Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TWD - Thumbprints for Us Big Guys


Let's just set the record straight. Of all the things I am, I'm not a big guy. But I still loved these cookies.

I refer to the recipe of the week for Tuesdays with Dorie, Thumbprints for Us Big Guys. Mike of Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude is hosting this week, and I'm so glad he picked this one. I was feeling somewhat worn out from this cake, and couldn't muster the enthusiasm to go to the store for hazelnuts, so I used what I had on hand: almond meal. I also decided that these wanted to be made with salted caramel ganache (adapted from Heavenly Cakes, recipe below), which I made several months ago. This was the first time I used frozen ganache and it won't be the last.

I loved Dorie's tip of using the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes. I usually use my big guy-sized thumb for thumbprint cookies, and I often smash the poor little cookie. Not this time. Just poke the end of the wooden spoon almost to the bottom of the cookie and pull it out. Once the cookies have baked, cool slightly before applying the jam (or ganache).

These were wonderful with the bitter chocolate of the ganache, and the crumbly texture was a little like a sable, but they were a snap to make. They're definitely going in the rotation.

If you'd like the recipe for the cookies, Mike has it here. Here is my adaptation of RLB's caramel ganache.

Salted Caramel Ganache - adapted from Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Printable Recipe
3 ounces fine-quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 ounces fine-quality 70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons water
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, heated
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the chocolate until very fine.

Spray a heatproof 2 cup measuring cup with cooking spray and set aside.

To make the caramel, stir together the sugar and water in a medium heavy saucepan until the sugar is moistened. Heat on medium-high, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring and allow the syrup to boil undisturbed until it turns deep amber (370 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer.) Remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully stir in the hot cream. It will bubble up furiously.

Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir the mixture gently, scraping down to the bottom of the pan. Return the pan to very low heat, continuing to stir gently for 1 minute, or until the mixture is uniform in color and the caramel is fully dissolved. Remove pan from the heat and gently stir in the butter until incorporated. Pour into prepared measuring cup.

With the food processor running, pour the hot caramel sauce onto the grated chocolate. By the time all of the caramel has been added, the chocolate will be melted and the mixture will be smooth and shiny. Add the vanilla and the salt and pulse 2-3 times.

Scrape ganache into a bowl and let stand uncovered for 1 hour then cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for two more hours, until firm enough to spread as a filling and frosting.

41 comments:

Marthe said...

Ooo, that salted-caramel ganache sounds really delicious!! Your thumbprints look perfect to me :)

Jessica said...

Salted caramel ganache sounds so rich and wonderful in these cookies. I love jam, but that sounds even better than jam. And the wooden spoon looks like it was perfect for making the "thumbprint" because your thumbprints look so perfect.

vibi said...

WOW! How far can one go to make great cookies, even better... as far as Leslie I guess! LOL ...Caramel ganache... it is my death you want? LOL Amazing Leslie, simply amazing.

spike. said...

I didn't know you could freeze ganache! Your cookies look great

Kim said...

They look wonderful. A chocolate ganache thumbprint sounds delightful.

chocolatechic said...

Salted caramel ganache...oh. my.

Mimi said...

Great idea with the ganache. Your cookies look lovely.
Mimi

Pamela said...

I'm DROOLING for that salted caramel ganache. Sounds amazing. Your cookies turned out really nice!

Jennifer said...

Oh MY! These look AMAZING...way beyond anything I would have ever thought of! Goodness, you just made me want to bake something right now!!!!!

Tia said...

holy moly caramel ganache. i want some of this so badly.

Clivia said...

We all have ganache envy! This is a great variation. I hope your recipe rotation isn't as long as mine. Since Dorie, I almost never get back to things.

Hanaâ said...

Good call on using almonds (I love almonds; one of very few nuts I can eat). Love your pairing with the caramel ganache.

Flourchild said...

Great filling and great idea to use the almonds..Im glad the recipe title didn't say Thumbprints of us BIG women..hee hee!

Mary said...

Great combination of almonds, chocolate and caramel! That ganache is a great bit of insurance to have in the freezer:)

Katrina said...

Ooh, the caramel ganache sounds de-lish! And that photo there looks like the perfect cookie!

Jules Someone said...

Oh my oh my oh my. The caramel ganache sounds amazing!

Kayte said...

Perfection. I wasn't sure how much color to get on them, so I left the pans in varying times just to see what I liked best. I like them like yours are...barely a whisper of color. You are so fancy with your ganache! I strive...

Romaine said...

Oh my! Over the top with the ganache. I bet these cookies are un-be-liev-a-able!

Gabe's Girl said...

Wow, your cookies sound and look amazing. You did a marvelous job-seriuosly!

Valerina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valerina said...

Salted Caramel Ganache! Wow. May I please try one?

TeaLady said...

Filling with ganache.
I. Am. THERE!!!!!

They look lovely.

Diana's Cocina said...

These look heavenly.

Susan said...

Oh my! Those look fabulous! I would much rather make your version then Dorie's! :)

margot said...

Hmm, I guess I can blame the cake for not getting around to the thumbprints. They look super-yummy and the ganache sounds divine.

Heather said...

Now here's a beautiful thumbprint cookie! The caramal ganache sounds absolutely divine.

jillbert said...

The ganache sounds wonderful! I used ground almonds, but I think I would have liked the texture of almond meal better.

Teanna DiMicco said...

Oooh salted caramel ganache!? That sounds amazing!

Lauryn said...

your cookies look amazing and I am loving the idea of having them with salter caramel!! YUM!! I have the Heavenly Cakes book and I definitely want to give that caramel a try!

Ashley said...

Oh, that ganache recipe sounds divine!

Kimberly Johnson said...

Your variations sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing the caramel ganache recipe - sounds yummy!

bakingwiththeboys said...

You had me at salted caramel ganache. yu-um.

The Bake More said...

Your Thumbprints are perfect. I'm so impressed, mine came out like melted blobs.

Carol Peterman said...

I love your salted caramel ganache. Frozen ganache is one of the best tricks there is. It's right up there with having a stash of buttercream in the freezer ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Jess said...

Now all I can think about is salted caramel ganache! Lovely cookies.

Liz said...

Salted caramel ganache? Um, YES PLEASE. Sounds awesome!

Di said...

I love the wooden spoon trick as well--it works great! I've been eyeing that ganache recipe, and I think I'm going to have to try it soon.

Tracey said...

Thanks so much for sharing the salted ganache idea Leslie. I didn't love these cookies but I bet I could find another place to use the ganache! Lovely cookie!

Cakelaw said...

LOL - I am not a big guy either (or at least, I don't think so ...) These cookies were good, and yours turned out ever so well.

Vicki said...

Am I missing something? I would love to try your Salted Caramel Ganache recipe, but the sugar amount is not indicated.
Thanks,
Vicki

Leslie said...

Vicki, I am so sorry! It's 3/4 of a cup. I hope you like it and thanks for pointing out that omission!