Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints

 This is a two-parter, where we make the cookies first, let them cool, then make the caramel filling (and let that set).  It’s a little complicated – not too bad – and well worth the effort.

Chocolate combined with homemade caramel…and just a little bit of sea salt.  Honestly, it’s one of the world’s most perfect combinations.

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ t salt
  • 16 oz (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar, separated
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 T + 1 t heavy whipping cream
  • 3 t vanilla

Caramel Filling

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup + 2 T heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 3 T water
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Sea salt for sprinkling

Directions

Put the flour, cocoa powder and salt into a bowl and whisk until very well combined.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, put the butter, 1 cup of sugar and the brown sugar.  Mix until smooth.  Next add in the egg yolks, whipping cream and vanilla and mix again until well combined.

Finally, add in your flour mixture and mix one final time until well combined.IMG_4582

Get your remaining quarter cup of sugar and put it into a small bowl.

Roll the dough into balls about the size of a ping pong ball, then roll each ball into the loose sugar.  Place each ball on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper – probably 8 to a sheet.IMG_4583

Using the end of a thick dowel (or, as the name implies, your thumb) to make an imprint in each cookie.

Bake at 350 for about 8-10 minutes, take them out of the oven and let them rest on the cookie sheets then transfer the individual cookies to a wire rack.  Note that you may need to tamp down the indentation a tiny bit after you take them out of the oven – remember it needs to be deep enough so that you can fill it.

IMG_4586Let the cookies cool completely before making the caramel filling.  Once you’re ready, lay a sheet of wax paper on your counter and spread your finished cookies onto it.

Next melt your butter then add in the cream and stir until combined.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, add in the sugar, corn syrup, water and vanilla.  Heat on medium, bringing the sugar mixture to a boil.  You want to get the mixture to 320F, so you’ll need a candy thermometer.  As soon as the mixture hits 320, remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the butter and cream mixture a little bit at a time and stir after each incorporation.  Note that as soon as the butter hits the hot melted sugar, it will start to spit and splatter, so do this carefully.   That’s why we only so it a little at a time.

Put the saucepan back on the heat and bring the temperature back up to 240 (yes, adding the butter mixture will significantly drop the temperature).

Don’t let it stay on longer once it hits 240.  If you do, your caramel will cool harder, and you want it soft and chewy and you don’t want to burn it.

Take your saucepan to the counter, let it cool and start to thicken just a bit (5-10 minutes) and then spoon a little caramel into each indentation.  Once you’re done, sprinkle just a little sea salt on each and let them cool on the counter.IMG_4589

IMG_4592IMG_4604Make sure to cover these when you’re not eating them, and enjoy!  Makes about 30 cookies.

By the way, I had leftover caramel so I grabbed a mini muffin tin, cut up some wax paper that I then put into each of the cups, and I spooned the remaining caramel into the cups.  Work quickly, because you want to work while the caramel is still in liquid form.IMG_4593

Transfer the tin to your fridge for about 20 minutes to let the caramel harden up and then close the wrappers and serve – bonus treat!IMG_4613

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