Caroline Charrette offers a recipe for a fancy cookie that is popular in her house at the holidays -- or actually anytime. This chocolate thumbprint cookie is rolled in nuts, filled with caramel and then topped with more chocolate. Wow.
150 ml (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
114 g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 egg, separated
30 ml (2 tbsp) whole milk
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour
75 ml (1/3 cup) cocoa
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
250 ml (1 cup) finely chopped pecans
14 soft light caramels
45 ml (3 tbsp) whipping cream
125 ml (1/2 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
5 ml (1 tsp) shortening
In small bowl, beat sugar, butter, egg yolk, milk and vanilla until blended. In another small bowl, stir together flour, cocoa and salt. Blend into butter mixture. Chill dough at least 1 hour or until firm enough to handle. (Hint: Wrap dough in plastic and press into a flat square about 10x10 cm or 4x4 in. When making the cookies, cut dough into 24 equal pieces, which will keep size of cookies consistent.)
Preheat oven to 175C (350F). Lightly grease cookie sheets. In a bowl, lightly beat the reserved egg white. Shape pieces of dough into 2.5 cm (1 in) balls. Dip each ball in egg white and roll in pecans to coat. Place balls on prepared cookie sheets 2.5 cm (1 in) apart. Press thumb gently in centre of each ball. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Meanwhile, make caramel filling by heating unwrapped caramels and whipping cream in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth.
When cookies are baked, remove from oven and press centre of each cookie again to make a clear indentation. Immediately spoon a little caramel filling into each indentation. Let cookies cool on sheets a minute or two and then remove carefully to wire racks to cool completely. Make chocolate icing by heating chocolate chips and shortening in microwave at low heat or in saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Drizzle chocolate over cooled cookies. Yields 2 dozen.
Tester's notes: With layers of chocolate, nuts, caramel and more chocolate, making this decadent cookie involves several steps, but it's well worth it. If you don't want to use your thumb on the hot cookies, use the end of a wooden spoon.