Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints feature a gooey caramel center.

Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints

Makes about 21/2 dozen. Recipe is from “Southern Living Christmas 1998.”

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 (1-oz.) squares semisweet chocolate, melted

1 egg yolk

2 tsps. vanilla extract

11/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup very finely chopped pecans

16 milk caramels

21/2 tbls. whipping cream

2?3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

2 tsps. shortening

1. Beat butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add melted chocolate and egg yolk, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla.

2. Combine flour, soda and salt; add to butter mixture, beating well. Cover and chill 1 hour.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll balls in chopped pecans. Place balls 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets. Press thumb gently into center of each ball, leaving an indentation.

4. Bake at 350 F for 12 minutes or until set. Meanwhile, combine caramels and whipping cream in top of a double boiler over simmering water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until caramels melt and mixture is smooth.

5. Remove cookies from oven; cool slightly, and press center of each cookie again. Quickly spoon 3/4 teaspoon caramel mixture into center of each cookie. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool.

6. Place chocolate morsels and shortening in a heavy-duty, zip-top plastic bag; seal bag. Microwave at High 1 to 11/2 minutes; squeeze bag until chocolate melts. Snip a tiny hole in one corner of bag, using scissors. Drizzle chocolate over cooled cookies.