Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

I'm always ten steps behind on holiday shopping... But Christmas cookies, they may never leave my mind. These dainty gems prepare rather quickly and provide a welcomed highlight to the old cookie tray.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
   With an ingredient list as short and sweet as this, you will get the most flavorful and tender cookie by using good quality ingredients. No cutting corners here! Adding the confectioners' sugar and flour by weight instead of measuring with a cup is also beneficial. Sometimes the simplest things just require a little more care for utmost results...

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Makes: about 2-1/2 dozen

1 cup (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (2-1/2 oz.) confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-1/4 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
3 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped and lightly toasted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and confectioners' sugar until blended. Add vanilla and salt; beat on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and beaters and add the flour. Mix on low speed just until blended.

Using a teaspoon measure, scoop up two teaspoons of dough; roll into a smooth ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing balls 1-1/2 in. apart. Using the bottom of a 1/2 teaspoon measure, press an indentation into the center of each cookie (be careful not to create many cracks around edges).

Bake for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Gently slide parchment paper with cookies off of the pan and onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For filling, in a small saucepan over low heat, stir chocolate and butter just until melted. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Alternately, place chocolate and butter in a small bowl and heat in a microwave for 30-second intervals at 50% power until melted; stir until smooth.

Spoon melted chocolate into indentations and sprinkle with pecans. Let stand until chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Just bake off the cookie bases, wrap well and freeze for up to 1 month. To finish, thaw cookies and add the chocolate filling.


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