Jam Filled Thumbprint Cookies:
ingredients: 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 2/3 cup granulated sugar 2 large egg yolks 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 6 ounces (or so) assorted jam directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract. Add flour and salt and mix until incorporated and dough comes together in a ball. Form dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Flatten balls slightly with your thumb or the back of a small spoon, leaving an indentation in the center. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are just barely golden. Remove baking sheet from oven. If indentations look shallow, further define them with the back of a spoon and then fill each with approximately 1/2 teaspoon jam. Bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until jam melts slightly and edges of cookies are lightly golden. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
White Peach & Vanilla Jam:
ingredients: 2 pounds white peaches (about 5-6 large), peeled, pitted, and chopped 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar 1 large vanilla bean, split and seeded 1 large lemon, zested and juiced directions: In a bowl, combine peaches, sugar, vanilla seeds, lemon zest, and lemon juice (make sure it equals at least 3 tablespoons). Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. When you are ready to proceed, prepare canner and wash/sterilize 2 half-pint (or equivalent) mason jars. Keep jars in hot (not boiling) water until ready to use. Pour peach mixture into a large, heavy saucepan or skillet and place over high heat. Cook, stirring regularly, until the peaches soften, the liquid reduces, and the whole mixture becomes quite thick and spreadable, about 10 to 12 minutes. Ladle hot jam into prepared jars, leaving 1/4-inch of head space. Wipe jar rims and threads. Screw on lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool completely, 12 to 24 hours. Check seals. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used within 3 weeks.
Fresh Peach & Lemon Verbena Soda:
ingredients: 2 large peaches, peeled and pitted 2 1/2 cups warm water, divided 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 large), finely strained champagne yeast* For verbena syrup: 1/3 cup sugar 1/3 cup water 1 handful fresh lemon verbena leaves *Champagne yeast can be found in beer/winemaking supply stores or online. It has a more refined flavor than bread yeast and makes for a perfectly fizzy soda. directions: Place peeled peaches in a blender or food processor. Add 1/2 cup water and blend on high speed until smooth. Pour juice through a fine mesh sieve, pressing out as much liquid as possible. Discard any remaining solids. To prepare simple syrup, stir sugar and water together in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; add lemon verbena. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes, then remove verbena leaves and let cool completely. Combine peach purée with remaining water, lemon juice, and lemon verbena syrup. Divide among two 16-ounce plastic soda bottles; add roughly 25 granules (a small pinch) of champagne yeast to each bottle. Seal the cap securely, shake well, and store in a warm, dark place for 48 hours or until bottles are hard when squeezed (this might be as little as 24 hours, especially on warmer days). Transfer to refrigerator immediately to halt the fermentation process and chill overnight or up to a week before serving.
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