Cookies That Taste Like Marmalade Toast

These creative cookies get rolled in panko and filled with your favorite marmalade.
These creative cookies get rolled in panko and filled with your favorite marmalade.

Like bread popped up from the toaster, all crisp and golden, then immediately slathered with sweet butter and jam.

That’s exactly what these cookies taste like.

Since toast with jam is my go-to breakfast most mornings anyway, I just had to try these fun cookies called “Jam-on-Toast Thumbprints.” They are ingeniously rolled in panko before being filled with sticky marmalade.

This clever recipe is from the “Fabulous Modern Cookies” (The Countryman Press) by Chris Taylor and Paul Arguin.

If you don’t know married couple, Taylor and Arguin, they are a true dynamic duo who are both scientists and bakers. Taylor is an epidemiologist specializing in Alzheimer’s and aging, while Arguin is the retired head of the CDC’s domestic malaria unit. These over-achievers also have won hundreds of amateur baking contests.

Yes, the rest of us can now officially feel like total sloths.

Baking your way through their newest book, though, will surely redeem you — or at the very least brighten any day.

Taylor and Arguin put their scientific know-how to use in these cookie recipes, providing intriguing techniques and methods, such as making a Swiss meringue to incorporate into “Fudgy Cloud Brownies” to create what they say is a texture that’s at once both dense and light. For “Bronze Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies,” they brown butter with dry milk powder to create what they call a “supercharged version of brown butter.” And they add red curry paste to peanut butter in “Peanut Salty Crunchers” to fashion a modern-day peanut butter cookie.

For these thumbprints, both all-purpose and whole wheat flour make up the dough, along with butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolks.

The dough balls get dipped into the lightly whisked egg whites, before being rolled in panko bread crumbs.

The cookies get baked halfway, then filled with jam, before going back into the oven to finish baking.
The cookies get baked halfway, then filled with jam, before going back into the oven to finish baking.

Make an indention in each dough ball before baking. About half way into the baking, remove the baking sheet to re-indent the well in each cookie that will have puffed up a bit. Then, fill each well with some marmalade before sliding the cookies back into the oven to finish baking.

Taylor and Arguin suggest using fine-cut marmalade. Admittedly, I have a fondness for chunky marmalade, the kind where you actually get good-sized pieces of rind to really savor. I decided to try using it without attempting to chop up the pieces more. It actually worked well, giving the cookies an even more rustic touch. So, feel free to use a chunkier marmalade if you prefer.

The thumbprints bake up quite crunchy. They taste buttery, and give way to a bull’s eye of irresistible, sunny citrus marmalade.

These “Jam-on-Toast Thumbprints” are pure delight. And if you feel emboldened enough to eat them for breakfast, I promise not to tell.

These Jam-on-Toast thumbprints are so good, it's definitely hard to stop at just one.
These Jam-on-Toast thumbprints are so good, it’s definitely hard to stop at just one.

Jam-on-Toast Thumbprints

(Makes 16 to 21 cookies)

3/4 cup (43 grams) panko bread crumbs (unseasoned)

1/2 cup (71 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

2/3 cup (104 grams) whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar

2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (200 grams) orange marmalade, preferably fine-cut

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two 18-by-13-inch baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Toast the panko in a skillet over medium heat, stirring or tossing frequently, until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small shallow bowl to cool completely.

Whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours and the salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, and beat together on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla until the yolks are incorporated and the mixture is uniform. Mix in the flour mixture on low speed until no dry flour is visible. Scrape the sides of the bowl and the beater with a silicone spatula to ensure all of the ingredients are properly mixed in and no stray clumps remain.

Lightly whisk the egg whites in a separate shallow bowl to loosen them.

Portion 1 tablespoon (19 grams) of dough, using a #60 cookie scoop. Roll the dough between your palms into balls. Roll the balls in the egg white, let any extra egg white drip off back into the bowl, and roll the ball in the panko. Place the coated balls on one prepared baking sheet (13 per sheet). Press an indentation into each ball, using a ball tool (a pencil-size tool with marble-size balls at both ends) or the very tip of your index finger. The cookies will puff some while baking, so the indentation can be fairly deep, but not so deep that it breaks through the bottom of the dough ball.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and use a ball tool, metal measuring spoon, or some other heatproof tool to re-indent the dimple that has filled in during baking. Stir the marmalade in a bowl until it is loose and no longer lumpy. Fill wells with 1 teaspoon of orange marmalade. Place the pan back in the oven to bake until the cookies are just browning at the edge, 13 to 15 more minutes. While the first pan bakes, prepare the next sheet. Remove the baked cookies from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough once the baking sheets have completely cooled, or prepare additional baking sheets. After cooling, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container or at room temperature for several days.

Note: For slightly smaller cookies, portion the dough with a 2-teaspoon scoop and fill with 1/2 teaspoon of marmalade. This will increase the yield to about 30 cookies. Also, although we usually opt to fill thumbprint cookies with a piping bag, the pieces of citrus rind in marmalade make the use of a spoon preferable.

From “Fabulous Modern Cookies” by Chris Taylor and Paul Arguin

Another Sweet Recipe by Chris Taylor and Paul Arguin to Enjoy: Tahitian Pineapple Pie

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  • What an interesting cookie! Very clever recipe, and not too sweet (and least reading the ingredients it doesn’t look as if it is). Thanks for the intro to the cookbook, and the recipe of course. 🙂

  • Hi John: This cookie recipe is a true winner. I can’t wait to bake up more batches to share with friends and family. Enjoy! 😉

  • These sound amazing! But I am curious to know if the indicated bake times are correct. 12 minutes initially, plus an additional 13-15 more? Since most of the cookie recipes with which I am familiar are done in about 10-12 minutes total, at 350 degrees, I’m thinking this might result in very over-done cookies. Your thoughts?

  • Hi Carroll: The baking time gave me pause, too. But I can report back that it is correct. Because these cookies mimic the taste of toast with jam, they are crisper and crunchier in texture. They do not taste over-baked, though. Hope you give them a try! 😉

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