Melissa’s Menu: Holiday cookies

 Pecan pie thumbprint cookies are a yummy and easy to make holiday dessert (delish.com)

Pecan pie thumbprint cookies are a yummy and easy to make holiday dessert (delish.com)

Cookies are arguably the most essential holiday dessert. There’s nothing like receiving an assortment of freshly-baked cookies or baking them with your family. Even Santa Claus loves cookies. Sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies are probably two of the most common holiday cookie flavors, and while they are delicious, they can get old. If you’re looking to spice up your holiday cookie selection, look no further. This week’s Melissa’s Menu has got you covered with two equally unique and delicious recipes. The first recipe, pecan pie thumbprints, takes pecan pie to a whole new bite-sized level. It’s a warm, nutty and caramel-filled delight. The second recipe, Nutella-stuffed chocolate cookies, are gooey, extra chocolatey and extremely indulgent. Add these recipes to your holiday cookie line-up and you’ll have all your friends and family craving more!

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients

For the cookies:
2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1 cup of butter, softened
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
For the pecan pie filling:
1/2 cup of butter
1/4 cup of dark corn syrup
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2/3 cup of finely chopped pecans
Caramel for topping

Directions

To make the cookies, whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla, then add flour mixture, beating on low until combined. Roll dough into one-inch balls. Place them roughly two inches apart on a baking sheet and use your thumb to press a small divot into each ball. Freeze for 20 minutes and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the pecan pie filling, combine butter, corn syrup, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir and remove from heat, then fold in pecans. Set aside.

Remove cookies from the freezer, spoon filling into each one and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let them cool and drizzle with caramel before serving.

Nutella-stuffed cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of Nutella
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons of milk
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
Flaky sea salt

Directions

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop one tablespoon balls of Nutella onto the prepared baking sheet (24 balls total). In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and beat until combined, then add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Refrigerate dough while the Nutella is in freezer. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of cookie dough and flatten into a pancake-like circle. Top with a frozen Nutella ball and cover with dough, pinching to seal and adding more dough if necessary to completely cover the Nutella. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough and frozen Nutella, spacing cookies about two inches apart. Sprinkle the cookies with flaky sea salt and bake until puffed, which should be about 15 minutes. Let them cool for five minutes before serving.


Melissa Scrivani is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at melissa.scrivani@uconn.edu.