Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

My husband's granny buys bags of pecans at a local market each fall and sends me a few.  Pecans store wonderfully in the freezer. Having a couple bags in there I knew I needed to find a great cookie for our exchange that would use some of them up.  I happened upon this thumbprint cookie from Annie's Eats. I love the cream cheese dough but have never been a fan of the jam which usually fills these little delights.  So Annie's idea of filling with Pecan Pie sounded perfect for the holiday.  These turned out fabulous and actually filled the roll of "moon stone cookies" for my son's Harry Potter birthday party. They can be a bit fickle to work with.  Be sure your dough is cold; don't handle it too much.  And careful not to overfill the middle as you will have a mess in your oven.  

1 cup butter, at room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
½ cup pecans, finely chopped
¼ tsp. salt
2½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of coarse salt
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Caramel drizzle:
4 oz. caramel chips
2 1/2 tbsp. heavy cream


FOR DOUGH: Combine butter and cream cheese.  Beat until well blended, about 1 minute.  Mix in the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes more. Add in the vanilla extract.  Measure flour, salt, and  pecans in a bowl and whisk to incorporate and ensure that there are no lumps in the flour. With the mixer on low, mix in the flour mixture just until blended.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate.  Chill the dough for about 30-60 minutes.

FOR FILLING: In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, corn syrup, egg yolk, vanilla, and salt.  Whisk just until blended.  Stir in the pecans.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Scooping about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls. Do not overwork dough. Place the dough balls on the baking sheets 2-3 inches apart.  Use your thumb to make a small round indentation in the center of each dough ball.  Fill each indentation with a small amount of the pecan filling mixture. 

Bake the cookies just until edges begin to brown, about 16-18 minutes total.  Cool on baking sheets, then move to a wire rack set over wax paper or foil.  Let cool completely.

CARAMEL DRIZZLE:  Combine the caramel chips and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth. Drizzle the caramel over the cooled cookies.

To Freeze: Transfer cookies to a rigid freezer container and freeze.  When serving, just leave out on the counter and allow the cookie to thaw a bit.  Or throw in the microwave for a few seconds for a tasty warm treat.

Adapted from:

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