Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

This is the follow-up to Tuesday’s post on Viennese shortdough:  chocolate murbteig.  Like the basic dough, this one comes together quickly in the food processor and makes the same delicate, buttery cookies, with a subtle chocolate flavor.  Thumbprints can be baked ahead of time and stored in a covered container; fill them with raspberry or apricot jam just before serving.  You can also shape the cookies and freeze them; then just bake them from the frozen state, adding a little extra time as necessary.  Either of the murbteig doughs can be used for rolled cookies.  Because the dough is so buttery it is necessary to roll it between sheets of parchment or waxed paper.  Work quickly and if it becomes sticky or difficult to handle, slide the dough onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm.  Check out Sprinkle Bakes for more variations on this versatile cookie dough.

Chocolate Thumbprints (Hussars)
(makes approximately 40 to 50 cookies)
8 ounces blanched hazelnuts, almonds, or a mixture of both (225 grams)
1 recipe Chocolate Murbteig (see below)
Seedless red raspberry jam or sieved apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 350F.  Toast the nuts on a baking sheet 8 to 10 minutes, until fragrant and just lightly colored.  Cool completely.  Place in the food processor, fitted with the steel blade, and pulse to chop coarsely.  Set aside.  Lower the oven heat to 325F.  Between the palms of your hands roll pieces of the Murbteig into balls about the size of walnuts.  Roll in the chopped nuts and place on ungreased baking sheets.  With your index or middle finger, make a deep indentation right to the bottom of each dough ball, but do not go through it.  Continue until all the pastry is used.  Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, do not overbake.  Cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet.  Remove to racks to cool completely.  Fill the indentations with jam just before serving.

Chocolate Murbteig
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (285 grams or 10 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, refrigerated
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (55 grams), melted and cooled
Fit the food processor with the steel blade.  Add the flour and sugar to the bowl and process for 5 seconds to mix.  Cut each stick of butter into 4 pieces.  Place the butter in a circle on top of the dry ingredients and process for about 20 seconds until the butter is indistinguishable in the mixture, but the mixture remains light and powdery.  Add the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and chocolate, poured in a circle.  Process for about 20 to 30 seconds until a ball forms.  Process 10 seconds longer.  Use as desired.
(from “The New Pastry Cook” by Helen S. Fletcher)

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