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*Thumb Prints*

You don't have to stand in a line-up to appreciate a thumb print. These jam filled cookies are great with a cup of tea boiled on a kettle on the old wood stove.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 slightly beaten egg whites
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup cherry or strawberry preserves

Begin by beating the butter for about 30 seconds then adding the sugar. Beat again until mixture is fluffy. Now add the egg yolks and the vanilla and beat yet again.

Add dry ingredients (except nuts) into mixing bowl and mix as thoroughly as possible. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour or more.

Spend the intervening time making sour cream cookies (which don't have to be refrigerated), or chipping away at your Christmas Card list. If you have guests, you can save a lot of postage by giving them their cards now.

Here is the fun part. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and roll them in the egg whites (which you could also have beaten in the interim). Then roll in the chopped walnuts. Place each cookie about an inch from the adjacent ones on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press down the centers with your thumb. (No law says you can't use your fingers or even your toes - if they've been washed.)

Add a dollop of the preserve into the depressions. Bake the cookies in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 17 minutes. Don't forget to cool these on a wire rack as you don't want moisture to gather underneath them to make them soggy.

Thumb prints are a bit like little pies. Kids love to eat them, but adults will appreciate the effort and the taste.

This recipe makes about 3 dozen.

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