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Tubthumping for thumbprinting

Posted Jul 07 2012 11:36pm
Do you ever get those insane cravings that eat you up inside until you finally give in and say, "Okay, FINE!"? Because this literally happened to me today. All day I was toying with the idea of whether or not I should make something sweet. I was in the mood for it but I didn't feel like making a giant mess in the kitchen. As the day progressed I found myself wanting more and more chocolate. This really isn't so crazy...until I had the strangest desire to make thumbprint cookies. Yeah, really, this happened.

I went online and looked for a thumbprint cookie recipe that involved plenty of chocolate, and minimal time and effort. Because, why not? I found one that used crushed hazelnuts--which I did not have--that seemed simple enough. I just omitted the hazelnuts altogether but I'm sure if you had them and rolled your cookies in them, they would have that extra texture and flavor element that would make your cookies that much more delightful.

As for the fillings I settled on Nutella and strawberries sitting on top of Nutella. Then I decided I would melt some of my chocolate and drizzle it over. This was probably the best idea I've had all week. I may or may not have had a mediocre week, but still: this was a deliciously good idea.

Does this not look insane or what? These cookies are incredibly rich and even for something with an insatiable sweet tooth, two were enough to satisfy my craving.

Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yields: 25 cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1 tsp espresso powder (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (like Nutella)

Optional extra toppings
1 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup strawberries, diced
2 tbsp granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. If desired, place the strawberries and granulated sugar in a small bowl, stir, and let sit while you bake.
In a bowl, sift the flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk together. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the espresso powder, if desired. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the butter and whisk together. Add the vanilla extract and combine thoroughly. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
On a sheet of wax paper, turn out the dough and knead until smooth. Form small 1-inch balls of the dough and roll them in the hazelnuts. Place each ball onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing each ball about an inch apart. Using your thumb, make indentations in the center of each ball. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon amounts of hazelnut-chocolate spread into the center of each cookie. If you prepared strawberries, you can spoon a small amount (about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon) of macerated strawberries on top of the hazelnut-chocolate spread. Drizzle the melted chocolate over your cookies if desired.

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