By some unexplained, mysterious way, it's Monday again. And to my own surprise, today I've realised that we have 6 weeks left until Christmas! 6 weeks people! Is that crazy or what?
And I know that some of you may think that 6 weeks is still ages to go, and that some of you will get annoyed with just the fact I'm already talking about Christmas. But trust me, once you try today's recipe for these chocolate thumbprint cookies, all will be forgotten, and you may even start feeling a festive cheer yourself!
But seriously, I know it's a bit of an early start, however, I do have quiet few recipes I want to share before the big day. And in blogosphere, believe it or not, 6 weeks is not really a long period of time!
Me and Tania from Fit Foodie Nutter got together couple of weeks ago, and decided to have a baking session. As we both absolutely love Christmas, we set on baking Christmas cookies. And these chocolate thumbprint cookies were one of the two recipes we made on the day (second one will follow, stay tuned!). It was adapted from this recipe By Half Baked Harvest. Plus, everyone loves chocolate cookies, no doubt about it. So even if Christmas is not your thing, these thumbprint cookies with chocolate ganache in the centre are still suitable for any time of the year really...
The recipe below is not vegan, because I'm using an egg as one of the ingredients. However, butter can be easily replaced by non- dairy spread, and cream could easily be swapped for heavy coconut cream (you will need just the really thick part from the top, I have found that standard soy cream was too thin in it's consistency for the ganache). And if you feel like experimenting with some egg replacements, you should be able to veganize this recipe. But I must admit, it didn't work for me. I found that the cookies were splitting and cracking around the edges when I tried to omit the egg. They still tasted great, but I found that an egg helped me to achieve the look and texture closer to what I really wanted.
These chocolate thumbprint cookies are really fun to make, and they will be great to make with kids. And although the name suggests they are 'thumbprint' cookies, I have a confession to make... I found that using a back of measuring spoon, rather than your thumb, works much better. Firstly, you will have the same size well in all of the cookies, and they will look a bit neater.
You will more likely loose some of that indent after few minutes of baking your cookies. Fear not, all what you need to do is gently press and make indents again, straight after you finished baking them. And this is another reason, why using the back of the spoon or spatula works better. You will not burn your thumb, while making the indents again in hot cookies. But if you really want to do things in old- fashioned way, go ahead and use your thumb. Just have some ice on standby...
Couple of other things to watch out for, when making thumbprint cookies:
Chilling the dough is very important in this recipe. But make sure you chill it after you rolled your cookies already. Otherwise, the dough will be way to hard to work with. The reason for chilling the cookies before baking them is to help them stay in good shape, plus it will solidify the butter in the dough, helping cookies later, to avoid spreading. Half an hour is the minimum you should chill your pre- baked cookies for.
The other area to be careful with, is when making chocolate ganache. As you may know already, ganache can split very easily, but remember that in most cases, it can be saved from ending up going into the bin! If you add chocolate to the cream, rather than other way around, it will less likely to split. Do not let your cream to boil, only bring it to a simmer. Make sure you do not overheat the chocolate either. And keep stirring it slowly, rather than rushing through it.
However, if you do find your chocolate ganache to split or be grainy, you can just add some boiling water to it (only tiniest amount at time, until you get the desired consistency), and stir it well until it all becomes smooth and glossy again. No dramas, no ganaches that were hurt!
These chocolate thumbprint cookies will be a perfect homemade gift for the loved ones, or just an ideal, indulgent snack with a glass of milk in the evening. And just because they have festive sprinkles on them, doesn't mean they can only be made or eaten in the festive season. They are definitely suitable for the rest of the year too!
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- 250 g unsalted butter (softened)
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 1 medium egg
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp coffee extract (optional)
- 280 g plain flour
- 70 g cocoa powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 200 g dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa)
- 4 tbsp double cream
- 1 tsp coffee extract (optional)
- 4 tbsp coloured sugar sprinkles
- Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add an egg, vanilla extract and coffee extract, combine together. Add flour, cocoa, salt and mix again until the ingredients are just combined.
- Line the baking tray with baking paper. Roll balls of dough, a little less than 1 tbsp each, and place on a baking tray leaving 3-4 cm space between each cookie. Using your thumb (or a back of measuring spoon or spatula), make an indent into each cookie. Once you have used up all of the dough, place cookies in the fridge for at least 40 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 160C (fan assisted) or 180C (for conventional oven). Remove cookies from the fridge and place in the middle shelf in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes, rotating the baking tray half way through. If the indents lost their shape or 'puffed up', use your thumb or the back of the spoon to make the indents again. Allow the cookies to cool for about 10 minutes and transfer to a wire racks.
- Fill a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water, then sit a bowl on top, so it rests on the rim of the pan, not touching the water. Add cream and chocolate into the bowl, and allow them to melt slowly, stirring from time to time, until both are combined together. Spoon the ganache into each cookie, and sprinkle with festive sprinkles.