Gluten-free Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies, with melted Hershey’s Kisses in the centers. Perfect for Christmas – or any time! more
I think my family is trying to drive me into the nut house. And, well, not in a car. As many years as I’ve been doing this (7 years – it’s been 7 years), they still don’t get it. “It” is that, when I’m sweating it out, developing a recipe, I’m probably failing. Even something as seemingly simple as thumbprint cookies, like these, almost inevitably fails at least once (these failed only once – too much flour the first go-round). I know, right? Madness. So I’m already flirting with insanity, all on my own. And I do not want to have a chat about my failure. I love what I do, but roughly half the time while doing it, I’m also right on the edge of madness. So, you know. Tread lightly, family. There’s a near-lunatic in the house.
I’ve even got at least one other well-tested thumbprint cookie recipe in my repertoire (case in point: page 183 of my New Cookbook - don’t have a copy yet? get one!). And yet. Failure before success. There are so many recipes out there for thumbprint cookies, but so many of them are simply not very good. Sometimes, it’s the simplest recipes that can be the most persnickety. You know?
Enough about failure. And my shaky mental state. On to success! For successful thumbprint cookies, do me a solid and do not use your thumb. Halfway through baking the cookies, simply use the wet bowl of a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon. You will get a perfect “thumbprint,” time and again … and you will save your thumb in the process (halfbaked cookies are hot!).
I filled these thumbprints with one of the holiday-themed Hershey’s kisses—white chocolate kisses with candy cane pieces. They are delightfully smooth, yet a wee bit crunchy at the same time. And since I don’t care for the way they look when they’re bursting right out of the cookie, I added the kisses right as the cookies are coming out of the oven. That way, they melt. And they keep their pattern. So they’re really pretty and impressive–all without the trouble of making a separate filling and piping it in just so.
The deep chocolate flavor of Dutch-processed cocoa in these lightly-sweet and beautiful, soft and toothsome simple cookies is offset perfectly by the sweet & minty white chocolate. But really, they’re chocolate thumbprints (blossoms, to some), and you can use whatever filling you like. Whatever kiss you like. Just be sure to make them pretty. This time of year especially, we all like to see pretty cookies. Happy Christmas! And merry New Year.
1 cup (140 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
7 tablespoons (35 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder (Rodelle brand is gluten-free)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (86 g) confectioners’ sugar
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg (60 g)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (optional)
12 Hershey’s Kisses Candy Cane variety (or your personal favorite Hershey Kiss), unwrapped
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet and set it aside.
Make the dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, egg, vanilla and optional peppermint extract, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough should come together, but it will be soft. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and drop each about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is firm, 5 to 10 minutes. Once the dough is firm, remove the baking sheet from the freezer and roll each piece of dough into a ball between your palms, then press down into a disk about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Return to the baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.
Bake the cookies. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Wet the underside of the bowl of a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon, and press the wet underside down, gently but firmly, into the center of each cookie to create a well as deep as the measuring spoon itself. If the measuring spoon begins to stick to the cookies, rewet it and continue. Return the baking sheet to the center of the preheated oven and bake until set, about another 5 minutes.
Assemble. As soon as you remove the baking sheet from the oven, press one unwrapped Hershey Kiss in the concave well of each cookie and press down gently to start the chocolate’s melting. Allow to cool on the baking sheet until the cookies are firm, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature for a few days, then freeze for longer storage. After freezing, bring to room temperature before serving or the chocolate centers will be too hard to bite though.
P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of both of My Cookbooks! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!