Spiced Thumbprint Cookies with Guava

Spiced Thumbprint Cookies with Guava

thumbprint cookie, christmas cookie, guava cookie

Are you ready for Christmas? We’re in the last week of baking, cooking, and shopping. Or, perhaps the question is, what does getting ready for Christmas mean to you? Is it movie marathons, or caroling, or Black Friday shopping, or Christmas Eve services with your family, or giving to your favorite causes?

This year, I have followed an Advent devotional (though I am admittedly a few days behind), done a surprising amount of my shopping online, watched a lot of terrible Hallmark movies, baked cookies, attend my church’s Advent services and their festival of tables, made the curious choice to read a selection of holiday themed murder mysteries, and purchased Angel Tree gifts for a young girl. Do I feel ready for Christmas? Not particularly, even though my gifts are all purchased and wrapped.

Whether you are ready for Christmas or not, baking these cookies will make your house smell like Christmas. (Well, it smells like a commercialized North American Christmas anyhow. The first Christmas probably smelled like a petting zoo and nothing like my cookies.) These festive cookies smell fruity, spicy, and warm, and they taste every bit as amazing as they smell.

These combine two of my favorite cookies: the guava filled cookies that my mom makes every year, and  gingerbread cookies, which no one in my family ever bakes because I am the only ginger fanatic in the family. The flavors go together beautifully and the cinnamon sugar dusting adds a pretty holiday sparkle.

I hope you enjoy!

Spiced Thumbprint Cookies with Guava

Guava paste is not the most common grocery item. Unless you have a Latin American grocery near you, it’s easiest to buy it off Amazon.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 7 oz guava paste, cut into small cubes

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for about 4 minutes.
  2. Add molasses and, on medium speed, beat until combined. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined, approximately 2 minutes.
  3. In another bowl sift together flour, spices (minus one tsp of cinnamon), baking soda, and salt. Stir it into the wet ingredients just until combined.
  4. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Mix together ¼ cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.
  7. Roll the dough into small balls. Smaller is better here, go for approximately the size of a chocolate truffle. Roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment. Make wells in cookies with a teaspoon measuring spoon or your thumb. Fill them with cubes of guava paste. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes.
Four Festive Mysteries for the Holiday Season

Four Festive Mysteries for the Holiday Season

Christmas and murder really shouldn’t go together. It’s like peanut butter and pickles or something else that should never, ever be combined. But it also makes sense. Family gatherings are where everyone knows a bit too much about each other, and there are memories of the deepest loyalties and deepest betrayals. All of these mysteries deal with family gatherings gone wrong. And each one is delightful. (I came across a few that weren’t delightful; they did not make the list.)

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Simeon Lee gathers his mostly estranged family for Christmas. Hoping the verbally and emotionally abusive patriarch has grown sentimental in his old age, they gather, only to find that the old man is baiting them to fight about the will. When Simeon is found dead, there is no shortage of suspects and Hercule Poirot must determine if the motivation was money or hatred. As a mystery, this is a 10/10 with twists, turns, and family drama. As a Christmas story, it isn’t the most festive on the list.

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron

Part of a mystery series featuring Jane Austen as an amateur sleuth, Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas follows Jane and the Austen family as they celebrate the Christmas season at an estate named the Vyne. After Jane’s first evening at the Vyne, one of her fellow guests leaves early, as he is on his way to deliver the recently signed Treaty of Ghent. However, his horse immediately returns without him and the remaining guests find the man murdered and the treaty missing. Jane can only conclude that one of their party is a murderer. This is a book intended for readers who are Regency lovers first and cozy mystery lovers second. 

The Mistletoe Murder by PD James

This short story collection was the best surprise of this reading list. Being a fan of complicated mysteries with multiple subplots and fields of red herrings, I wasn’t so sure about reading mysteries in short story form. I was surprised at how satisfying these stories were and just how much James was able to do with both character and plot twists in such a short space. The title story was the best of the group and the ending was just so, so perfect. While these were all originally published as Christmas stories, only two felt truly Christmassy to me and the two others . . . mildly wintry. In spite of this, this collection is strongly recommended.

