For the past few years, we’ve spent our wedding anniversary in different cities. Last year, we celebrated with a whirlwind visit to Chicago in the middle of a big road trip. The year before that, we spent it in New York City. This year, we stayed closer to home and decided to explore the real wild west coast: Tofino & Ucluelet. Cornelius had visited when he was a kid, but I’ve never been because it’s kind of a hassle to visit. There’s a 2 hour ferry ride and a three hour drive along gorgeous but super twisty, narrow roads. Since we only bought a car last year for the first time in my adult life, now seemed like the perfect time to go!
We spent most of our time hiking the various trails and wandering down the immense beaches in Pacific Rim National Park between Tofino & Ucluelet (check out our photo set). While the weather wasn’t the best – lots of mist, wind and grey skies with small bouts of rain, it was as magical as everyone says it is. We got up early to explore tidal pools where we saw sea stars (that’s starfish to you old timers) in vibrant oranges and purples, sunflower sea stars, sea anemones, jellyfish, barnacles and climbed around rocks and walked across miles of sand. And the forests were amazing! So verdant and lush with giant sitka spruce and red cedar trees, moss, and ferns. And I even got to see a bear for the first time! Twice – once from the car and a few hours later, we spotted another one off the trail we were hiking on. We watched surfers catching waves and made a lunch stop for amazing fish tacos and spot prawns. It was a wonderful way to spend our 8th anniversary and I’m already wondering when we can head back.
A few days before our trip, I decided to make some cookies. I wanted them to be a special anniversary treat since I wasn’t going to be baking a cake while we were hunkered down in our rented tiny cabin. So, I made these on a Friday afternoon and when Cornelius came home that evening, he declared them his favourite cookie ever. He also proceeded to whittle down my precious supply of 12 cookies into the single digits. The next day there were no more cookies left. They didn’t make it for our trip, but no matter, as they were clearly enjoyed.
These jammy thumbprint cookies reminded me of packaged Peak Frean Fruit Cremes from my childhood. But a million times better. The cookie is buttery, but not too buttery. The almonds give maximum crunch, while the raspberry jam is still luscious but somehow after baking the flavour and texture seems enhanced. Not only is it a delicious cookie, but it’s a beautiful sight to behold.
I dunno if there is a more romantic cookie out there. Bake up a batch today and spread the love. Better make it a double batch!
raspberry jam thumbprint cookies
(recipe from Nicole Dula)
3/4 c toasted almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 egg, separated
1 t vanilla
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
pinch of sea salt
1/4 c raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 425F.
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Separate your egg, setting aside the whites in a small bowl. Add only the yolk along with the vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture and continue beating until fluffy. Slowly mix in the flour and salt until the dough comes together. For me, the dough was a bit crumbly, but if this happens to you, don’t worry about it. Everything will be okay (we’re making cookies, remember?)
Scoop the dough and roll into small sized golf balls with your hands – this is where your possibly crumbly dough will come together. You should have about 12 balls in total – the original recipes says 15. Whatever. Using one hand to roll each dough in the egg white and then use your other hand to roll that dough ball into the almonds. Set onto a silpat or parchment covered baking sheet.
Using the stem end of a wooden spoon (or your thumb), make an indent into each cookie. Use a 1/2 teaspoon spoon to fill with raspberry jam.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on wire rack.