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Archive for December, 2015

A holiday recipe to share

2016-cookies

I’m a little late posting this Monday, because today I took some time off from writing and instead spent all day at my friend Jane’s house doing our Christmas baking. Together with two other friends (hi, Jane D and Denise!) we made nine different kinds of cookies (more than twenty dozen at a guess) and went through enough butter to make a cardiologist faint, but it’s only once a year and the cookies get shared between four families. That’s what I tell myself, anyway!

One cookie we didn’t make today (mainly because we ran out of time) was my chocolate and salted caramel thumbprint cookies. We made them last year and they were such a hit — chocolatey enough for the kids, but the salted caramel was a welcome change from the usual jam fillings. I think I may have to pull out my stand mixer tomorrow night and make up a batch!

I wish I could remember where I found this recipe — I think it may actually be a mash-up of recipes from Martha Stewart Living and Canadian Living. Feel free to sub in your own thumbprint cookie if you prefer — the caramel filling is delicious with plain vanilla cookies as well.

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Cookie ingredients:
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 cup plus 1 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
– 1 tsp kosher salt
– 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
– 1-1/3 cups white sugar
– 2 large egg yolks
– 2 tbsp whipping cream
– 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Salted caramel filling ingredients:
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar
– 1/4 cup light corn syrup
– 1/4 cup whipping cream
– 2 tbsp butter, softened
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 3/4 tsp flaked sea salt (such as Maldon or fleur de sel)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a small bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium, and add yolks, cream, and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl. Beat in flour mixture until just combined.

Roll balls using 2 teaspoons dough for each. Place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. With the handle of a wooden spoon, press gently in the center of each to create an indentation. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are just set, about 10 minutes. (If indentations lose definition, press centers again.) Let cool slightly on baking sheets. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool.

Meanwhile, in saucepan, bring sugar and corn syrup to boil over medium-high heat; boil, without stirring but brushing down side of pan with pastry brush dipped in water, until dark amber in color, 4 minutes.

Stir in cream, butter, vanilla and 1/4 tsp of the flaked salt; cook until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Spoon into depression in each cookie; let stand until set, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining flaked salt. Will keep, refrigerated, for up to five days.

Some tour dates to share with you

Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you’ve had a chance to explore my website a bit — what do you think? A number of you have been kind enough to let me know that you like its new look and layout. I’d love to take credit for it, but it really is the work of my web guru Jeremiah Tolbert of Clockpunk Studios — he’s the one who deserves the praise!

I’ve had some emails asking where and when I’ll be touring this winter, and the simple answer is that a lot of the details are still up in the air. If you click on the “Appearances” tab at the top of the page you’ll see that I’ve started to add in some dates; broadly speaking I’ll be traveling to Milwaukee, Chicago and (possibly) some other Midwest destinations in late January; in February I’ll be on the move again, this time to Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal and Ottawa, with additional appearances in Toronto and southern Ontario throughout February and March. In early March I will also be coming to New York and the tri-state area for a series of appearances with some of the other authors who are part of the Fall of Poppies anthology — more details to come.

If I’m not coming to your part of the world — I was really hoping that my tour would take me to Hawaii and California, but for some reason those locales have not made an appearance on my schedule! — I am happy to visit with your book club, library reading group or any other book-loving gathering via Skype. To get in touch, simply fill out the contact form here or send me a message via my Facebook page.

I hope you have a wonderful week and I promise to check in with more news next Monday.

Jen-signature