“WHAT YOU LOVE IS AS UNIQUE TO YOU AS YOUR FINGERPRINTS.” Barbara Sher
I have never read any of the books written by Barbara Sher. But I do agree with her belief that nothing will make you really happy but doing what you love. We change so much as people over time. Growth…..sometimes painful, but always a good thing! And sometimes there are aspects of ourselves that have remained the same. I know that I have enjoyed writing since I was in the 7th grade! And I still do! And yet, it seems I’ve had to experience half of my life to realize how much I love to bake! Thumbprint cookies are pretty common. But it’s what you do to them that makes them unique to you. And for me, that can only mean one thing…..
Oh….and the caramel doesn’t hurt either. I mean…..LOOK AT THESE! When I first saw these coconut and salted caramel thumbprints in the latest edition of Living magazine, I knew I had to try them. They are not a macaroon. Instead, there is a soft, crumbly, shortbread like base….rolled in coconut…..baked and then filled with a rich, creamy caramel.….topped with a sprinkle of sea salt!!!
Sweet. Salty. Chewy. Crunchy.
Let’s get right to it!
FOR THE COOKIES:
(while the original recipe makes 54 cookies, I make mine bigger, measuring the dough by a Tablespoon before rolling, and this method made 48 cookies.)
- 3 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature (I used Kerrygold because good butter makes a difference in these shortbread based cookies!)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 12 oz sweetened, flaked coconut
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix till combined. Whisk the flour and salt together in a separate bowl. Add the flour mix to the creamed butter mix, 1/2 cup at a time. The batter will be very stiff. Place the dough in a piece of plastic wrap and press together to form a rough ball. Measure out a Tablespoon of dough, roll it into a ball, dip it into the egg, and then roll it into the coconut, pressing a bit as you do. It is definitely more efficient if you form all the balls first. (If you want a smaller thumbprint to make 54 cookies, then measure to form 1 1/4 inch balls). Place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Make an indentation with your thumb, though I prefer to use the blunt end of the handle of my whisk, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and give the indentations another thumb press. (Hot tamale!!! This is why I use the end of my whisk handle!) Place the pan back in the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden. Cool the cookies on wire racks.
FOR THE CARAMEL:
- 44 small caramel candies
- 6 TBSP heavy cream
- Fleur de Sel for sprinkling (or any other type of large, flaky sea salt)
Place the caramel candies with the cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the caramel is melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy. Spoon the caramel into the cookie indentations and sprinkle with sea salt to your preference.
NOTE: I found that it is best to make all of your cookies first, and as they are cooling, make the caramel filling. Fill them all at once and then top with sea salt. If you really want to start filling the cookies while waiting for your other batches to finish baking, then after the caramel has melted, it is best to remove the pan from the heat. Leaving the caramel heating, even on low, until all the cookies are baked, will cause the caramel to continue to cook and darken. To keep the color and texture of the caramel consistent, just place the pan back over the heat, if the caramel begins to thicken.
The cream definitely keeps the caramel gooey and soft. Just look!
These coconut and salted caramel thumbprint cookies were just a little labor intensive. The step which required the most patience for me was unwrapping the 44 caramels!!! The dough, though it contains no eggs, comes together nicely and is really delicious. And just continually mix the caramel until it is completely melted and smooth and then remove it from the heat. Whether you prefer your thumbprints large or small, I hope you will make yourself a batch of these. They are well worth the effort!!!
This recipe has been very slightly adapted from Martha Stewart, Living and here is the online original source.