Recipe: Chocolate Thumbprints

My supply of chocolate in the fridge has prompted me to bake something to clear them off. After pouring through some books for inspiration, and reading stuff off the net, I decided on making chocolate thumbprints. This recipe allows me to use up some of the chocolate and the ground almond sitting in my fridge. Double win. The cookie itself is buttery and crumbly. I definitely recommend rolling in coarse sugar to get a crunchy exterior. The combination reminded us of those sugar coated danish cookies (which I love soo much!). I only made half of the recipe below and it provides plenty for both Fat Man and I already.

Chocolate Thumbprints
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
4 ounces (3/4 cup) whole almonds (I used 4 ounces almond meal/flour)
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, cut in large chunks and slightly softened
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
13 1/2 ounces (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coarse sugar such as turbinado, demerara, or sanding sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw)
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped
10 tablespoons unsalted butter

Method:
For the almond cookie dough:

1. Process the granulated sugar and salt in a food processor until it looks powdery and a little finer, 30-60 seconds.

2. Add the almonds and process until they’re finely chopped (or add 4 ounces almond meal and move to the next step).

3. Add the butter and the vanilla and almond extracts and pulse until the butter is smooth, scraping the bowl as necessary.

4. Add the flour and pulse until a soft dough begins to form around the blade.  Transfer the dough to a large bowl and stir briefly with a rubber spatula to ensure it’s evenly mixed.

to form the cookies:

5. Scoop up a generous teaspoonful (2 level teaspoons) of the dough and shape it into a 1-inch ball with your hands. Roll the ball in the coarse sugar and set it on a tray lined with wax or parchment paper.  Repeat with the rest of the dough setting the balls slightly apart.

6. Press a thumb or forefinger, dipped in flour, into each ball to create a depression.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours , but preferably overnight.

7. Remove the cookies from the fridge and arrange them 1-inch apart on a parchment or foil-lined cookie sheet. Position the rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325℉.  Let the cookies sit at room temperature while the oven heats.

8.Bake the cookies for 10 minutes.  Gently redefine the depressions with your thumb or the tip of a wooden spoon handle, if necessary.  Rotate the sheet and continue baking until the top are golden brown, another 8-12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

While the cookies cool, prepare the filling.

9. Put the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water.  When the chocolate is almost completely melted, remove from the heat and stir until completely smooth.  Spoon the filling into each depression. If the filling hardens while using, reheat it over the pan of hot water.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies

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