Advent Shadowbox 2012: Day 8, Holiday Canning & Test-Cookie Party! Kid-Friendly Thumbprint Cookies, Carrot Cake Jam & Cranberry Sauce

holidaycanning&Test-cookie party
Today’s the day when we whip up some last minute items to place in jars and send off as holiday gifts. We’ll also try out these treats and use up any left-over jams from last year by filling up some special thumbprint cookies. Unlike other thumbprint recipes, which require pressing or re-pressing your thumb into the dough into a hot cookie ball after minutes of baking, and/or filling the hot cookies mid-stream, this recipe has the advantage of pressing once before baking and filling the cookies after they have cooled.

Kid Friendly Thumbprint Cookies

adapted from my mom's old Betty Crocker Cookbook recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season


  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c shortening [preferably organic spectrum] OR up to 1/4 c butter & 1/4 c shortening
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or ginger [optional]
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c finely chopped nuts [we use pecans or walnuts] or shredded coconut
  • Jam or Jelly


  • Heat oven to 350.
  • Mix sugar, shortening, butter, vanilla, and egg YOLK.
  • Gradually stir in flour until dough holds together.
  • Shape into 1-in balls.
  • Whisk egg-whites in a small bowl and spread nuts [or coconut] on a small plate.
  • Dip each ball into egg whites and then roll in nuts.
  • Place each ball 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  • Press thumb hard into the center of each ball.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes, until light brown.
  • Remove from oven and cool.
  • Fill thumbprints with jam or jelly.


Carrot Cake Jam

Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season


  • 2 c finely shredded carrots [5 medium]
  • 1 c finely chopped peeled apple
  • 1 15 oz can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 [1.75 oz] package of powdered pectin
  • 4 c brown sugar
  • 2 c white sugar
  • 1 c flaked or shredded coconut unsweetened


  • In a large pot, combine carrots, apple, pineapple in juice, lemon juice, vanilla, and spices.*
  • Boil and stir constantly.
  • Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring often.
  • Remove the pot from the burner.
  • Add pectin and stir until dissolved.
  • Place the pot back on the stove.
  • Bring the pot back to a boil and add the sugars.
  • Bring the sugared mixture to a full rolling boil and boil hard for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove the pot from the heat.
  • Skim the foam.
  • Stir in coconut.
  • Ladle jam into hot, sterilized jars, leaving a quarter-inch headspace.
  • Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes


*I don't make this recipe in my copper jam pan, because I am worried that the high acidity of the ingredients will harm the surface.
Adapted from from a Better Homes and Garden's Special Interest Publication, Canning, and originally published on my website, The Lunchbox Season

whiskyfigcranberrysaucerecipeWe made our Whisky Fig Cranberry Sauce in October. It was such a big hit, we’ll be canning up a batch in smaller decorative jars to ship to family and friends near and far.

Whiskey Fig Cranberry Sauce

For Grandma Geraldine
This recipe makes 1 1/4 pints. But it can easily be doubled or tripled.
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season


  • 12 oz bag cranberries
  • 1/4 c whiskey [We used Fireball Cinnamon Canadian Whisky, but any Whiskey will do!]
  • 3/4 c apple cider [juice or water can be substituted here]
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup [50 g] diced dried apricots [OPTIONAL]
  • 1 cup [8 oz] quartered fresh figs tips and tails removed, green or purple
  • 1/2 lime, both zest and juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cloves


  • Heat liquid, sugar and [optional] dried apricots in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the cranberries.
  • [If your cranberries are frozen, wait a minute or two before continuing.]
  • Add the quartered fresh figs and return to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium low.
  • Add lime zest, lime juice, and spices.
  • Boil on low, stirring frequently, until the sauce comes to an almost jam-like consistency.
  • [This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.]
  • Sauce may be canned using a boiling water bath, leaving 1/4-in headspace in jars and processing for 15 minutes.


If you would like to make this into a “compote,” add 1/4-1/2 c shredded sweetened coconut and/or 1/4 c sliced almonds per batch to your sauce before serving. Alternatively, you could use coconut and/or almonds as a garnish on the day of your gathering. This is going overboard, of course…..but we like to go overboard around the holidays.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.