Sunday, December 22, 2013

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies (AKA Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies)

This was the cookie that I mentioned in my last post: Salted Caramel Coconut Thumbprint Cookies. These cookies are soft and chocolatey sweet with a little crunchy note from the pecans and a finishing touch from the soft caramel filling. They are truly wonderful and I'm so glad my cousin Jaci gave me the recipe. :) (I did change it a smidge, but not much)
   I even omitted the nuts and made Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies for my friend's tree-nut allergic husband. :)

Here's the recipe:

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies (AKA Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies)

1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter, softened (I always use salted)
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg separated
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans (can be omitted if needed)
15 caramels, unwrapped
3 Tbsp cream
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Combine flour, cocoa and salt and set aside. Beat together butter and sugar. Add the egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Add the flour until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Preheat the oven to 350F. Whip the egg white in a bowl until frothy. Put the finely chopped nuts into another bowl. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in the egg white and then in the nuts. Place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet and make an indentation into the top of each cookie (using your thumb or a 1/2 tsp measuring spoon). Bake @ 350F until set - about 12 minutes, rotating half way through. Repress indentations and let cool on the baking sheets while you make the caramel.
   In a small sauce pan, heat together the cream and the unwrapped caramels over low heat. Stir constantly until smooth. *Using a 1/2 tsp measuring spoon, fill each cookie indentation.
   Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until the chocolate is smooth. Put into a piping bag or a small zip-top bag and cut the corner off leaving an 1/8 inch hole. Slowly pipe stripes onto each cookie. Let set before moving.

*You can reheat the caramel if it sets up before all the cookies are filled.
**The caramel stays soft in the center, so be careful when packaging because they can stick to each other and other holiday goodies. Wax paper works nicely as a barrier.

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