Friday, February 05, 2016

All Thumbs: Cocoa-Cherry Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

When I first made these thumbprint cookies last year, I almost immediately wondered if I could make a chocolate version. The easiest solution was substituting a portion of the flour with unsweetened cocoa. Since cocoa is drier than flour, I didn't want to use too much, but the result was still a good first step. The cookies have a nice hint of chocolate with the wonderful tang of cream cheese, and are still rich and tender like the originals. And if you don't finish them all in one sitting, no worries—they taste even better after a few days!

Cocoa-Cherry Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

Cocoa-Cherry Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup cherry preserves (stir to loosen if the preserves are very thick)

In a medium bowl, stir flour and cocoa together until combined. In a large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla extract, then blend in flour mixture until smooth. Cover dough and chill in the fridge for 45 minutes (don't skip this step, the dough is very sticky).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line baking sheets with foil or parchment.

Using a one-Tablespoon scoop or measuring spoon, scoop dough and roll into balls, then place on lined sheets a few inches apart. Press down firmly in the middle of each with your thumb (I found that washing my hands with hot water, then drying them completely, made this easier as the residual heat helped reduce sticking). Fill each indentation with a scant 1/2 teaspoon of preserves, and bake for 12-16 minutes, or until slightly darker around the bottom edges, the tops of the cookies appear "dry" and the filling is bubbling a bit . Remove and let cool before moving. Once completely cooled, store cookies in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper, either in the fridge or a very cool spot in your home.

Notes: Fill these cookies with any jam or preserves you like—I chose cherry this time since it's a classic with both chocolate and cream cheese, but I also wondered how a fine-cut orange marmalade or a lightly sweetened nut butter would work. Have a delicious variation of your own? Please share in the comments!


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