In the hallowed tradition of the cookie box, there are a few elder statesmen. The Buckeye. The Peanut Butter Blossom. The Decorated Sugar Cookie. And, of course, The Thumbprint.
The Thumbprint is the most homey of all the above. He's sort of fancy-looking, what with his button of filling. But it's a comfy fancy. It's a fancy that can be accomplished without rolling, without dipping, and without much fussing. A pajama-pants kind of fancy. And I'm all about the pajama pants.
Plus, it's great therapy. Everyone loves to squash something, and shoving your thumb right in the middle of a pristine ball of cookie dough, especially if you've spent the last 42 hours in close quarters with various kinds of cookie dough, is a special kind of cathartic.
These thumbprints caught my eye because they toss a little something extra into the usual Thumbprint oeuvre. The dough is made with a quick spin in the food processor, with some almonds and my verybestfriend almond extract to knock the flavor up even further. And then they're filled with my secondbestfriends, melted chocolate and butter. Heart.
Plus, they're rolled in my newest favoritest cookie helper, coarse sugar (I used turbinado). With crystals this large, rolling a cookie in coarse sugar gives it a downright crunchy exterior that's an awesome contrast to the tender insides. Plus, did I mention? Filled with chocolate and butter. This isn't just an elder statesman. It's the Emperor of Awesome. Enjoy.
Almond Chocolate Thumbprints
by Alice Medrich
from Fine Cooking
Sugar [ 1/2 cup ]
Salt [ 1/2 teaspoon ]
Almonds [whole, 4 ounces ]
Unsalted Butter [ 1 1/2 cups, cut into chunks and slightly softened ]
Vanilla Extract [ 4 teaspoons ]
Almond Extract [ 1/4 teaspoon ]
Flour [ 13 1/2 ounces ]
Coarse Sugar [ 3/4 cup ]
Semisweet Chocolate [ 7 1/2 ounces, coarsely chopped ]
Unsalted Butter [ 5 tablespoons ]
1. In a food processor, process Sugar and Salt until powdery [ about 45 seconds ].
2. Add Almonds to Sugar Mixture. Process until fine [ about 20 seconds ].
3. Add Butter, Vanilla Extract and Almond Extract to Mixture. Pulse until smooth.
4. Add Flour. Pulse until Dough begins to come together in a ball.
5. Pour Coarse Sugar into a shallow bowl.
6. Line several cookie sheets with waxed paper.
7. Roll Dough into 1-inch balls.
8. Roll Balls in Coarse Sugar to cover completely.
9. Set Balls on prepared cookie sheets, with a slight space between each cookie.
10. With the finger of your choice, press down the center of the Cookie to make a deep divot. You may need to dip your finger in flour or water to keep it from sticking to the dough.
11. Cover cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or, even better, overnight.
12. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
13. Line new cookie sheets with foil.
14. Take Cookies out of refrigerator and place on foil-lined cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch of space between Cookies.
15. Bake Cookies for 10 minutes.
16. Remove Cookies from oven and quickly use the end of a wooden spoon's handle to gently tamp down Cookies' divots.
17. Return Cookies to oven and cook until barely beginning to turn golden [ this will take about another 8-10 minutes ].
18. Remove Cookies from cookie sheets and place on cooling racks until cooled completely.
19. In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt together Semisweet Chocolate and Butter, stirring frequently, until smooth.
20. Using a small spoon, fill divot in each cooled Cookie with Chocolate Filling. Let stand until set.
Makes about 70.