Nut Goodie Thumbprints

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

For cookies:

• 1 cup flour

• 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

• 1 egg, separated

• 2 tablespoons whole milk

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

• 3/4 cup chopped roasted and salted peanuts

For filling:

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

• 1 teaspoon maple extract

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1 1/2 teaspoons whole milk

• 1 cup powdered sugar

For ganache:

• 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

• 2 tablespoons heavy cream

 

Directions

To prepare cookies:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt, and reserve.

In a bowl of a mixer on medium-high speed, beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low, gradually add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Dip the top half of each ball into remaining egg white and then into peanuts. Place dough, peanuts-side up, 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using the back of a spoon or your thumb, press an indentation into the center of the top of each cookie. Bake until cookies are set but still soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully remake the same slight indentation into the top of each cookie. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool.

To prepare filling:

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, combine butter, condensed milk, maple extract, vanilla extract, 1 1/2 teaspoons whole milk and powdered sugar, and beat until uniform and creamy. While cookies are still slightly warm, spoon filling into indentation in cookies, then allow them to cool completely.

To prepare ganache:

Combine chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl (or in a double-boiler over gently simmering water). Cook mixture, stirring occasionally, until fully melted. Stir until smooth. Use the tines of a fork to drizzle chocolate over cooled cookies. Allow ganache to set before serving.

2016 Winner: Crystal Schlueter of Babbitt, Minnesota