dark chocolate almond thumbprint cookies with fleur de sel
By far the most popular recipe on the site is the one for chocolate turtle cookies (with very good reason – it’s one of my favorites too!) and I thought it was about time for another thumbprint cookie recipe. This one comes by way of Food52 and is such a great, easy cookie to add to your holiday repertoire. Just look at the ingredient list – only 9 ingredients, and one of them is optional! I even happened to have everything on hand already, including exactly 3/4 cup of almond meal, left over from making some chocolate almond meringues (recipe coming soon!).
Sure, thumbprint cookies might be a little bit more involved than a drop cookie since you have to make an indent in each of the cookies, but really, that doesn’t take much effort. I couldn’t believe how easily the shortbread cookie dough came together and melting the chocolate mixture and spooning it into the cookies is even easier. Sprinkle some salt over the top, and you’re done! No one would ever guess how simple these beautiful little cookies are.
The Food52 recipe calls for sea salt, but I still had some fleur de sel from when I made the dark chocolate-cherry ganache bars a while back, and I figured this would be the perfect time to put it to good use. And if you’re wondering about the lemon zest in the cookie, that just subtly brightens it all up. Feel free to skip it if you don’t have a lemon on hand.
Nestling fleur de sel studded dark chocolate in the nutty, buttery shortbread is a match made in heaven. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
Chocolate Almond Thumbprints with Fleur de Sel
Adapted only slightly from Food52
For the cookie base:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup almond meal
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- finely grated zest from 1 small lemon (optional)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- fleur de sel or sea salt, to taste
Make cookie base:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two small baking sheets (or one large one) with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour and almond meal.
- In another small bowl, combine lemon zest with sugar. With the tips of your fingers, rub the zest and sugar together until they’re well integrated.
- Combine the butter and sugar-zest mixture in the bowl of a stand or hand mixer. Beat them together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of your bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the vanilla extract and beat for a few more seconds. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add the almond meal-flour mixture a little at a time. Beat just until just incorporated into the dough -- don’t overmix.
- Scoop teaspoon-sized balls of dough (they will look small - that's ok, you want them small, I promise) and roll them to form small balls. Place the balls about 2” apart on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Using your thumb or the bottom of a half teaspoon, make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Make sure you don't press through the dough, but make sure the centers are plenty deep and wide to hold the chocolate filling.
- Bake about 13-15 minutes, or until the cookies are only slightly colored around the edges; be careful not to overbake. After 8-10 minutes check the indentations -- if they seem too shallow use the bottom of a teaspoon to deepen. When done, remove the baking sheets from oven and transfer the cookies to cooling racks and cool completely.
Make chocolate filling and assemble:
- Using a double boiler or a small heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, combine chocolate, 2 tablespoons butter, and corn syrup. Stir until melted and smooth. Cool slightly. When cookies are cool, fill the thumbprints with the chocolate, and then sprinkle with fleur de sel (or sea salt). Allow about an hour for the chocolate centers to set.