Thumbprint cookies are a fun type of cookie to bake when you want something that looks a little fancier than your average drop cookie – and delivers an extra punch of flavor. Each individual cookie resembles a miniature tart, made by creating an indent in the top of the unbaked dough and adding a filling before baking. The fillings can be just about any flavor, but I mostly see them with fruit-based jams and citrus curds.
These Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies break with tradition because they are made with a chocolate cookie base and feature a peanut butter filling, delivering a finished cookie that anyone who enjoys the combination of chocolate and peanut butter will love. And who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter together?
The cookie dough itself is an almost shortbread-like dough. It has a deep, bittersweet chocolate flavor and a crisp, crumbly texture. The relatively dry dough is easy to handle and shape. The shortbread-like consistency means that the cookies don’t spread out too much as they bake, holidng their shape and keeping that filling in place. The filling is purely peanut butter that is piped into the center of each cookie. You’ll notice that I said “piped” because I recommend using a piping bag (or a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off) to get the peanut butter neatly into the center of each cookie dough round. You can spoon it into place, but piping is a bit less messy. I used a national brand (I like JIF) that had a nice balance of sweet and salty to it.
Once baked, the cookies are finished with a drizzle of chocolate. If you want a little bit more nuttiness, you could sprinkle on a pinch of finely chopped peanuts before the chocolate sets! The cookies keep very well, so feel free to double the recipe and pack them away in an airtight container for snacking all week long.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
approx 1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Blend in milk and vanilla extract, then slowly blend in the flour mixture with the mixer on low speed. Dough will be dry, but will come together as you mix. If necessary, add in an additional teaspoon or two of milk.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Using your thumb or the back of a spoon, make an indentation in the top of each ball of dough and pipe (or spoon) peanut butter to fill the indentation completely up.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, until cookies are set and are just firm around the outside edge. Allow cookies to cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cookies have cooled, melt half of the chocolate chips in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Add unmelted chips to the warm, melted chips and stir until all the chocolate chips have melted (to quickly temper the chocolate). IF necessary, warm mixture for 10 seconds in the microwave if not all the chocolate chips melt. Drizzle chocolate over the cookies using a piping bag or the tines of a fork. Allow chocolate to set at room temperature.
Makes 3 1/2 dozen.