Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies


I'm so glad I finally got around to making these cookies because they are so pretty. My parents always make fun of me because it seems that whenever I bake something - I've been wanting to make it for "ages". But this time I'm not being the slightest bit dramatic when I say I've been wanting to make these cookies for a very long time. I think I have printed out the recipe every christmas since high school and just never got around to making them. They are pretty labor intensive as far as cookies go and they require a couple ingredients you don't normally have hanging around the house like pecans or heavy whipping cream. But this time I just happened to have every single ingredient that I needed.

I had made caramelitas for my mom because she buys them a lot from whole foods and I thought it would be worth taking a shot at homemade. I nailed it up until I forgot to turn off the burner that I was slow melting the caramel on and subsequently burned a solid circle at the bottom of them when I was supposed to be letting them cool. So dumb. So so dumb. Some of them were salvageable but I was so annoyed about the situation that I didn't bother taking pictures. I also bought two bags of the caramels bc I had never made them before so I wanted to make sure I had enough for the recipe, or if I made a stupid mistake. Turns out I DID make a stupid mistake but I really didn't need to make them again.

Thus, with my fathers overly stocked freezer full of pecans due to excessive purchases during the thanksgiving holidays, I had all the ingredients I needed to make these guys. I didn't have the shortening or coconut oil because I left my shortening at school and my mom couldn't find her coconut oil, but those turned out to be optional. And who is going to buy a big tub of something when you only need one teaspoon anyway.


Turtle Thumbprint Cookies 

For the Cookies:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp

1/3 cup granulated sugar
 (can also use all granulated)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg, separated

2 tablespoons milk

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1-cup pecans, finely crushed/chopped

For the Caramel:
16 unwrapped caramel squares

3 tablespoons whipping cream

Fleur de sel or other flaked sea salt

For the Chocolate Drizzle:

1/2 cup semi-sweet (or milk) chocolate chips

1-teaspoon coconut oil or shortening, optional

My cocoa powder is dark so to sweeten them up I used milk chocolate for the drizzle. Next time I will try and find regular cocoa powder because I thought they were just a little too dark.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Keep the egg white in a small dish in the fridge until ready to use. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Then add the egg yolk, vanilla and milk. Then gradually add the flour dry ingredients to the wet until just combined. Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350. Whisk the egg white until foamy. Using a melon baller, roll two scoops together (or shape them into 1 inch balls – but the melon baller kept them consistent in shape and size) Dip the dough ball into the whites, and then roll into the pecans until completely coated. With your thumb, press down gently in the center to get the indentation going (will be further pressed after baking). Place on tin foil or silpat.

Bake for 12 minutes. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press down into the previous indentation with a teaspoon and then let cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, heat the caramels and cream over very low heat until completely melted. When the cookies are cool and the caramel is no longer piping hot, use the teaspoon to pour the caramel into the cookies. Let cool completely.

Melt the chocolate however you prefer. Since I used milk chocolate (and also Hershey – aka not the highest quality), the microwave was quick and easy.


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