Cooks and bakers can relate to my feelings. As I thumb through assorted cookbooks on my shelf, I’m on the prowl. Although I’m not searching for anything in particular, but, just a recipe that catches my eye, or ingredients, or words, something which will make my eyes go pop! Oh, how about a new cookie, something I haven’t ever baked before. I’m looking for a unique combination of ingredients–different satisfies and challenges me.
For years I’ve seen the words thumbprint for cookies and believed they were simply a cookie dough with a blob of jam or jelly, maybe a nut in the center. Their appearance never drew me to bite into one of those cookies–just too boring. However, after spending a hunk of time with several cookbooks–both baking and savory kinds, I repeatedly, under the cookie title, saw the words “thumbprint”. Most of them did have that moniker of jelly, jam or a nutmeat in the center, so I just kept browsing. On the internet too there were many selections to choose from. I thought to myself, be open-minded about this new kind of cookie idea, at least for me, so then I delved more into the ingredients. One book had dough for sugar or butter cookies, another used confectioners sugar as the sweetener, Some had long chilling periods, others, not. Hardly any of them talked about unusual fillings for the thumbprints, like poppy seed, prunes or chocolate. And one said fill the thumbprint with just one quarter teaspoon of jam or jelly and just the tiniest of nutmeat, hum, not very filling or substantial in my opinion. Personally, just too small a cookie for me. Although in defense of the smallest cookie, I now recall reading recently that some people really like just a taste of a cookie, and that’s what a small cookie gives you. And since some tiny thumbprint cookie is just so small, that means that people can pop a few in their mouths! But still, I’ll stick with making a larger cookie.
Finally, I decided to give the thumbprint cookie a try, I figured I could make adjustment and easily combine some other cooks’ ideas with my own creative input. So, that’s what I settled on. I was pretty excited. I knew I would be jazzing up my cookies, taking fresh ideas from myself, as well as bit and pieces from other skilled bakers. It would be a fun adventure! I’m pleased to say I created a masterful cookie, one that will certainly be added to my always-growing cookie recipe collection.
And, too, I encourage you, fellow reader and baker, dive off from my recipe to add and subtract ingredients you may prefer as you create a cookie you love. Drop me a note if you wish to share something about this cookie, or another one that you’ve made recently. I like chatting, via blogging, to hear about bakers and cooks and their adventures in the kitchen–community is great!
Personally, I really like using my stand mixer for most of my baking needs. It works beautifully with cookies and cakes. But too, my handheld mixer comes in handy. However, if I need to mix ingredients for 4 or 5 minutes, I’ll stick with the stand mixer.
This recipe makes about 40 2 inch cookies. Set the oven at 350 – place a rack toward the middle, or close to the bottom third. You do not want the cookie tops to get very brown, just a faint bit of color.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or use silicone baking sheets.
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour – you can use regular flour, but the cake flour produces a finer, softer texture
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/2 pound butter, softened slightly – salted or unsalted
1 cup sugar, divided
3 egg yolks, divided
1 1/4 tsp vanilla, divided
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream
1/2 cup of chocolate or milk chocolate chips
1– Mix the flour and half a teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl, and set it aside.
2–Using an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, one quarter cup of the sugar, one quarter teaspoon of the vanilla and barely one quarter teaspoon of salt. Add one of the egg yolks, the sour cream, and mix all for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
2–In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl using an electric mixer, mix the butter on high speed for 3-5 minutes until it’s pale yellow and fluffy. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar and mix another 2 minutes on medium high, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add two yolks and the vanilla and mix until incorporated, about another minute.
3–Add the flour mixture about half at a time, and slowly, with the motor on low, work it into the sugar mixture until well-combined, but not overly so, scraping down the sides as needed. A rough dough will form. Shape this mound into a ball. It will be about 4-6 inches in diameter. Wrap it in plastic, refrigerate the mound for 2 hours or for as long as three days.
4–Using one large tablespoon, make a nice round mound, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on the cookie sheet. Leave 1-2 inches between each dough mound. Using a lightly flowered end of a thick wooden handle kitchen tool, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Stretch the dough slightly with the tool, using your fingers to help. so that the center area widens out to almost an inch, making room for the filling. Occasionally you may need to dip your end of the wooden tool lightly into flour.
5–Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and again press with the tool to widen the center, making it slightly deeper, but not too much so that any filling could seep through. Return the pan to the oven and bake another 8-10 minutes until coloring on the edges are faintly golden. Let the cookies on these 2 or 3 sheets of cookies cool completely.
6–In each bowl of the cooled cookie, add 2-4 chocolate chips. Or use just a few raisins, or small bits of nuts. On top of the chocolate add nearly a teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture, mounding it up slightly.
7– Bake the cookies again for 7-9 minutes or until the cheesy part is slightly firm. Transfer to a cooling rack and, if you desire, top each cookie with an additional 1-2 chocolate chips. Cool the cookie completely. Yummy!
TIPS AND TWEAKS
Aside from using chocolate and cream cheese in the center of these cookies, jelly, topped on the dough after it is baked twice, just below the cream cheese mixture, is surely delicious and unique!
If you use all jelly atop in the mixture, once out of the oven,sprinkle a bit of unsweetened coconut on it, pressing it down slightly with a spatula so it clings slightly to the jelly.