Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back to School with Jam Thumbprint Cookies


We filled the Labor Day holiday weekend, summer’s last hurrah, sipping wine with friends, a hike, blackberry cobbler, Bananagrams (thanks for the addiction, Carrie and Kev!), dipping our toes in the river, an amazing farm-to-table dinner in an orchard, a barbecue, ice cream cones and watching the moon rise.


While I am refreshed from the delightful weekend, I must say it’s been a reflective morning for me.  My sons went back to school this morning – a senior and a sophomore! – and I’m feeling a bit misty and nostalgic.  Each year, I have mixed feelings as summer fades and autumn peeks around the corner.  Starting the school schedule takes a bit of adjustment after summer’s luxurious pace, but I am also excited for the fresh start and all that fall promises.  As I’ve grown, I’ve learned that transitions can be hard for me.

Along with nurturing and cherishing our children, we are also letting go as they become more independent. My dear friend, Christine, wisely observed how this process has a kind of “happy pain” all its own.

Last fall I read The Gift of an Ordinary Day and at times I was in a puddle of tears. The author’s son is a senior in high school as she writes, “This time next year I’ll be setting the table for three, rather than four.”  Oy. While I don’t plan to torment myself all year (although I did take Sam’s last first-day of-school photo ever this morning), I do intend to continue savoring and appreciating each moment we still have the four of us under one roof.  Especially the simple, ordinary moments.


Well, back to school. Making school lunches certainly qualifies as ordinary (if not always simple!).  I’m always searching for healthy, delicious options to send along with my boys, and Jam Thumbprint cookies make a terrific lunch bag treat. Sweetened with maple syrup and loaded with oats and whole grain goodness, they could even serve as a quick breakfast. If you’ve filled your pantry with jam this summer, this is a lovely way to bake with some. The cookies freeze well, too, so it’s easy to grab a couple to toss in lunch boxes to add a little sweetness to the day.


There is much to look forward to and I am grateful to be where I am.  Life is simple and good.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 20 cookies

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil (or a  mix)
3/4 cup oat flour (or whiz 1 cup oats in the food processor until finely ground)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
A dash of cinnamon
About 3/4 cup of your favorite jam

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or baking mat.

Stir the maple syrup and canola or olive oil together.  In a large mixing bowl, stir the oat flour, whole wheat flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.  Slowly pour in the syrup-oil mixture and stir until mixed.

Form the dough into round balls the size of ping-pong balls.  Arrange the cookie dough balls on the baking sheet, flatten slightly and then use your thumb to create an imprint in each.  Spoon a little jam into the center of each.  Don’t overfill or the jam will spill out.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies begin to brown. Remove and let cool. These cookies freeze well, so seal a few well to pop in the freezer for last minute snacks.


18 comments:

  1. Lovely story Hannah...I know your feelings having gone through this a couple of times before. But remember next year if Sam goes away to school you can send him cookies (or soup in my case) and they'll be well appreciated. Even today my kids love it if I make them a pot of soup to take home or when our son, who lives in SF, comes home to his favorite meals. And the cookies look wonderful!!!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and support, Pat! It's always good to know I'm not alone in this process. I've enjoyed every stage as a mom and know we have more fun and excitement ahead! And you are right, sending cookies and care packages will be rewarding - I hadn't thought of soup so thank you for the suggestion. :)

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  2. Hi Hannah! I love this post and this recipe. I will be making it - I just noticed preparing lunches this morning that we are out of cookies. And these are just the type of thing I'm looking to make - easy, healthy, tasty, and a sub for bkfst in a pinch (and it seems that we are always in a pinch these days).

    Gosh, if we lived closer I feel like we would be fast friends! I have a senior and a freshmen. What a huge transition high school is for my freshman and what a big big year this is for my son.

    I can't say that our life is simple, because it is NOT! But it is good. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. You are so sweet, Beth - I do wish we were closer and could share in this together...at least we can do some virtual processing! I hope the year progresses well for both of your sons and I look forward to hearing what your senior decides. Enjoy some cookies and have a great week!

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  3. What a good reminder to make cookies for our kids while we have them here. :) I think we'll be making a batch of these this afternoon.

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    1. Enjoy your little ones, Emmy - they're fortunate to have all your delicious cooking!

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  4. Wasn't this weekend glorious?

    It's fun and funny to be reading everyone's Back to School posts lately. For me, it means nothing more than a bit more traffic in the mornings, but of course it's so reflective of a change in the seasons, and what's to come.

    Sophomore and a senior...going to be a busy year for you!

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    1. Another beautiful weekend here, Erina - I love it. I'm even ok with last night's rain, especially since the sun is shining again. It is another reminder, too, of fall's approach. Lots of good apple and squash eating ahead!

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  5. Cookies like this are clearly why I need to make all the jam. :) I don't have anyone going back to school, but I could certainly use a handful of these cookies in my own bag every day!

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    1. Thank you, Eileen! We all need cookies, and this is definitely a great motivation for jam making. Enjoy your week! :)

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  6. These look great! Is maple syrup and oil all it takes to hold them together? I'm on a "no milk" thing in my house since we discovered my son's sensitivities and this looks perfect. Also, I am in complete and utter denial that my children will ever grow up. They will be 6 and 4 forever. Though I'm sure Mr. 6 would appreciate if I let his two bottom teeth grew in before I stunted their growth...

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    1. Hi Brooke! Yes, syrup and oil hold the cookies together so they are a great vegan or dairy-sensitive option. I hope you enjoy them!

      Sigh, 6 and 4...such fun ages! I always want to freeze whatever stage we're in, til we move to the next and I find it is even more fun and interesting than the last one. I love it all!

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  7. My baby brother started his last year of elementary school this year, and my middle brother is a senior in high school. I'm quite a bit older than most of my siblings, so I have some matronly tendencies toward them. Watching them grow up has been mind-blowing--it happens so fast, and suddenly they're practically adults! Goodness. Enjoy this last school year with your son!

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    1. Thank you, Brianne! Enjoy watching your younger brothers - these are big years for both of them! And yes, you are so right...it goes quickly. Fortunately, there's lots to look forward to at each age. Hope your week is off to a good beginning!

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  8. It took a day longer than I thought (everything does with three little kids in the house!) but we made these today and loved them. I used olive oil because I like the maple syrup/olive oil combo I do in granola and they were very popular. As an added benefit we were able to share them with friends who can't eat dairy or eggs! We'll definitely be making these again, thank you for the recipe!

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    1. My pleasure, Emmy! I'm so happy you baked a batch and enjoyed them. I like your idea of olive oil - I use it in my granola, too - and I'm going to try that next time. Thanks for the suggestion! I'm delighted you could share the cookies with friends, too. :)

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  9. I so wish that I open my lunch bag and these homemade jam thumbprint cookies are in there! Kids with homemade baked goods definitely feel extra special. :) I need to improve my baking skills more to be qualify!

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    1. I've been enjoying the baked goods you are sharing on your blog, Nami - you definitely qualify as a baker! And you're so right, treats baked at home are extra special.

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