Xmas Special Spiced Thumbprint Cookies with Orange Compote

Thumbprint cookies
Holiday spiced thumbprint cookies

When the 'KitchenAid turns Santa' mail landed in my mailbox couple of weeks ago, I was all excited to take part in this contest. Not only because the prize is a much coveted KitchenAid 4.8 L Tilt Head Stand Mixer, but I always love a good cooking challenge. A recipe using nutmeg, cinnamon or all spice is just so perfect for the Christmas season. Also, it was my redemption because I was too lazy to get into the small scale industry of making Christmas Cake for my family and friends, this year. 

Prep for orange compote

This morning, I peeled off the orange skins, cut them up, cleaned up orange segments, threw them into a pot with sugar and then got on to sipping my coffee and reading the Sunday papers, while the compote cooked itself. In this matter of zesting, I MUST share this secret with you. If you don't have a citrus zester, don't worry. The dear husband got me one from Williams Sonoma store in NYC, unfortunately that one just doesn't work on our Indian lemons or the loose jacketed Nagpur oranges. So here's my epic tip for you. The Tupperware vegetable peeler does a fantastic job of peeling the thinnest slice off the peel, which you can stack up and cut into thin slivers. Trust me, when you've used this peeler, you'll be left wondering how you ever managed without it. 

Coming back to the holiday spiced thumbprint cookies, these are some of the easiest to make and yet so glamourous! The jam once baked gets a lovely stained glass look. You could even make it with 3 different coloured jams to get an assortment of colours. 
My recipe is an attempt to make it with lesser butter and substituting 2/3rds of the all purpose flour (maida) with healthier flours. But you can totally go ahead and make it with 100% all purpose flour- the results will only be better. If you are short of time, use any jam with high fruit content, instead of making compote from scratch. This compote is bursting with citrus flavours that come from the zest and pulp, resonating with deep notes of cinnamon and clove, giving it that xmassy touch.

instant orange compote
Spiced orange compote
Link to entire Printable Recipe

Recipe for Orange Compote
Makes 1/2 Cup
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time (mostly inactive): 30 minutes

2-3 tbsp orange zest
1/3 Cup sugar
Segments of 3 oranges (pith, peel and seeds removed), cut into smaller pieces
4 cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp water

Take all of the above in a heavy bottomed pan and simmer until thick and syrupy and the orange segments have completely broken down. Stir occasionally.
This takes around 20 minutes and more if you have added more water to the mixture.
Once done, fish out the 4 cloves and discard. Keep aside to cool. 
You can bottle this and use it for any other dessert.
A dash of orange liquor will add a lot of flavour to this as well.

Orange compote filled in bag for easy piping
For thumbprint cookies, spoon the compote into a plastic bag or ziploc, sealing the top off with a rubberband or so. Keep aside.

Thumbprint cookies

Recipe for Spiced Thumbprint Cookies - A healthier version
Makes 18-20 cookies
Preparation Time- 15 minutes
Waiting time- Minimum 1 hour
Baking Time- 20 minutes

1/4 cup soft butter (57 grams)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp orange oil or use 1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup foxtail millet flour
1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder ( I use Keya)
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder ( I use Keya)
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1-2 tsp milk (optional, only if required)

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter until fluffy, for 1 minute or so. 
Add the sugar and cream again until pale and fluffy. 
Add the egg and orange oil (or vanilla extract) and whisk well until combined.
In another bowl, mix the flours and spice powders with a whisk until combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine until it forms a smooth dough. Use up to 1-2 tsp milk if the mixture is dry, to aid in forming a smooth dough.
Remove the dough into airtight container and chill for 1 hour or more.

Thumbprint cookies
Easy to make indents using a round spoon like this oil spoon

Preheat oven at 175°C and prepare a baking tray with parchment paper or silicone mat. 
Remove the dough from the fridge and pinch out walnut sized balls. Roll into a smooth ball and place on the prepared tray. Roll out the remaining dough similarly and place on the tray, leaving space between two cookie balls.
With your thumb or a round spoon, make an indentation in the center of the cookie. Take the plastic cone filled with compote, snip a small diagonal piece in a corner and fill each indentation with some compote. You can also spoon a bit of compote into each cookie, but the snipped cone gives a neater effect.

Thumbprint cookies
Ready to bake

Bake these for 15-18 minutes until golden around the edges.
Cool on a wire rack and serve when cooled. Store in airtight container.

Foxtail millet flour, like any other flour gives a somewhat coarse texture to this cookie, so if you are not a fan of that, you can use 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all purpose flour, or experiment with any other healthy flours instead. 

This recipe goes to the KitchenAid turns Santa Bloggers' Contest held across five countries.
Get a special ‘Christmas Frosting Kit’ as gift with purchase of the iconic KitchenAid 4.8 L Tilt Head Stand Mixer from 1st-31st December 2014, and make delectable memories this Christmas. For more details, visit www.christmas.kitchenaidapac.com #KitchenAidTurnsSanta

For PRINTABLE RECIPE, click here

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