These aren't your typical thumbprint cookies. Made with Parmesan and a tart tomato jam, they put the savory into a favorite cookie recipe staple.
This recipe was adapted from Salty Snacks: Make Your Own Chips, Crisps, Crackers, Pretzels, Dips, and Other Savory Bites by Cynthia Nims, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group. Photo Credit: Jennifer Martiné.
To make the jam, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until tender and aromatic but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato, dried cherries, water, thyme, and salt and continue cooking until the cherries are plumped and the tomatoes are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool, then purée the jam in the food processor, adding a bit more water as needed to achieve a texture a bit thinner than applesauce. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Combine the flour and Parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse until the cheese is finely ground and well blended with the flour. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse just until a cohesive dough forms, scraping down the sides as needed; avoid overmixing.
Form the dough into 24 balls about 11/4 inches in diameter and set them on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Press your thumb into the center of each ball to make an indentation (it’s normal for the edges to crack a bit, but you can gently pinch together any particularly large cracks). Fill each indentation with some of the jam, about 1/2 teaspoon each.
Bake the cookies until firm and nicely browned around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Because this dough is a bit dense, be sure the cookies are thoroughly cooked, beyond just a light golden brown. If you pull them out too soon they may still be a bit underdone in the center. You can always snag one from the tray and break it in 2 to check — a snack for the cook.
Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Arrange the cookies on a platter for serving, or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.