Cookie Baking: Try Membrillo in Thumbprint Cookies

One of our favorite fall treats is tender little thumbprint cookies filled with jam — a small indulgence, quickly baked, and great with an afternoon cup of tea. We usually fill ours with raspberry jam, but we just discovered a new filling, and a great use for something that's been languishing in the back of the fridge: membrillo, or Spanish quince paste.

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Membrillo is a paste made from quince and sugar. The quince is cooked for a long time with the sugar, and its natural abundance of pectin means that it sets, finally, into a very firm, sweet paste. It also turns a brilliant deep orange color. Membrillo is often served on a cheese plate; it's a natural accompaniment to the Spanish Manchego cheese.

I had a little box of membrillo in the back of the refrigerator, left over from a cheese plate a few weeks ago. (Membrillo is like jam; as long as it's refrigerated it doesn't go bad — at least, not quickly.) I noticed it while giving my fridge the Cure once-over and wondered if there was anything I could do with it before buying another hunk of Manchego.

Then I saw these cookies at Eat a Duck I Must: Mrs. Fields' Surprise-Filled Cookies — with membrillo! Of course! Membrillo, with its thick texture, is easy to dab into cookies, and its delicious mix of floral and tangy flavors makes it a wonderful complement to sweet thumbprints.

Delicious, and well worth the literally 10 minutes it took to whip these up.

Get the recipe: Mrs. Fields' Surprise-Filled Cookies at Eat a Duck I Must

Do you have a favorite use for membrillo or quince jam?

Related: Raspberry-Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies from Glorious Grits

(Image: Faith Durand)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.