Since the holidays are about time with family, friends, and of course, food, I thought I would share a delightful story I heard recently about our own Chef Molly. Molly just happens to be Stephanie’s niece, so we take the phrase “family affair” seriously here! We have sisters, husbands and wives, nieces, etc. all working together. Molly’s mom came to visit us not too long ago, and what did she end up doing with her vacation time but working in the kitchen with her daughter!
We received a large shipment of “grade B” plums; mostly past their prime, inconsistently sized, some with a bit of sun damage. They were red oblong plums, with speckles and red flesh. So Molly decided they would be perfect for canning, to be turned into jam. She enlisted her mom’s help to can the huge amount of fruit! “She spent the entire day in the Tucker House kitchen, making beautiful red jam for us,” said Molly. She even went to Browne’s, our local hardware store, to pick up mason jars for the jam and packed them all herself.
Molly has been using the incredible jam, thick with chunks of fruit, all throughout the winter in her vegan thumbprint cookies, as well as for filling in cakes and tarts for desserts. The jam might also be used in barbecue sauce, in the cheese plate at Coho, and in our famous breakfasts. She was kind enough to share a recipe with us! Perhaps you can start your own family tradition this holiday season and make your own winter jam.
Chef Molly’s Life-Changing Vegan Thumbprint Cookies – makes 4 dozen 3” cookies2 cup whole almonds 4 cup quick-cooking oats ¼ teaspoon finely ground sea salt
1½ cup flour, divided
1 cup canola oil
1 cup maple syrup Assorted jams of your choice (see note)
- Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
- Pulse the almonds I a food processor until they are chopped into small pieces. It’s okay if you have a variety of sizes, just don’t grind them to almond flour. Transfer the almonds to a large bowl.
- Place the oats and salt in the food processor bowl; pulse into meal and add to the almonds.
- Add 1¼ cup of flour, reserving the remaining ¼ cup.
- Pour the canola oil into the bowl, followed by the maple syrup. (Doing it in this order, and using the same measuring cup, means that all the maple syrup will glide out effortlessly.)
- Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. If the dough seems runny, add the additional flour but keep in mind, the dough will stiffen up a bit as it sits. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes.
- Form dough into rough balls about the size of a whole walnut. The dough will be slightly wet but surprisingly not too sticky; a disher or ice cream scoop works well for this task.
- Place the balls on prepared cookie sheets; they can be fairly close together as they don’t spread much.
- Make an indentation in the top of each cookie using the back of a round quarter-teaspoon measuring spoon. Wipe the spoon clean and use it to fill the indentation with your jam of choice.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies begin to brown slightly. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before moving to a rack to cool further; use caution as they are a bit fragile when they first come out of the oven.
Note: Chef Molly, who developed this recipe, tends to leave the almonds chunkier than more people because she likes to bite into a decent size piece of almond when eating these cookies. But you can also grind them very fine if you prefer. She also leaves some texture to the oats rather than pulsing them finely.