Growing up, I didn’t like thumbprint cookies very much. The ones that I had when I was a kid had an awful mushy texture and were typically filled with some sort of odd green jelly. I guess it was Christmas so people were trying to be festive? I just remembered that I didn’t like them so it took me a while to try a better thumbprint cookie. Now, I quite like them, as thumbprint cookies can be pretty interesting.
These caught my eye right away. They are a simple butter cookie, but it was the filling that sounded great: Mexican chocolate ganache. Ganache is usually just chocolate and cream (how can you go wrong there?) but this had added spices: cinnamon and cayenne pepper. I don’t like spicy food all that much, so I didn’t use a lot of cayenne. I could have probably used a little more, as I can’t really taste it in the filling.
Working with the ganache filling is a little tricky and messy. The original recipe said to fill the cookies with a ½ teaspoonful of the ganache, rolled in a ball. Well, the ganache was too soft to roll, even directly out of the refrigerator. And ½ teaspoon was way too much and didn’t form a nice filling. I’d say I used about ¼ teaspoon for each cookie to get it to look nice. These cookies are really wonderful and I loved the cinnamon/chocolate filling. I’d like to try more things with this ganache!
Mexican Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces milk chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups sugar
14 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
The day before you want to bake, make the Mexican chocolate filling: In a small saucepan over low heat, bring the heavy cream to a boil, stirring consistently. Stir in the cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Place the chocolate chips in a bowl and pour the hot cream over the chips. Allow to set for 5 minutes and then whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, beat the sugar and butter on medium until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, on medium low speed. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Stir just until the flour is incorporated.
Shape the dough into 1” balls and roll in additional sugar. Place on the baking sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes, until just barely browned along the edges. Remove from the baking sheets to a wire rack immediately. Make an indentation in each cookie with your thumb.
As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, take a small amount of the Mexican chocolate filling and place it into the indentation. As the cookies are warm, the chocolate will soften and “melt” into a nice circle. Allow the cookies to cool before serving.
Recipe from Wine and Glue