Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chocolate-Caramel Cherry Thumbprint Cookies

Something that always makes me happy is the Christmas cookies that flow freely out of my house come December.  It usually takes me a couple of weeks to hunt down containers and supplies.  Once I start baking I won't shut the oven off until I can't inhale the cookie fumes any longer.

Making the cookies is a tradition, a ritual you might say.  Something that brings a sense of peace and order to my little world.  Something that helps restore all of the wrongs that seemed to have crossed my path this year and helps make them right.

I finally got a chance to sit down and pour over recipes and decide what will and what won't make the cut this year.  I always include a few family favs, but I've also been working on some new ones.  I will be attending a cookie exchange lunch soon and just any old cookie won't cut it.

I have to say these cookies sure do have everything going in their favor, a soft dough encrusted with salty pistachios, a tart cherry bite, and sweet subtle caramel covered with a dash of dark chocolate ganache - just to bring them over the top. These just might be a contender for the exchange, but I still have a few others I'm working on.

Chocolate-Caramel Cherry Thumbprint Cookies

Rosemary Caramel
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
4" long sprig of fresh Rosemary (leave whole)
1/4 cup heavy cream

Cookie Dough
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried tart cherries, chopped finely
3/4 cup finely ground salted pistachios

Chocolate Ganache
4 ounces dark chocolate (or semi-sweet), finely chopped
4 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

1)  Make caramel:

Combine sugar, water, and sprig of Rosemary in a small skillet and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.  Let cook 5-7 minutes until the edges are starting to turn an amber color.  Turn the heat off and add the cream.  Turn the heat back on and whisk until smooth.  Remove the Rosemary sprig (with tongs, caramel burns are no joke) and discard.  Set aside.

2)  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

3)  Make cookie dough:

Place butter in the bowl of a mixer or regular bowl and mix until fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the eggs, vanilla, flour, and salt and mix until combined.  Add cherries and mix them in.

Place the ground pistachios in a small bowl and use a cookie scoop or a tablespoon and get a nice round scoop of dough and roll it into a ball in your hands and then roll the ball into the pistachios.  Should get about 25-28 cookies.

Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat and press the ball down in the middle with your thumb leaving an indent.

Bake for 11-15 minutes until just set in the center and the bottom is starting to brown a bit. Use a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon and repress the middle a bit, just be gentle so you don't break the cookies. Let cool.

4)  Make chocolate ganache:

Combine chocolate and cream in a heat proof bowl and place on top of a small pan of simmering water.  Whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool for a few minutes until cool enough to handle.

To assemble the cookies:

If the caramel hardened a bit, put it back on the heat for a minute or so and stir.

Place a 1/2 teaspoon or so of the caramel into the depression on top of the cookies.

Place the chocolate into a disposable piping bag or a large Ziploc bag and cut off just a small amount of the tip. Pipe the chocolate to cover the caramel.

You can place them in the fridge to set up faster or leave them sit for a couple of hours.

Store in an airtight container.

(Well someone had to taste them and make sure they were safe for human consumption?  Didn't they?)




  1. I do love tradition and this one really is tempting me; your cookies look so Good. My son just gave me a big jar of shelled pistacchio. I was so excited; never saw these before.

  2. Yummy, any old cookie won't cut it, ha ha ;-) These cookies will definitely 'cut it' !!
    Looking forward to our lunch, I better get my act together and come up with a fantastic cookie;-)

  3. Me too Patty. Rita, I will be looking for shelled one, that will save me lots of time, thanks.

  4. These look OUTSTANDING, thus I present to you the Gap Band award for OUTSTANDINGNESS! I have serious cookie envy knowing these are not a Casa Katty right now. :)

  5. We always make a bunch of cookies at this time of the year, too, and always a mix of some old faves and some new ones. These look terrific! And might become our next new favorite! Really nice - thanks so much.

  6. These cookies have tons of delicious Christmas goodness my friend this looks absolutely stunning :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. These cookies look to die for, Gina. Rosemary caramel sounds really amazing.

  8. I can honestly say receiving your cookie box last Christmas restored a bit of my faith in humanity :) Plus, it REALLY helped my popularity at work :) Looking forward to seeing you at the cookie swap, friend!

  9. Gina,
    These cookies are beyond amazing with all the delish flavors and textures. I would like to dive in the chocolate ganache.

  10. I'm so happy that baking cookies put you in a place of zen. These sound like my kind of cookies because I like them a bit soft and not too crunchy. They might just make it onto our Christmas cookie platter:) Thanks for sharing Gina! xo

  11. I am so glad you posted this recipe. I am definitely going to give them a try this Christmas. I bake cookies with my mother every year and it will be nice to introduce something new. Hope you are doing well!

  12. Rosemary caramel!! I've never heard of such a thing...but I think I'd really like it. I'm just starting the cookie mode myself.

  13. They look pretty safe to me! ;-))
    My kids are asking for cookies since so long since I've made them - and now I've got dried cherries after our NYC trip! Come at a great time - they look super, Gina.

  14. Wow, just when I thought I wouldn't see a cookie I hadn't heard about, you come up with this. Love them!

  15. Great recipe Gina! I do bake when I cannot sleep, and that makes me relaxed..:) I am loving your clicks here, very tempting cookies too! Have a beautiful weekend!

  16. Lovely recipe and I love that the part of the soft caramel. I think I will need a tin of these cookies please? Hugs, Jo

  17. These cookies were beyond delish Gina! Thanks so much for sharing them :) Also loved the containers you used, so cute and practical since the cookies stayed airtight and uncrushed- until they got home to my tummy:)