I spent most of this weekend taking care of a sick little one, but she was feeling better yesterday so I had a chance to get started on some Christmas baking. I like to make a variety of cookies every year, some that are traditions and then a few new kinds as well. To make all the baking easier, I make and freeze most of the cookie dough a few weeks ahead of time. Then, all I have to do is bake and decorate everything a day or two before Christmas.
I think you NEED at least one chocolate cookie in your Christmas selection and mine are these Nutella Thumbprints. I made these up a few years ago in honor of my Nutella-obsessed sisters and they were a huge hit! The cookie part is very rich and dense, almost like a brownie, with delicious Nutella centers topped with some chopped hazelnuts for crunch. Perfection.
Nutella Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 5-6 dozen small cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, cream, and vanilla and beat on medium until well-combined. Scrape sides of bowl, and add the flour mixture. Beat on low until just combined.
4. Make balls of about 1 tablespoon of dough each. Roll in sugar and place 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make a large, thumb-sized indentation in the center of each cookie.
5. Bake cookies until just set, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
6. Use a knife to fill the center of each cookie with Nutella. Top with chopped hazelnuts.