I think dulce de leche has been sadly under-represented on the American Christmas cookie circuit. As this South American wonder is among my favorite foods of all time, I am here to propose we put an end to that.
House Morell is hosting a cookie exchange later this week, and while I contemplated making my Tiny Alfajores or my Salted Alfajores Bars, neither quite inspired visions of sugar plums, or sugar cookies… I just kept seeing visions of Buenos Aires.
But then I came across a gorgeous recipe for Roasted Almond Thumbprints in Bon Appetit. They had filled their bite-sized sugar-crusted gems with colorful jams and curds. But as I had dulce de leche on the brain (admittedly, a near-constant state of mind), I had an Aha moment.
Thumbprints filled with dulce de leche!
Now this little cookie this sings “holiday.” So let me share with you the third addition to the great Christmas cookie binge of 2014 at House Morell…
Dulce de Leche Almond Thumbprints
Adapted, just barely, from a recipe by Alison Roman in Bon Appetit
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups unsalted, roasted almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup coarse sanding or raw sugar
- approximately one cup of dulce de leche
Preheat the oven to 375°.
In a food processor, pulse the flour and roasted almonds until the almonds are very finely ground. Add baking powder and salt and pulse to blend.
In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients; mix just to combine.
Place sanding sugar or raw sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop out dough and roll into balls – I used a generous teaspoon of dough. If dough is sticky, pop the dough in the fridge and chill for 20 minutes. Roll the dough balls in sugar and place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2” apart. Press the balls down with with the bottom of a glass, then using your thumb, make a deep indent in each ball.
Bake cookies until golden, 12–14 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.
Place the dulce de leche in a plastic ziplock bag. Cut off one of the corners of the bag, and use it as a makeshift pastry bag to fill each cookie with a generous dollop of dulce de leche.
Do Ahead: Cookies can be baked (but not filled) 2 weeks ahead; wrap tightly and freeze. Thaw before filling. Cookies can be filled 1 day ahead; store airtight at room temperature.