We may be in the midst of Thanksgiving prep (those grocery stores are jam packed!) but it's Christmas that I can't get my mind off of. I'm always eager to get started on holiday baking! It's such a wonderful time of year; I only wish we had more time (I think two months would be perfect) between Thanksgiving and Christmas to stretch it out and enjoy it more. Short of moving to Canada where we can celebrate Thanksgiving in October, I guess we have to make do with our schedule. That means it's time to get started on cookies! I have old-favorites to make but I eased into my holiday baking with this batch of chocolate-chestnut thumbprint cookies, a chocolate chip cookie filled with chestnut cream.
|Chocolate chip thumbprint cookies filled with chestnut cream|
You might know that I love chestnuts, in all forms. If that's not the case for you or if you can't get your hands on chestnut cream ("crème de marrons"), you can also fill the cookie centers easily with a spoonful of Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread (I bet you have that!). If you don't mind a little more work, I think a fudge filling like the one I used for the fudge oatmeal cookies would work beautifully.
I filled my thumbprints with chestnut cream as well as Nutella. If you find the kind of chestnut cream that comes in a tube, it makes filling the thumbprints so easy.
Between the two, the chestnut cream filling gives you a different flavor component, a milder kind of sweetness. It's a fun change and a little twist to the usual. The Nutella, or a chocolate filling, will give you more of a familiar, traditional chocolate chip cookie taste. Both are good. My husband and I liked the chestnut combination; the little one preferred the Nutella.
|The cookies up front are filled with Nutella|
I'd intended to sub some of the all-purpose flour in this recipe with spelt flour but the idea totally slipped my mind til the cookie dough was all made. That kind of forgetfulness happens a lot around this time of year for me!
When you mix up this dough, it may seem a bit dry but don't be fooled. Get your hands into the dough and it comes together and you can easily roll them into balls before using your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon to make your indentations.
Half the cookies pictured above are filled with chestnut cream (the 2 rows on the right) and Nutella (on the left). I like that the chestnut cream comes out the way it looks going in. You may get some white spots on the Nutella filling after baking (likely due to the heat and crystallization, I'm guessing). Lastly, popping the cookie dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before baking is important; it keeps the cookies from spreading too much.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving gathering! But don't forget to start thinking about those Christmas cookies...there's a lot to bake and eat so you need to plan ahead! : )
Adapted from Martha Stewart
- Makes approximately 1 1/2 dozen -
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2 oz.) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup crème de marrons (sweetened chestnut spread); alternatively, you could use Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with racks set in the upper and lower third position. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and salt, beating until combined and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add flour and beat on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate with a rubber spatula.
The dough might look a bit dry but gather it in your hands and it will come together easily. Shape dough into 1-inch round balls and place onto baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Using your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in each cookie. Fill each with about a teaspoon of crème de marrons (or Nutella, if using that). Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, until firm. This will keep the cookies from spreading too much while baking.
Bake until edges are golden and cookies are firm, approximately 12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through the baking time. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing onto wire racks to cool completely.
Cookies can be store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days. Unbaked cookie dough can be frozen up to 1 month; thaw before using.