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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chocolate Thumbprints

Simple, easy, choose whatever you like to fill in thumbprint recipes are here!

Check them out!

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Chocolate and Vanilla Jam Thumbprints

Ingredients:

1/3 cup canola oil

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup soy milk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3-4 tablespoons jam, your choice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the oil, sugar, soy milk, and extracts.

Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and stir until completely mixed. Add a bit more flour if the dough looks wet.

Shape into tablespoon-sized balls and place on a lightly oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet (do not flatten) and bake for 9 minutes.

Remove from oven and using your thumb, press into each cookie, making a thumbprint. Put about 1/2 teaspoon jam on each cookie. Return to the oven and bake for 3 more minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool and enjoy!

Makes 18 cookies

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Chocolate Thumbprints

Cookie dough:

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, sifted

Filling:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350ºF; line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Start by making the dough: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour, beginning on low speed and increasing to medium high, until a dough forms – it won’t be sticky.

Roll dough by teaspoonfuls into balls, and place 1 inch apart onto prepared sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and press thumb* into tops of cookies to make indentations. Return to oven, and bake until light brown on the edges, 7 to 9 minutes more. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Make the filling: combine chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a small heatproof bowl. Set over a pot of simmering water; stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly. When cookies are cool, fill the thumbprints with the chocolate mixture – there will be some filling left, even though I halved the filling recipe without halving the dough recipe.

* I used this measuring spoon to make the indentations on the hot cookies

Makes 2 dozen – I got 30

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Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with Chambord-Mascarpone Filling

Cookies:

1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg, separated

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder (Good quality brand like Valhrona or Scharffen Berger. Make sure it’s regular, not Dutch process)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar, for coating the cookies

Filling:

4 ounces mascarpone cheese

2 tablespoons Chambord black raspberry liqueur (or another type of berry liquor or brandy)

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Garnish:

4 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

In a medium bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, milk and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa and salt. While beating butter mixture, add dry ingredients in two batches. Blend until incorporated.

Chill dough in refrigerator until firm, about an hour. I left it in overnight and it was fine to roll out the next day.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dip each ball into beaten egg white, then in granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Press thumb into center of each cookie. (My mom suggests using the bottom of a teaspoon measuring spoon instead of your thumb to get a pretty, even circle.) Make sure to leave 2-3″ of space between each cookie because they will s-p-r-e-a-d.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. The egg white/sugar mix will have formed  a nice crust on the cookies. Let cool on sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Mix mascarpone, Chambord and powdered sugar in a small bowl. I would sift the powdered sugar next time because my mix was  a little lumpy. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each cookie.

Melt chocolate in the microwave and use an icing bag or Ziploc bag to drizzle some on each cookie.

My process for melting and drizzling chocolate goes like this: Put a Ziploc bag over a cup, making sure one corner of the bag is inside the cup.

melting and drizzling chocolate using a ziplock bag

Next, melt the chocolate and spoon it into the corner of the bag sitting in the cup.

Finally, pull the ends of the bag up off the cup, push as much air as possible out of the bag, twist and seal it. Snip off a teeny tiny piece of the edge and pipe the chocolate out. Work quickly since the chocolate will start to set and will clog up your teeny tiny cut.

piping chocolate with a zip lock bag

Here’s how I set up my workstation when rolling out the cookies: Dough, egg white, sugar, baking sheet. It helps to have everything in place before taking the dough out of the fridge.

chocolate cookie dough egg white sugar cookie sheet

It’s a little difficult to roll the sugar onto the cookies. The best advice I can give is to let as much of the egg white drip off as possible before rolling in the sugar. Otherwise, you will get this:

chocolate cookie dough rolled in white granulated sugar

Leave plenty of space between the cookies. They will spread!

cookies on baking sheet

They will spread A LOT. Also, they look really ugly here, but don’t worry! The finished product will cover up the imperfections.

chocolate cookies after baking

The filling only consists of three ingredients, but they are heavenly together.

chambord powdered sugar mascarpone filling

When combined, they become a gorgeous shade of very pale purple. Did I mention the filling tastes absolutely divine? Creamy, dreamy, and bursting with berry flavor.

mascarpone chambord cookie filling

Even after I add the filling, the cookies look like a mess. It must be the final step of zig-zagging the melted chocolate on top that makes everything come together.

chocolate cookies with mascarpone berry filling

They’re tasty without the chocolate on top, but why not go all the way? It makes them look irresistible and decadent. Nobody can resist these cookies. I promise.

Makes 28-32 cookies

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Something Wicked: Pistachio Chocolate Thumbprints

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour, spooned in and leveled

1/4 strained Dutch process cocoa

1/4 tsp. salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly firm

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, separated

1 1/2 tsp. real vanilla

1 cup pistachio nuts, toasted, and then medium chopped

3 tbsps. sparkling sugar (I used sanding sugar in green- I have a personal weakness for colored sanding sugar)

Sufficient chocolate glaze to fill 32 thumbprints

Directions:

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. Put the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle beater. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar in a steady stream, and stop when just incorporated. Blend in egg yolks and vanilla.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, and blend in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon. (It's a bit of work, but don't over-mix, or it will get oily, she says).

Set out a sheet of waxed paper, and with your hands, roll out a walnut sized ball of dough, and set it on the waxed paper. Continue until the dough is all made into cookies.

