12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 10 – Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints

On the Tenth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me Ten Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints

I’m not going to lie, these are labor-intensive cookies – but the work is so worth it.  Chocolate, caramel and nuts combined in a crumbly and rich cookie that everyone is going to cherish.

We’ve been making these for years, with most of the work being done by Katherine – our most patient cookie baker. But after making them with her for a few years even I, the most impatient baker, enjoy and cherish creating these little chocolate caramel jewels each and every year.

So, on behalf of your family, I beg you to make these for Christmas, New Year’s or whenever.  They are that good.

Chocolate Carmel Thumbprints

Ingredients: Makes Approximately 4 Dozen

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4, 1-ounce squares semisweet chocolate, melted
2 egg yolks
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
32 milk caramels (we used Kraft Caramels)
5 T whipping cream
1 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
4 tsp shortening

Cookie Directions:

Beat butter in mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat well.

Add in melted chocolate until thoroughly incorporated, then beat in eggs followed by vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add into butter mixture, beating until just incorporated.

Put the dough on a plate and cover with plastic wrap, chill 1 hour (or until firm).

Once chilled, break of 1 Tablespoon of dough and shape dough into 1″ balls using your hands and palms. Optional: Then roll balls in chopped pecans. We do some without nuts for our nut allergy kiddos.

Place balls 1″ apart on a greased (or parchment lined cookie sheet).

Press thumb (or knuckle as pictured here) gently into center of each ball to leave your “thumbprint” indentation. {NOTE: Be gentle at this stage, the cookie dough is much like a shortbread and fairly delicate}.

Bake cookies at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes or until set. Carefully remove cookies to a newspaper covered work surface and gently press the centers down again with your thumb, again being gentle.

Filling/Decorating Directions:

While the cookies are cooling, make the caramel filling by combining the caramels and whipping cream in the top of a double broiler over simmering water (or make a double boiler like we did here with a glass bowl placed over a simmering pot of water). Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until caramels melt and mixture is smooth.

Once cool, carefully fill each cookie with the warm caramel mixture using a small teaspoon. You can do this with the cookie on the newspaper, or by picking up each cookie.

While caramel is setting and cooling in each cookie, melt chocolate chips and shortening in a plastic bag in the microwave for up to 1 1/2 minutes; squeeze bag to melt chocolate and incorporate shortening (the shortening makes the chocolate on the final cookie shiny).

To complete the cookie, snip a tiny hole in one corner of the bag with scissors.  Drizzle chocolate over cookie in a quick up and down hand movement making drizzle lines on the cookies as you go.  Make sure you have plenty of room around the cookie so you don’t get chocolate all over the walls (or floors).

Let the chocolate dry until set and then store between sheets of parchment paper in a very airtight container.

Enjoy – these are absolutely worth the work!

Julia

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Chocolate Carmel Thumbprints

Yield: Makes approximately 4 dozen

I'm not going to lie, these are labor-intensive cookies - but the work is so worth it. Chocolate, caramel and nuts combined in a crumbly and rich cookie that everyone is going to cherish.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4, 1-ounce squares semisweet chocolate, melted
2 egg yolks
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
32 milk caramels (we used Kraft Caramels)
5 T whipping cream
1 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
4 tsp shortening

Directions:

Beat butter in mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat well.

Add in melted chocolate until thoroughly incorporated, then beat in eggs followed by vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add into butter mixture, beating until just incorporated.

Put the dough on a plate and cover with plastic wrap, chill 1 hour (or until firm).

Once chilled, break of 1 Tablespoon of dough and shape dough into 1" balls using your hands and palms. Optional: Then roll balls in chopped pecans. We do some without nuts for our nut allergy kiddos.

Place balls 1" apart on a greased (or parchment lined cookie sheet).

Press thumb (or knuckle as pictured here) gently into center of each ball to leave your "thumbprint" indentation. {NOTE: Be gentle at this stage, the cookie dough is much like a shortbread and fairly delicate}.

Bake cookies at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes or until set. Carefully remove cookies to a newspaper covered work surface and gently press the centers down again with your thumb, again being gentle.

Filling/Decorating Directions:

While the cookies are cooling, make the caramel filling by combining the caramels and whipping cream in the top of a double broiler over simmering water (or make a double boiler like we did here with a glass bowl placed over a simmering pot of water). Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until caramels melt and mixture is smooth.

Once cool, carefully fill each cookie with the warm caramel mixture using a small teaspoon. You can do this with the cookie on the newspaper, or by picking up each cookie.

While caramel is setting and cooling in each cookie, melt chocolate chips and shortening in a plastic bag in the microwave for up to 1 1/2 minutes; squeeze bag to melt chocolate and incorporate shortening (the shortening makes the chocolate on the final cookie shiny).

To complete the cookie, snip a tiny hole in one corner of the bag with scissors. Drizzle chocolate over cookie in a quick up and down hand movement making drizzle lines on the cookies as you go. Make sure you have plenty of room around the cookie so you don't get chocolate all over the walls (or floors).

Let the chocolate dry until set and then store between sheets of parchment paper in a very airtight container.

Julia Montgomery Stewart

Nicknamed “Julia Child” at a young age, our own Julia is most at home in the kitchen. Lately, she has combined her culinary talents with a new hobby—fitness and healthy living. As a result, her recipes reflect an intriguing balance between eating well without sacrificing flavor. Outside the home, Julia is a consummate event planner, and spent the first ten years of her career as a publicist before expanding her portfolio of talents with the launch of Live Pretty in 2010. Balancing the busy demands of career and family, Julia lives with her husband and daughter in Orlando, Florida. In addition to her work in marketing, she serves a number of community organizations and initiatives in Central Florida.

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