One of my best friends, my sister-in-law, is not a huge fan of sweets. While I always need to end a meal with a treat, she was content to satisfy her sugar cravings with alcohol. However, now that she is pregnant, she has had to resign herself to soothing her sweet tooth in a more conventional way. I've been fielding lots of baking tech support calls from her about cookie and cake recipes and our cocktail hours have turned into afternoon baking parties. Yesterday we got together to recreate a cookie she'd been craving, Caramel Thumbprint Cookies.
The recipe comes from Linda Currie, a nurse and baker, and all around great lady. Buttery shortbread filled with creamy melted caramel and topped with chopped pecans, these cookies can tame even the most aggressive pregnancy craving. That and a jar of horseradish pickles!
Linda Currie's Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cup flour
23 Kraft caramels
3 tbsp heavy cream
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350F. Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Stir in flour, salt, powdered sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Roll small pieces of dough into balls and make an indentation in the center if each ball with your knuckle or thumb, making sure to smooth out the dough around each crater with your fingers. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. If the thumbprint you made has disappeared while baking, gently press your knuckle into the still warm cookies, then cool on a rack.
While the cookies cool, combine the caramels and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high at 30 second intervals until the caramels have melted. Stir well, then using a teaspoon fill each thumbprint with the caramel mixture. Top cookies with a few pecan pieces.