It's official: I'm full speed ahead on the holiday cookie train. These thumbprint cookies are perfect for that last minute cookie exchange scramble because they come together quickly and scream holiday flavors.
- Sugar: 1 cup
- Unsalted Butter: 6 tablespoons
- Heavy Cream: 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons
- Salt: 1/4 teaspoon
- Vanilla: 1/2 teaspoon
- Flour: 2 cups
- Baking Soda: 1 1/2 teaspoons
- Cinnamon: 1 1/2 teaspoons
- Ground Ginger: 1 1/2 teaspoons
- Cloves: 1/2 teaspoon
- Nutmeg: 1/8 teaspoon
- Salt: 1/4 teaspoon
- Eggs: 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
- Brown Sugar: 1/3 cup
- Molasses: 1/2 cup
- Unsalted Butter: 10 tablespoons
- Turbinado Sugar: For rolling
The How To (Salted Caramel):
- Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed pot and melt over medium high heat until it turns a deep copper color, whisking occasionally to ensure even heating. Be patient - this will take a few minutes!
- Add butter, vanilla, and salt and whisk until smooth. It will foam up a bit.
- Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the heavy cream.
- Pour the salted caramel into a bowl and set aside to cool. You can hurry the process along by placing the bowl in the fridge, or just putting it outside in the winter cold for awhile (this is what I did!)
The How To (Gingerbread Cookies):
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper/Silpat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt until combined.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk egg, egg yolk, and brown sugar until smooth.
- Pour the melted butter and molasses into egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Place the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes. While dough is chilling, pour turbinado sugar into a small bowl
- Scoop the dough into 1/2 inch balls and roll in the turbinado sugar. The dough will expand a lot, so make the balls smaller than you think you'll need to (trust me!)
- Use your thumb to make a deep indentation in the center of each ball.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes.
- Remove the cookies from the oven. Use a teaspoon to reinforce the indentations in the cookies - they sometimes disappear during baking.
- Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of the cooled salted caramel mixture into the center of each cookie. Cool until the caramel is completely set, then eat 4 cookies standing up in your kitchen!
- Seriously, roll the dough balls smaller than you think you need to. They expand a lot.
- If you have an extra 5 minutes, brown your butter before you mix it in. It'll lead to a nutty, deep, extremely delicious flavor. Instructions here.
- You'll have leftover caramel. Drizzle it on waffles, ice cream, cheesecake, or just eat it with a spoon.