4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup fruit preserves
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line 1 large cookie sheet with a nonstick liner. Put the 3 tablespoons sugar in a small ramekin and set aside.
2. Put the butter and the remaining ¼ cup sugar in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth and blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour. Beat on medium-low speed until just blended, about 1 minute.
3. Using your hands, press and roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the reserved sugar and arrange on the prepared cookie sheet about 1½ inches apart. Using a finger, press down into the middle of each mound to make a well that’s almost down to the bottom, (If the edges crack too much, reroll the dough and try again.)
4. Bake until the tops look dry, 12 to 14 minutes. Let the cookies sit for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for up to 2 days. Just before serving, use a small spoon to drop about ¼ teaspoon of the preserves into the indentation.
In place of the fruit preserves, switch in one of the following:
• ¼ cup fruit curd
• ¼ cup peanut butter
• ¼ cup Nutella
• ¼ cup dulce de leche
In place of the fruit preserves, switch in the following and press into the center wells before baking:
• 5 small caramel squares, unwrapped, cut in half
Gussy It Up:
Top with Chocolate Drizzle:
Put 3 ounces chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening or neutral-flavored vegetable oil in a small heatproof bowl and cook in the microwave or over simmering water until the chocolate is melted. Whisk until smooth and blended. Dip or drizzle cookies, tarts, or fruit with chocolate and set aside until the chocolate is set or, for faster setting, refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Leftover chocolate can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days before reheating and using. Makes about ¼ cup.