With a piped chocolate center, these special-looking thumbprints are almost too pretty to eat. The ground almonds, almond paste and extract will have fans of those nuts drooling.
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- 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup baking cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup almond paste
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 teaspoons meringue powder
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and extract. Combine the flour, cocoa and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
- Place almonds in a shallow bowl. Roll dough into 1-in. balls; roll in almonds. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in the center of each. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until firm. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Add almond paste and beat until crumbly. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, water and meringue powder until smooth. Pipe filling into cookies, about 1-1/4 teaspoons in each. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 5-1/2 dozen.
Originally published as Chocolate-Almond Thumbprints in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2012, p64
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