Recipe 28: Chocolate Thumbprints

There was some drama this week while I tried to prep to make these cookies. I drove all over town looking for a whole vanilla bean and finally found one at Fred Meyer. $12! TWELVE DOLLARS. These better be worth it.

Last week I made the lime bars and that wasn’t enough to feed everyone at work. I’m making up for it this time. This recipe is supposed to make 7.5 dozen!

Part I: Make the cookies

Step 1: Gather ingredients: flour, butter, cocoa powder, sugar, egg yolks, course salt, vanilla, heavy cream.

Heavy cream in the dough? That’s a first for me.

Step 2: Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

Step 3: Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Step 4: Add vanilla, cream, and egg yolks.

Step 5: Add flour mixture just until incorporated.

At this point the dough was fudgy like other chocolate cookies I’ve made.

Step 6: Roll balls using 2 teaspoons dough for each, and roll each in sugar.

My sizing is a little inconsistent because while I used a teaspoon to grab dough, I didn’t level it off every time. Whoops.

Step 7: With the handle of a wooden spoon, press gently in the center of each to create an indentation.

That’s clearly not a wooden spoon. Mine has a flat edge, so I grabbed my slotted spoon and used that instead.

Step 8: Bake for 10 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Looking good at the halfway point! 10 minutes was the perfect time because that’s how long it took me to roll the dough and press the indentations for the next batch.

Step 9: Let cook slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks. If indentations lose definition, press centers again.

Luckily Willow was not really interested in them, so she jumped back down.
I did press them again, I just forgot to take a pic.

I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. This is easy so far!

Part II: Make the filling

Step 1: Gather ingredients: Bittersweet chocolate (finely chopped), cream, butter, honey, 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved.

What does “split and scraped, pod reserved” mean? This would be a good time to explain, or maybe include a video, Martha! I’m not going to guess and ruin an f’ing $12 bean.

I went to YouTube and found instructions. It was easier than I thought. The video said one vanilla bean usually makes 1 tsp of vanilla extract. I know you can make your own, but why would you? That would cost hundreds of dollars!

Step 2: Split and scrape the vanilla bean.


You take the back of the paring knife and just press/drag to get the “seeds” which just looked like mush to me.

Step 3: Combine honey, cream, and vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer until honey dissolves.

I’m not sure what that means. I think it’s dissolved once it’s not thick anymore?

That looks done.

Step 4: Cover and let stand 20 minutes.

Step 5: Place chocolate in a food processor.

Oh, yeah, about that. I bought a food processor. Nothing against the Magic Bullet, but I really did need something bigger. This was only $29 too! It’s normally $99, but I got it at a magical store that sells stuff that was returned to big box stores. Yes, I thought it may be stolen too. They say it’s not. That pan you just saw, that’s the bottom of my new Martha Stewart double boiler. I got it at that store too. $10 instead of the retail $70.

Step 6: Return cream mixture to a simmer, then strain through a fine sieve over chocolate.

That sieve, set of 3 for $5 at that store. I almost paid $25 at Macy’s the day before. 

Step 7: Let stand 1 minute. Process until smooth.

That was quick! 15 seconds at the most.

Step 8: Add butter and process.

Done. Ready to put on the cooks.

This was pretty easy. It was the perfect consistency so it didn’t drip when I was transporting from the processor to the cookies.

Link to original recipe

Yields: 90
I got: 72

Start time: 10:15
End time: 12:30 (2 hours, 15 mins)
Martha’s estimated time: 1 hour, 10 mins (What planet are you on?)

What did I learn?

  • The food processor is amazing! I can’t wait to make more things with it.
  • Using a vanilla bean is easy, but it felt expensive and wrong. I wonder what it would have tasted like if I used extract.

What do I need to learn?

  • What’s the point of the cream in the dough?
  • Why did I have to let the cream mixture stand for 20 minutes before returning it to a simmer to add to the chocolate?

The verdict is good. These were worth the time and dishes. Now I’m going to go take my new thumbprints and commit some untraceable crimes.

One last thing. What did you guys think of my new flower prep bowls? They’re Martha Stewart Collection ice cream bowls. I’m not sure how I feel about them.

11 responses to “Recipe 28: Chocolate Thumbprints

  1. looks awesome! what is the name of this store you speak of? 😉

  2. They look really good! And fun post. 🙂

  3. Love everything about this post. 🙂 I have also been to scared to do anything with a real vanilla bean. You may have just motivated me!

  4. The look awesome. Can’t wait to try one.

  5. I’m not wild about the bowls. I NEED to get down to Big Deals (that’s what it’s called, right?) this weekend. Also- I’m going to totally bust you for your crimes. You’ll be the Cookie Crumb Crook and I’ll be the plucky detective who finally puts you behind bars. “It’s a chocolate thumbprint, the signature of the Cookie Crumb Crook” That’s a line from our movie, it’s a lifetime original.

  6. Yay! Good post. And i’m going to need the name of that store. I’m local. You can have the cooking/baking stuff, and i’ll grab the baby stuff. Deal? Deal.

  7. Chris

    Nice work…these were muy tasty. I’ve only cooked with vanilla bean a few times, but I think it’s a like a lot of things…you get more of an intense vanilla-y flavor when you use the bean compared with extract. Vanilla beans are so expensive because they actually come from the inside of a unicorn’s horn…that’s why I always use imitation extract.

  8. Dude, with the cash you are saving on kitchen equipment, you should be buying vanilla beans by the bushel. By the way, I can get them at my grocery store 2 for $6!

  9. Pingback: Recipe 80: Cashew Butter and Jam Thumbprints | Nate Makes Cookies

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