It's Christmas Eve! Santa's coming tonight, so we better have some good cookies on the menu! And here they come...my salted caramel thumbprint recipe to the rescue. Featuring my favorite Salted Caramel Sauce, my favorite shortbread dough, and my favorite nut (pecans), these cookies aren't just for Santa. They're good for the whole family.
I highly reccomend making the dough a day ahead and chilling it overnight, as it needs at least 3 hours of chill time plus a few minutes to soften so you're not scooping out rock hard dough. I just find making it a day ahead is a lot easier and makes for less work when you have to bake the cookies.
Hence the name, thumbprint cookie indentations are usually made with our thumbs, right? Well, you're welcome to continue the tradition, but I find that the back of a wooden spoon, small melon baller, or other round object is a lot more effective when making indentations. Another top tip is to press them with your thumb (or other tool) as soon as they come out of the oven because the indentations tend to fill in a bit.
As for filling the cookies, I know you fill them before you bake when you use jam, but for this recipe you'll want to fill them after. I used a small disposable piping bag to easily put my caramel onto the cookies, but you could use a ziploc bag or just a couple of spoons.
With a buttery base, a distinctly caramelly caramel, and the crunch of pecans, this cookie is always a favorite in my household; and I hope it is in yours as well.
Finely chopped pecans & sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
1. In a medium sized bowl, cream butter and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add egg yolks. Once mixed, add vanilla extract. Scrape down sides of bowl and add flour to wet ingredients. Fold in flour on low speed until it forms a soft dough. Press dough together into a ball with hands and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Chill in refridgerator for 3 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from refridgerator.
3. Scoop dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on baking sheet. Press dough down slightly and use thumb or other tool to make an indentation in the cookie. Chill again in the refridgerator for 10 minutes before baking 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.
4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Allow cookies to cool 5 minutes before filling with salted caramel sauce and sprinkling with sea salt or pecans.