The Great Cookie Experiment – Chocolaty-Caramel Thumbprints

The Great Cookie Experiment- Chocolaty-Caramel Thumbprints

Thumbprint cookies are classic.  You can find them in all different varieties vanilla or chocolate, fruity or not.  I was intrigued by this version, which has a chocolate cookie and a caramel filling.  For all that they are a classic, and this is NOT the first thumbprint cookie I’ve reviewed, I learned some things about making them that I didn’t know before.

Most thumbprint cookies have you dip the cookie in egg whites and roll them in nuts.  This cookie is no exception.  What I learned, however, is that at LEAST dipping them in the egg whites is pretty important to having the cookie maintain its shape!  I wanted to make a nut-free version for my friend who thinks that nuts are poison, so I made just a few that I didn’t dip and roll in nuts.  When the cookies came out of the oven, those nut-free cookies had spread out over the pan and didn’t retain their lovely little cup-shape so that it was easy to fill them.  It was pretty sad.  The others turned out just fine.

I had mixed reviews on this cookie.   One of my girls came and told me that it was THE BEST COOKIE EVER.  My husband, however, didn’t like them at all.  The same thing happened with my friends- some loved them, some didn’t.  As for me, I wanted….more.  The caramel came out a little bit runny, and weak tasting.  I’d like a thicker, richer caramel there in the middle.  The chocolate and the caramel just didn’t seem to blend together very well.   We also came to the conclusion that adding some coarse salt on top of the caramel would be a REALLY good idea.  We sprinkled on some sea salt as we ate them, and that gave the flavor a nice boost.  It’s not just because I’ve recently become addicted to salt caramels, either.  Add the salt.  Mm, salt.

Chocolaty- Caramel Thumbprints

1 egg

½ cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

2 Tbl milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ tsp salt

24 caramels, unwrapped

¼ cup whipping cream

1 ¼ cups finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.  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.  In another bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, and salt.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined.  In a small saucepan heat and stir caramels and whipping cream over low heat until mixture is smooth.  Set aside.  Slightly beat reserved egg white.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll balls in egg white, then in pecans to coat.  Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.  Bake for 12-14 minutes on a lightly greased cookie sheet until edges are firm.  If cookie centers puff during baking, repress with your thumb.  Spoon melted caramel mixture into indentation of cookies. (Reheat caramel if it’s too stiff to work with.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.  Mm.  Salt)    Transfer to wire rack to cool .  Makes about 32 cookies.

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