Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Vanilla Bean Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I had to work (as you know) but was able to enjoy Sunday out and about town. Houston finalllyyyy decided that it was winter time and brought in some cool temps so I'm pretty stoked about that (no more having to run the a/c!)

This post is the conclusion of the Christmas party goodies I made, I will be working on some festive beverages for your New Years celebration this coming week, which includes some cranberry Moscow Mules (which have become my new obsession). I will never get tired of using the Christmas tree for a backdrop (as you have probably noticed these past couple of posts) I am always bad about taking it down - I may or may not have left mine up till February last year (just kidding it was March).

This was my first time making thumbprint cookies, I actually first had them at work when a friend of mine let me try hers - it was soft, delicate shortbread with a dollop of creamy dark chocolate. I decided I wanted to make mine with vanilla beans instead of vanilla extract, I love the flavor and aroma that the beans provide. These cookies weren't as soft as I would have liked, they have a slightly firmer texture, which is good because it provides a better vessel to hold the chocolate or fruit filling.

Vanilla Bean Thumbprint Cookies

makes around 24 cookies

1 cup butter
1½ cups sugar
The seeds of 1 vanilla bean
2 eggs
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Chocolate Ganache
½ cup heavy cream
3½ ounces chocolate (I prefer Ghirardelli semi-sweet)
1 tablespoon butter

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scrape vanilla beans into sugar and mix thoroughly - set aside.

2.Combine butter and vanilla sugar until creamy. Add eggs until well-incorporated and then slowly add flour, baking powder, and salt. Shape dough into a ball, cover and store in the refrigerator.
Scoop 1 teaspoon of dough and then roll in between the palms of your hands until a ball, about the size of a walnut, has formed. Drop onto a cookie sheet. Press your thumb into the center of the dough ball to form a slight well. Repeat until all dough has been used.

3.Place sheet pans in the freezer for about 12 minutes to firm to prevent spreading during baking.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes until brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Chocolate Ganache
Pour heavy cream into a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a low simmer over medium heat.
Break chocolate into pieces into a medium glass bowl. Pour cream over chocolate. Add butter and whisk until smooth.
Chill ganache for about 15-20 minutes to firm.
For easily adding the ganache to the cooled thumbprint cookie, pour ganache into a ziptop bag and snip the corner for easy dispensing OR you can use a pastry bag or a pastry bottle to dispense.

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