Devil’s Thumbprints

TIMEDecember 5, 2021

I’m often asked if I ever make a mistake in a recipe and end up with something good. These cookies were that kind of a lucky accident. I must not have paid attention while I was mixing the dough, because I put in too much chocolate and got cookies as dark and rich as devil’s food. I thought I’d sandwich them with jam, but then I had a better idea: thumbprints. I pressed the center of each little ball of dough down with a corn, baked the cookies, and then pressed the imprints again when they came out of the oven. The double pressing not only gave me a place for the jam; it also made the cookies fudgy. These are also really good filled with more chocolate.

Plan Ahead: The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours.

Makes about 38 cookies

  • 3/4 cup (102 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup (132 grams) sugar
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Sanding, turbinado, or granulated sugar for finishing
  • About 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) raspberry (or other) jam

Whisk the flour, salt, and cinnamon together.

Place a medium heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl). Drop in the chunks of butter and scatter over the chocolate. Heat, stirring now and then, until the butter and chocolate are melted but not so hot that they separate.

Remove the bowl from the pan and whisk in the sugar—don’t be alarmed when the mixture turns grainy. One by one, add the cold eggs, beating vigorously until the mixture is thick and smooth. Beat in the vanilla, then switch to a flexible spatula and add the flour, stirring gently until it disappears into the thick dough. Cover the dough well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.)

When you’re ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat. Put some sanding, turbinado, or granulated sugar in a small bowl and have a cork from a wine bottle, if you’ve got one, at hand.

Using a small cookie scoop (one with a capacity of 2 teaspoons) or a teaspoon, scoop the dough (you want a rounded teaspoon of dough for each cookie). Roll the dough into balls between your palms and then roll the balls around in the sugar to coat. Place the balls on the baking sheet, giving them 1 1/2 inches or so of space to spread. Hold each cookie between two fingers to steady it and press the cork into the center of it (or use your thumb) to make an indentation.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies feel firmish. It’s hard to give a bunch of clues for doneness with these; if your oven is accurate, 10 minutes will be perfect. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack. The indentations will have puffed in the oven, so press them down again.

Repeat with the remaining dough, always using a cool baking sheet.

To fill the prints, put the jam in a microwave-safe bowl, add a splash of water, and heat for about 20 seconds, or until it has melted. (Or do this in a saucepan over low heat.) Using a small spoon, fill each indentation to the brim with jam.

The cookies are ready to eat as soon as the jam has cooled and set. They are good just warm or at room temperature.

Storing: The cookies will keep for about 5 days in a covered container at room temperature.

Recipe excerpted from “Baking With Dorie: Sweet, Salty, and Simple” copyright 2021 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography copyright 2021 by Mark Weinberg. Reproduced by permission of Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.