December 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
When I saw this recipe in our December/January issue, I could not wait to make (and scarf down) these cookies. In LHJ food editor Tara‘s beautiful picture (below), they reminded me of the cookies I loved best as a kid (and, let’s be honest, I still mow down innocent bystanders if I happen to spot them): peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss in the center. Mmmmmm. I followed Tara’s suggestion and bought high-quality Lindt white chocolate bars, and I had all the rest of the ingredients already at home, which is a great thing about this recipe – all you need is flour, sugar, butter, salt, egg, vanilla and choco.
The one thing I forgot and didn’t have in my many cabinets was parchment paper, a mistake that would come back to haunt my cookies. I also didn’t heat the oven as my first step, as instructed, since the dough has to chill in the fridge for 90 minutes before you can roll it and I didn’t see the sense in leaving my oven on the whole time.
I followed the next steps exactly, stirring and blending and mixing, and my dough came out looking a little . . . crumbly. (See the third picture, below.) Like the topping on a coffee cake. I’m not sure if it was a blending issue or the fact that my ancient hand-mixer really only has one speed (insanely fast), but it wasn’t as smooth as I thought it should be. It looked a bit dry. It came together fine when I wrapped it in plastic, but even after cooling it in the fridge for an hour and a half, it still crumbled a bit when I rolled it into 1-inch balls. I also initially made the balls way too big and was about two dozen shy of what the recipe said I should make from the batter, so I went back and resized some of the behemoths into less gluttonous sizes.
The next step was making thumb-size indents in the top of each cookie, then baking for 15 minutes, which I fully intended to do, but I found that they were already well past “golden” and on their way to “browned” after 12 minutes. I’m assuming it’s because my industrial-strength Viking oven cooks the bejeesus out of everything (and heaven forbid I ever use the broiler, lest I want something chargrilled in 30 seconds flat), but I’d advise keeping an eye on them so you catch them at the moment of “cooked,” before they hit “singed.”
Melting the chocolate in the micro came next, and it was super easy to drop a little dollop of gooey white chocolate on the top of each treat. And this is where my earlier mistake of not using parchment paper showed up: The cookies were too brown on the bottom and a little on the hard side. Still chewy and moist in the center, but a little too much crunch on the bottom for my liking. Total user-error.
I also found that I had to let them cool for much longer than the hour recommended in the recipe before the chocolate began to harden. I of course couldn’t wait any longer than absolutely necessary before eating them, so when the timer clicked over to an hour of cooling I immediately grabbed three, then dripped some of the still-wet chocolate on the floor. I’m not sure if it’s because the cookies were still warm or because I overheated the chocolate, but they definitely tasted better after the chocolate was solid the next morning, when I tried one at 8 a.m. Before breakfast. So sue me.
But for all their aesthetic flaws, which an experienced baker probably wouldn’t even have, these babies are delish! The chocolate firms up but is still soft in the middle, and they’re just sweet enough and not overwhelmingly chocolatey. I plan to make them again for my relatives for the holidays, but this time with a little more parchment, a little less baking time, a little more cooling time and a lot more confidence!
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