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Chocolate-Peppermint Thumbprints

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Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

  • To learn more, read:
    Smart Cookies
  • by David Crofton from Fine Cooking
    Issue 96

For the Cookies:
  • 5-1/4 oz. (1 cup plus 2-1/2 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 oz. (1/4 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 oz. (1/2 cup) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
Tip:
For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 oz.) If you don’t have a scale, be sure to use the proper technique when filling your measuring cups.
For the Mint Filling:
  • 4 oz. (3/4 cup) chopped semisweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • Scant 1/4 tsp. pure peppermint extract
Make the cookies:

Sift the flour and cocoa together into a medium bowl. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt; continue beating until blended and smooth, about 1 minute more. Add the flour-cocoa mixture and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm enough to roll into balls, 40 to 60 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners.

Using your palms, roll heaping teaspoonfuls of the dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange them 2 inches apart on the lined sheets. With a lightly floured thumb or index fingertip, press straight down into the middle of each ball almost to the cookie sheet to make a deep well. (Or use the end of a thick-handled wooden spoon.)

Bake one sheet at a time until the tops of the cookies look dry, 8 to 9 minutes. Gently redefine the indentations with the end of a wooden spoon. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes and then let them cool completely on racks.

Make the filling:

Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set in a wide skillet of almost simmering water. Stir with a heatproof spatula until almost melted, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until melted and smooth, about 30 seconds more. Stir in the mint extract. Let the filling cool, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and a bit warmer than room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes. Spoon the filling into a small pastry bag with a small plain tip. (Or use a small plastic bag and cut a tiny bit off a bottom corner of the bag.) Pipe the filling into the center of each cookie. Cool completely before serving or storing. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per cookie; Calories (kcal): 80; Fat (g): 6; Fat Calories (kcal): 50; Saturated Fat (g): 3.5; Protein (g): 1; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Carbohydrates (g): 7; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): 15; Cholesterol (mg): 15; Fiber (g): 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

These are WONDERFUL! We did leave out the peppermint extract but loved the cookie and filling. These were even better the next day. Wonder about a little raspberry jam in the middle - yum!

These cookies are great! I am not sure what the other users who rated this cookie poorly are doing, but I have made this so many times now and have never had any issues. I have even whipped them together in a hurry and they still turned out great! The flavour is great for the holidays. I have made them every Christmas for the past 3 years to rave reviews. This is definitely a good recipe!

Delicious beyond belief! I did roll the dough balls in granulated sugar prior to cooking to add a tad more sweetness. I cannot believe the poor reviews?? I am a foodie and think that this was my "recipe find" of December!

Very fragile cookie. Too crumbly and fussy. I didn't even get to the filling part. I'm going to look for another dough that's less of a sable and use this filling.

Very light, but flavorful cookie. The base is a bit crumbly as a shortbread, but the filling holds it all together well.

Excellent. Light and delicate with buttery flavor.

Very easy to make, but you need to double the recipe: I took a batch to a friends house for Thanksgiving, and they were all gone in about 3 minutes. Definately a cookie to make again. Since the filling is just plain chocolate chips, I wonder if you could use other types like the peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips. Two comments: the recipe says to chill the dough for about 40 minutes until it can be formed into balls. I think they could have been rolled right away, and besides, when the butter was chilled that much the dough got very stiff and the ball cracked badly when the thumbprint was made. Maybe there's a reason to let it chill so the ingredients can rest. Second, I think an inch ball is much too large, or maybe I can't measure properly, but I changed mine to be a fat half inch.

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