A Christmas Party (Envious Casca) by Georgette Heyer


Two elderly brothers, one a curmudgeon and the other a jolly fool, live together in an English manor. When one brother decides to invite the whole family to celebrate Christmas, it can only end in murder. Originally, I was going to claim The Mistletoe Murder as my favorite of the bunch. That was until I read this book. I didn’t go in with great expectations. Georgette Heyer was an author of Regency era novels, but she also published a few mystery novels, of which Envious Casca (later named A Christmas Party is one). I think I was expecting this one to be silly, but I was immediately drawn in. The humor and characterization was very Jane Austen, while the plot and twists were all Agatha Christie. I am definitely reading more of Georgette Heyer, and I plan to get this book trending on Twitter with #Won’tAnyoneConsiderNatsLumbago? and #GiveMaudHerBookBackYouBarbarians. (Join me on Twitter to assist my crusade!)

What’s on your reading list this holiday season?

Waiting for Saint Nick: An Amaretto Cocoa

Waiting for Saint Nick: An Amaretto Cocoa

What is your favorite Christmas movie? I always feel like I am supposed to respond with a classic like It’s A Wonderful Life, White Christmas, or even A Christmas Story. I like all of those, but none of them are my favorite.

The Family Stone. 100%. The storyline is Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) is meeting the parents for the first time. Her boyfriend, Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney), has a large family, the youngest of which, Amy (Rachel McAdams), hates Meredith. Meredith is classy and career driven, but she babbles when nervous and frequently puts her foot in her mouth. As Meredith melts into a puddle of anxiety, the other Stone members deal with their own issues, which range from breast cancer to adoption to encountering high school sweethearts. I love this movie because I am drawn to kooky family drama and holiday misadventures. The characters are multi-faceted and played by amazing actors. Diane Keaton is fabulous as the Stone family matriarch.

Whatever your favorite Christmas movie is, this is the hot chocolate you want in your hand as you watch it. Not to brag, but it’s kind of perfect. I initially bought amaretto to make a previous recipe for this blog, but I have quickly learned that amaretto is hot chocolate’s best friend (not marshmallows as previously assumed).

Waiting for Saint Nick

  • 1.5 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 serving dark hot cocoa mix
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Nutella
  • 1 ounce amaretto
  • 1 ounce cognac
  • Topping ideas: whipped cream, holiday sprinkles, chocolate shavings
  1. Heat milk over the stovetop. Do not boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and whisk in cocoa mix. Once the cocoa mix is incorporated, add Nutella and whisk until thoroughly blended.
  3. In each mug, add 1 ounce cognac and 1 ounce amaretto. Pour in cocoa.
  4. Add preferred toppings and enjoy!

Movie pairing: The Family Stone
Book pairing: Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

White Christmas Cocoa

White Christmas Cocoa

This recipe is a cross between a white peppermint hot cocoa and a White Russian. It’s perfect for an evening spent wrapping presents, a weekend day spent reading, or time spent watching so-bad-they’re-good Hallmark Christmas movies. It is delicious, and I hope to never know exactly how many calories are in it. (If you do the math, don’t tell me.) If you care even less about calories than I do, you can swap out some of the milk for half-and-half.

This recipe is for one (generous) serving so double or triple as needed if serving a group.

  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 3 oz white chocolate, chopped or grated
  • 2 drops peppermint extract
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • 1 ounce Vodka
  • Toppings: Whipped cream, candy canes, sprinkles or colored sugar
  1. Heat milk over the stovetop. Do not boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and begin adding the white chocolate to the milk approximately 1 ounce at a time, whisking until dissolved, and then adding the next ounce.
  3. Add in peppermint extract.
  4. In each mug, add 1 ounce Kahlua and 1 ounce vodka. Pour in cocoa.
  5. Make it pretty with your desired toppings, take a picture for Instagram, and enjoy!

Recommended movie pairing: White Christmas (of course!)
Recommended book pairing: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens