Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints

Do you ever see a picture of a cookie and you just have to have it? Well that's what happened when I spotted these "Sandies by the Sea" in a recent issue of Cook's Country. But I wasn't really happy with any part of the recipe, more just the inspiration, so I set about to create my own, delicious, version.

There are basically three components to these cookies - the dough, which I made a simple sugar cookie dough, the chocolate -which, hello, is just chocolate - and the caramel, which is probably more complicated but if I can do it, anyone can.
The only thing I didn't like about these was that if you didn't keep them exactly flat the caramel kind of slowly oozed out everywhere and on to everything - but there are two solutions: find a big enough container to keep them all flat or eat them all immediately!
After many disastrous caramel attempts, I came back to it again here, to much greater success. I much prefer the dry to the wet method - and if you're using non-dairy ingredients - like margarine and soy milk - in place of the butter and cream, you need about half as much since they have higher water contents. Good luck!

Tip of the Day: One scary side effect of making caramel can be the totally crystallized mess stuck on the bottom of your pan - never fear, a heavy dose of hot water can help, and for stubborn spots, fill the pan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to loosen any stuck pieces.

Recipe: makes approximately 3 dozen cookies

1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks) plus two tablespoons, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Approximately 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter (or 3 tablespoons margarine)
1/2 cup whipping cream (or 1/4 cup soy milk

Sea salt, to finish 

For the cookies, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until evenly combined. 
On low speed, add in the flour gradually, mixing until totally combined. 
Roll the dough in to medium sized balls - using a scant tablespoon of dough, and place on a baking sheet, spaced about an inch apart. Use your thumb or the bowl of a teaspoon measurement to make an indentation in the center of each cookie.
Bake the cookies on 350F for 10 minutes, then remove and reinforce the indentation with the teaspoon measurement in each cookie. 
Return to the oven and bake another 6-10 minutes until just lightly brown. 
Right after you take the cookies out, drop a chocolate chip in to the center of each cookie. Wait 2-3 minutes, then gently spread the melted chocolate around the cavity of the cookie, going just slightly over the sides. If your kitchen is warm, stick in the fridge for 5 minutes to set. 
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, preferably not non-stick, heat the cup of sugar over medium-low heat. 
Stir it lightly and gently as it starts to brown and liquefy (David Lebovitz gives much better instructions than I do). Continue cooking until all the sugar has melted and it is turning a beautiful dark brown - but don't let it burn! Add in the butter and cream - it will bubble up like crazy so don't use a small skillet - and mix to combine to a thick, creamy sauce. 
Spoon about a teaspoon of the mixture in to the center of each cookie, and stick them in the fridge to set before the caramel remelts all your chocolate.
Sprinkle each cookie with a touch of sea salt before serving, if desired.


  1. Good lord those look good. And you REALLY had me at "add a touch of sea salt". I am printing this now and to hell with my diet. LOL

  2. Thanks Megan! Let me know how they turn out.

  3. Great recipe really...I was here a week ago and noted down this recipe of thumbprints and tried it on my recent weekend and my words!! It really tasted so good and healthy to my children that they are asking me again again to prepare this one again...I am very thankful to you for sharing such a kind of recipe...!!

  4. I made the original version of these cookies from the magazine today, and I can vouch that they are delicious! It was fun to see the ways in which you tweaked it. I am so impressed, because I always have to follow a recipe exactly, so it is fun to see how people can change it up. My husband loved these cookies!