Christmas seems to be associated with cookies as much as Thanksgiving is synonymous with pies. I don't know why this is the case, but my best guess is that a platter of cookies is much easier to give as a gift than a smushable, refrigeration-required pie.
If you peruse as many blogs as I do, you've seen oodles upon oodles of posts featuring cookies over the past month or so. Go ahead and say it: I'm a conformist. In my defense, these cookies are really delicious.
For starters, they're so rich and fudgy that you might mistake them for deformed brownies, and that's not a bad thing. There are chocolate chips in them too, which adds a nice textural contrast and, hey, more chocolate! The coating of powdered sugar is a terrific touch, both aesthetically (how else would one highlight those crackles?!) and flavor-wise. The best part of all is the little pool of preserves in the middle. Depending on what you opt to use, you might get a really sweet jolt or a nice, tangy twang.
If you're in cookie-making mode, add these to your list; you won't be sorry!
Crackled Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Adapted from The All-American Cookie Book
Makes 40-50 small cookies
- 6-1/2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons preserves or jelly
- 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semisweet morsels, chopped
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, for rolling
- 1/2 cup preserves or jelly, for filling
Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave or on the stove-top. Do it in the gentlest way possible so as not to scorch the chocolate. Let cool to warm.
Stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until well blended.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the vanilla.
Melt the preserves or jelly until fluid but not bubbly; add to mixture.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the dry ingredients, including the chocolate morsels.
Add this to the chocolate mixture and stir just until well blended.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease up some baking sheets.
Place half of the powdered sugar in a medium bowl.
Shape portions of the dough into 1-inch balls and drop them into the sugar and roll them around until they’re coated and no chocolate peeks through.
Shake off the excess sugar and put the balls on the baking sheets about 1-1/2 inches apart.
Replenish the powdered sugar as needed and continue until the dough is gone.
Using your thumb, knuckle, or some sort of utensil, press a deep well into the center of each ball.
Spoon about ¼ teaspoon of jelly or preserves into each well.
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. The cookies are done when they’re just beginning to feel firm when pressed in the centers.
Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cook completely.