The cookie craze continues on the blog this week because you can never have enough cookie recipes, especially during this time of year. I’m hosting my 2nd annual cookie exchange party with my family this coming weekend, and so I’m trying to keep my options open for which cookies I’ll be making this year. I’ve partnered up with my friends over at GO BOLD WITH BUTTER to bring you these Baklava Thumbprint Cookies just in case you’re a last minute planner, such as myself, and are still in need of some holiday cookie inspiration. I’m a big fan of baklava but I never make it at home because I find it to be so tedious and grueling to make with all the layering of phyllo dough and the long baking and cooling times. It’s just not for me. So I came up with a way to get all of those delicious baklava flavors in a much simpler-to-make thumbprint cookie. The perfect fit for those cookie tins!
Let’s start with the dry ingredients for the shortbread dough. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, and salt until well combined.
**Note: The almond flour gives this shortbread dough a nice texture and taste. If you have hazelnut flour that would work as well! You can also swap out the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour if you’d like!**
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and stir in the vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients and stir until the dough becomes crumbly and just begins to come together. Use a rubber spatula to bring the dough together completely, without over-working it.
In a small bowl, toss together the chopped nuts with cinnamon until the nuts are evenly coated with the cinnamon.
**Note: I used a mixture of finely chopped pecans, pistachios and walnuts. You can use all of one kind of nut, or two of a kind or switch it up with whatever your favorites are. Pistachios are a must though because this is baklava after all!**
Using a small cookie scoop (I like this one) portion out the dough into even mounds and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using your thumbs, make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Make it big enough so that the filling will fit. Top each with about a teaspoon of the nut filling.
**Note: Because these cooking don’t have any eggs or leavening agents, they don’t spread or puff up at all, so you can fit them in snugly onto the baking sheet next to each other.**
Bake the cookies in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly golden brown around the edges, about 15 to 18 minutes. While the cookies bake, let’s make the baklava syrup. In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar, water, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and add in the vanilla and honey. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
**Tip: You can make the syrup a day in advance and keep it in the fridge in an airtight container. Just allow it to come down to room temperature right before using!**
Once the cookies have baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and then drizzle the cookies with about a teaspoon or so of the cooled syrup. You can add more syrup if they dry out or if you just happen to like syrupy baklava.
If you plan to make these cookies in advance, I suggest baking off the cookies as directed. Making the syrup in advance and keeping it in the fridge as I had suggested earlier, and then just drizzling the cookies with the room temperature syrup on the day you plan on serving/eating them.
**Note: The cookies can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored at room temperature in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper.**
You’ll have some extra syrup, but I did that on purpose because as the cookies sit, they’ll soak up the syrup and you might want to drizzle a bit more on top right before eating. You can also drizzle the cookies with some good quality honey, if you don’t feel like making the syrup.
**Thank you for your continued support of the occasional sponsored post on this site. They help keep the blog going, allowing me to continue to share my recipes with you on a weekly basis. I never want my sponsorships to feel forced, which is why I only partner with companies I feel very passionate about and actually use on a regular basis.**