DAY 11: These Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies combine three great tastes: chocolate, caramel and pecans. They look complicated, but are actually pretty easy to put together. I like to use a dark chocolate drizzle, but you could use regular semi-sweet chocolate chips or even milk chocolate chips for a less-intense flavor.
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans
30 caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs corn syrup
Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt. Beat until well combined. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place egg whites in a small bowl. Place finely chopped pecans in a bowl. Set aside. Roll dough into balls. Dip balls into egg white and then into pecans. (I find this easier if I make a whole baking sheet worth of dough balls, then dip them all in egg/pecans). Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make a small indentation with your thumb in the center of each cookie.
Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes, or until cookies are set. While cookies are still hot, press center again (the back of a measuring teaspoon or small melon-baller work well for this–no burned thumbs!)
To prepare Caramel Sauce: Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until caramels are melted. Spoon small amount of caramel into centers of baked cookies. Carefully remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.
For Chocolate Glaze: Combine bittersweet chips, butter and corn syrup in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 20-30 seconds if not melted. Let cool slightly. Pour chocolate into a small Ziploc freezer bag (don’t use a regular bag-it WILL burst). Poke a hole in the corner of the bag (a bamboo skewer makes a perfect sized hole). Drizzle chocolate over the cooled cookies. Cool until set.
To store: refrigerate or freeze cookies in individual layers; then store between layers of waxed paper in the refrigerator or freezer. They can also be stored at room temperature, but if you stack them, they will stick together.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES RECAP:
DAY 1: Swedish Peppar KaKar
DAY 2: Mint Oreo Cookies
DAY 3: Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies
DAY 4: Cherry Nut Mudslides
DAY 5: Snickerdoodles
DAY 6: Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies
DAY 7: Peanut Butter Kisses
DAY 8: Peppermint and Vanilla Butter Cookies
DAY 9: Chocolate Rolo and Andes Chocolate Mint Cookies
DAY 10: Russian Tea Cakes