In a small shallow bowl, beat the egg white with 2 tsp. water, just until combined. In another bowl, mix the sparkling sugar and cooled, chopped nuts. Now take half of that mixture, and put it in a small shallow bowl. Dip each cookie in the egg white, and roll in the nut mixture to cover. Then set each on one of the cookie sheets. When the nut mixture gets low, add more. (This helps it stay drier, instead of being all sticky from the egg white.)

Once all the cookies are on the baking sheets, use the end of a wooden spoon (about 1/2"in diameter), to poke a deep hole in the center of each cookie. Put the cookie sheets in the oven, and bake for 12 minutes. Take them out, and re-poke all the holes with the spoon-end. Turn them round and exchange the top sheet for the bottom one. Bake another 3-5 minutes, until firm to the touch, then remove. Let the cookies sit on the sheets for 5 minutes or so, then move to a cooling rack. When they are tepid, fill with your glaze or ganache.

These will keep in an airtight container for a week, with waxed paper or foil between, if they last that long. I wonder if I could actually make a strudel, from other than frozen, store bought filo? I think the coffee cakes come first.

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Lemon and Chocolate Filled Cardamom Thumbprints

Ingredients:

1 egg yolk, optional

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

7 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

12 cardamom pods

3 ounces lemon apeels (see tips)

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate chips

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

For the cardamom, remove all the pods from the shells. In a mortar and pestle, grind the cardamom seeds. Crush all the nits and gather the cardamom powder.

Using a handheld mixer, whisk the egg yolk with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar until you get a pale yellow foam. Add the vanilla extract and the cardamom powder.

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Sift all the dry ingredients.

Cream 8 tablespoons of butter with the remaining powdered sugar (whisk using the handheld mixer to get as much air as possible into the butter). Add the egg mixture and the dry ingredients. Mix with your fingers until the cookie dough is formed. Do NOT over-mix. Transfer the dough to a bowl. Plastic wrap it and place it in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

For the lemon apeels and dark chocolate chips, use or make a double boiler. Place a pot filled with hot water, topped with a piece of cloth so the bowl does not move and splatter any water, and place a stainless-steel bowl filled with the lemon apeels on top. Melt them with 3 tablespoons of butter, 1-1/2 tablespoons of heavy cream and 1-1/2 teaspoons of corn syrup.  Repeat the same procedure with the dark chocolate chips with only 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 tablespoon of heavy cream and 1/2 teaspoon of corn syrup. Set aside.

Shape the cookie dough into 20 1-inch diameter balls. Place them on a baking tray lined with a silicone mat or a sheet of parchment paper.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes at 350°F. Open the oven. Press the center of the cookie using a melon baller or any small spoon. Bake for another 8 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let them cool down completely to room temperature before taking them off the cookie sheets. They will harden and get firm as they cool down. Spoon about 1/4 teaspoon of lemon apeel filling in each thumbprint. Using a chopstick, drop in a little chocolate filling and immediately swirl the filling in a pretty design using a toothpick. Let the filling set until firm.

Yields: 20 cookies

Tips:

Make sure to press the cookies half-way through the baking time to get nice fault lines on the edge of the cookies.

My 9-year-old sister-in-law is allergic to eggs, so we tried the same recipe without the egg yolk. Just mix all the powdered sugar into the butter. The verdict is that it's feasible but the cookie is more crumbly and far less cohesive. The egg yolk is a powerful binding agent.

For other allergy reasons, I did not decorate the thumbprint cookies with nuts. You can coat the cookies in milk, then garnish the outside ring of the cookies with 1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios, cashews or any other nuts you like, right before placing in the oven.

I used Guittard lemon apeels for the ganache. I got them directly from my local store, the Milk Pail Market, 2585 California Street, Mountain View, CA 94040, but you  can order through eBay if you can't find them. You can make lemon crème brulées with the rest of the lemon apeels.

For the double boiler, I always like to add a little kitchen towel underneath the chocolate-filled bowl. That way the bowl won't jiggle and there won't be any splatter of water in the chocolate. If the chocolate hardens, place the bowl back on the double boiler.

I usually get cardamom pods at a more reasonable price at the Indian store. If you want to give the cookies a more intense flavor, you can also add a drop of cardamom extract (you can find it in any Indian stores).

I added some heavy cream to the lemon apeels and chocolate to make the mixture smoother and more glossy. You can add any other dairy liquid, such as regular milk, or even omit this part if you want a thicker texture.

You can also store the thumbprint cookie dough up to 3 months in your freezer for last-minute surprise guests.

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Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients for cookie:

1 cup butter or margarine

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

3 cup flour

1 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Directions:

Melt butter. Add sugar, cocoa and eggs; mix well. Add all of other ingredients, mixing well. Roll into small balls (about the size of walnut.) Bake at 375 on ungreased baking sheets for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and press a thumbprint (indentation) into the center of each cookie. Allow to cool; then add icing.

Ingredients for fudge icing:

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 c cocoa powder

1 t vanilla

1/4 t salt

3 1/2 – 4 c powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

Directions:

In sauce pan, melt butter. Add cocoa, salt and milk and cook on medium heat until the mixture looks like thick pudding. Remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Put in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip (#32 works well) and pipe a star in the middle of each cookie.

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Pretty simple and delicious!

Hint… hint: They’re awful small, is it going to be like potato chip? Can’t have just one?! ~biting nails!~

Happy chocolate day!

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