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Last week was our first week of school and just a tough week all around for everyone.  Ian only has school M, W, F and T & R was hard and confusing for him not to have school. We went to the Y everyday, which helps.  But Thursday, I thought it might cheer him up to have some special mommy and Ian time and bake together.  He LOVES to cook, and these are what he wanted to make.

He is my jelly lover.  If I let him, he would eat an entire jar of jam in one sitting.  This year I’ve been learning to make my own, much to both of our delight.

 Julia wouldn’t touch these.  Her love is peanut butter.  When she chooses what we’re going to bake, it is always peanut butter cookies, or pumpkin scones.  I guess between the two of them, we have a PB & J sandwich.

This was the first time I let Ian lick the mixer at the end, and he fell in love!  I think he might become a baker, just so that he can lick the bowl at the end.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

1/2 cup seedless jam (I love peach or raspberry)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 oz (6 tbsp) cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven racks to middle position and preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Fill a small Ziploc bag with the jam. Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in a medium bowl (this is a great job for the littlest helpers).

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes (Ian learned today to be the side scraper during this process). Beat in the cream cheese, egg, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as necessary.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds.

4. Working with 1 1/2 tsp of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart (another great kid job). Make an indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb. If you find your thumb sticking to the cookies, wet it a bit with water.

5. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they are just beginning to set and are very lightly browned around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and, working quickly, gently reshape the indentation with the bottom of a teaspoon measure. Snip a small corner off the bag of jam and carefully fill each indentation with about 1/2 tsp of the jam (or not so carefully if you’re 4 yrs old). Put the cookies back in the oven and continue to bake until lightly golden, 12-14 minutes.

6. Let the cookies cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes, before serving.

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