Christmas baking: Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies Posted by: | January 2, 2012
 
(For some reason this entry posted on 18 December has mysteriously disappeared off my blog, so I’m reposting it again. In case anyone wonders why I’m posting about Christmas Baking way after Christmas…)
December is my favorite month of the year (next to my birthday month, June, of course). It gives me an excuse to bake, decorate, to listen to Christmas songs (and torturing everyone around me with screaming “All I Want For Christmas” on the top of my lungs in the shower).

 

This year December is especially festive and special. There is the crazy excitement of launching Kitchen Art, my lovely staffs who already feel like family, and this year we are celebrating Christmas with a new member in the family: my nephew Daniel. Even though I only see him through pictures and webcam, I already feel like I know him. I guess it’s the “Auntie-Instinct”.

 

To add on to the crazy baking galore this month, I decided to have a Christmas cookie photoshoot at Kitchen Art Studio this week, as part of the content for our upcoming Kitchen Art website. I made Sugar Cookies with festive royal icing decorations. It was actually my first time working with royal icing, and I was quite nervous beforehand. After all, I wouldn’t wanna screw up in front of my professional photographers (though this is much less pressure than cooking in front of cameras for our cooking show). But the cookie photoshoot turned out really fun and our cookies came out quite decent. Royal icing is not so scary, after all. I feel like I’ve conquered another mountain. That’s what I love about baking. There’s always something new to learn, but it’s never too difficult to master if you put your heart and mind to it (with the exception of Macarons… urgh). I can’t wait to showcase the photos soon. But here’s a little sneak peek:

 

 

My assistants had a lot of fun decorating the cookies with me too. Photographers snapping away while we piped icing and sang along to Christmas Radio. You know, just another day in the office. Ah… I love my job.

 

With Christmas spirit at all time high and quite a bit of cookie dough left from the photoshoot, I decided to make best use of it today at home. Forget about the hassle of rolling dough and cutting cookie shapes (not that it’s not fun, too), I went for thumbprint cookies. It’s one of our favorite Christmas cookies, and all I gotta do is just to pinch bits of the dough and form them into equal sized balls, before pressing “thumbprints” into them. But instead of filling the cookies with jam, I indulged in filling them with melted bittersweet chocolate (Valrhona 60% dark chocolate). Mom is going to love it. She’s a chocoholic. After the chocolate is set, it forms a nice hard, bittersweet center, while the surrounding cookie base is airy-soft and buttery. The slight saltiness in the cookie goes perfectly with dark chocolate too (just like Sea Salt Chocolate!). The cookie dough recipe is really fool-proof and delicious, adapted from Joy Of Baking. I’ve been following this recipe for the past 2 years. It makes perfect buttery, soft, airy cookies that aren’t too sweet. I don’t even know why I bought the expensive Cookie Recipe iPad app by Martha Steward because I end up never using them. I still trust Joy Of Baking most. She’s never failed me.

 

Aren’t these real beauties?

 

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
(Cookie dough recipe adapted from Joy Of baking)

 

Ingredients:
(makes 40-50 cookies, depending on cookie size, enough to give out to all your friends)

 

  • 390g all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 227g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 200g granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • about 100g dark chocolate to fill every 30 cookies

 

Method:

 

1. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda in a bowl.

 

2. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined.

 

3. Add flour mixture and beat until dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Don’t overmix or the cookies will turn out hard. Refrigerate the dough for one hour until firm. Meanwhile preheat oven to 177deg C (350 deg F) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

 

4. Remove chilled dough from refrigerator. Pinch equal portions of the dough to roll into little balls and line them up in the baking sheets. Use the end of a wooden spoon or your thumb to press into the dough balls, creating an indentation in the middle. Refrigerate the unbaked cookies for about 15 minutes to chill the dough before baking, to prevent the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking (if you skip this step, you will have to press the cookies again later as they will rise and lose the “thumbprints”).

 

5. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, until edges are starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cookies cool. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over a pot of simmering water.

 

6. Use a teaspoon to fill the melted chocolate into the cookie center, finish with a slight swirl on top with the tip of the spoon to create a nice circle. Refrigerate the cookies until the chocolate is set before serving.

 

 

Merry Christmas everyone! See you back in 2012!

 

 

 

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