer home the "fruity" nature of the spread. Crofter's Wild Blueberry Premium Spread also has 1/3 less sugar than regular jams, while adhering to USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project standards. With organic cane sugar and no HFCS it is also a sweet treat that you can feel better indulging in at breakfast.
Butter Pecan Thumbprints 
Adapted from Southern Home Express
Makes ~30

1 Butter Pecan cake mix
1/3 cup ground pecans
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup melted butter
Crofter's Wild Blueberry Premium Spread
  1. Heat the oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the cake mix, pecans, nutmeg, eggs, oil and butter until blended and "cookie dough" textured.
  3. Cover and let rest at cool room temperature for 15 minutes.
  4. Scoop tablespoon sized balls of dough (I used a disher) onto the sheet and indent the centres of each cookie with a damp finger.
  5. Fill the indents with 1/2-1 tsp of the fruit spread, not letting it mound too high.
  6. Bake for 13 minutes. 
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  8. Enjoy!

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