The 12 Treats of Christmas: Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints
Ok – now we’re really cookin’. Or baking, or whatever. Yesterday I said I’d give you a little something that would help use up any extra melty chocolate. These little fellas are the #1 cookie in my arsenal. Gooey, chocolatey. And they really look impressive. Again, not a huge batch – about 36 cookies, but so rich and decadent, that seems to be just enough. These also need a little fridge time for the dough so the delayed gratification only serves to make them sweeter.
Yield: 36 Cookies
Prep 30 mins Chill 2 hrs Bake 350°F 10 mins per batch
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 16 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
- 3 tablespoons whipping cream
- 1 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces
- 1 teaspoon shortening
1. Separate egg; place yolk and white in separate bowls. Cover and chill egg white until needed. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat well. Beat in egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.
2. In another bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or until easy to handle.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a small saucepan heat and stir caramels and whipping cream over low heat until mixture is smooth. Set aside.
4. Slightly beat reserved egg white. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in egg white, then in pecans to coat. Place balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.
5. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are firm. If cookie centers puff during baking, repress with your thumb. Spoon melted caramel mixture into indentations of cookies. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool. (If necessary, reheat caramel mixture to keep it spoonable.)
6. In another saucepan heat and stir chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly. Drizzle chocolate mixture over tops of cookies.* Let stand until chocolate is set.
I decided I’d take this delicious dough and invent a cookie of my own. This is one case where the idea was better than the end result. Don’t get me wrong, they are delicious. But the candycane melted and made the cookie part very squishy and sticky. Letting them cool on the parchment greatly improved the outcome.
I give you Chocolate-Peppermint Mushies
I made the dough as above, rolled in crushed candy cane instead of nuts, put a junior mint in the thumbprint and drizzled with white chocolate. Follow my lead at your own risk on these little fellers.