Thursday, November 5, 2015

Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

Hello, everyone!  It's the first Thursday of the month, and we all know what that means!  It's cookie of the month time!!  Honestly, I haven't been this excited about a cookie of the month in awhile.  These cookies are amazing, perfect for this time of the year, and, honestly, so simple to make.  They look so fancy, but take very little effort.  Isn't that the best kind of recipe!?  I think so!  
I know that you can get pecans all year 'round nowadays, but for some reason, I really only use them in the fall.  I have a big, beautiful pecan tree in my backyard, and I know that the nuts ripen around this time of the year (a few weeks ago, actually), so maybe that's why I usually buy them in the stores around now.
I wish I could say that I can just stroll through my backyard, and come back in with a basket full of beautiful pecans.  And, I probably could, if I weren't fighting for them with the squirrels, 4 dogs, and probably a bird or two in the process.  
I'll just go to the store and buy some.   
Here's your grocery list for this one:
1 C all purpose flour
1/3 C cocoa powder
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1 stick of butter, softened
1/3 C granulated sugar
1/3 C light brown sugar
1 egg, yolk and white separated*
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 C finely chopped pecans
1/2 C caramels (I used Kraft), give or take
2 Tbs heavy cream
3 oz chocolate chips
2 tsp vegetable oil

Okay!  Let's get started!  I can't wait!  So, to get started, as usual, put the butter and sugars in the bowl of your mixer, and mix until creamed together.  While this is running, add the flour, cocoa powder and salt in a separate bowl - mix these well, to make sure it is a homogenized mix.

The steps here are pretty standard.  Once your butter and sugars have creamed together, add in the egg yolk and vanilla; mix well. *After you separate your egg yolk, cover the egg white with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for use later in this recipe.

Once all of that has been incorporated, slowly add in the flour mixture, with your mixer running on low (or else you'll end up wearing most of it!).  Mix this together until it just comes together.

Dump this cookie dough onto some plastic wrap, and press into a disk; wrap the plastic around it, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

After your dough has chilled beat your egg white until it is frothy

Okay!  Now the fun begins!  Preheat your oven to 350, and line your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.  Put the pecan pieces in some sort of dish to roll the dough balls around in; I used a small bowl, but let your freak flag fly!  Pull off a chunk of dough to make a walnut sized ball.  Roll the ball around the egg white, then roll it around the pecan pieces making sure it is completely coated.

Using your thumb, press a deep indention into each cookie.  These don't spread out during cooking, so you can put them fairly close together.

Bake these beautiful babies for 10-15 minutes, until they are just set.  The nuts roast while baking, adding a really beautiful extra flavor to these cookies!  Once they come out of the oven, gently press the back of a teaspoon into the holes, making them just a little bit bigger, for extra room for the caramel.  Yum!

Let these cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, before moving to a cooling rack.  Now, we have this delicious cookie, we just need the caramel filling!  While I was shopping for these caramels, I found the little caramel bits!  Of course, you can use whatever caramels you want; they all melt the same.  In a microwave safe bowl, put the caramels in, along with the heavy cream; microwave on 30 second intervals until its melted, creamy, and delicious.  

Once it has come together, spoon into the cookies!  As you can see, I used the teaspoon; this worked beautifully!

You can certainly leave these as-is, but isn't everything better with chocolate?  Again, put your chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl, with the vegetable oil, and microwave in 30 second intervals, until melted.  With a fork, drizzle the chocolate over these beauties, and enjoy! These taste as good as they look!  This was a smaller batch of cookies; I only get 12 with this recipe, but these are decent sized cookies!  One is enough for me, usually, so these are a great little snack!