Dense, chewy, chocolate-rich, and salty, these thumbprints satisfy. Thankfully, given their dainty one- to two-bite size, one can indulge in two, even three cookies without feeling like you, well, overindulged.
Rolling, shaping, and filling these cookies takes a little bit of time, but probably less than you assume they will. Both the dough and ganache are simple to make, and the more time-consuming steps feel almost meditative, rather than frustrating.
One small warning: the ganache remains slightly malleable even after firming up, so if you can avoid it, don't stack these cookies in a tin; if you must, layer with parchment paper for slightly less-messy results. For this reason, they're perhaps best for when you're hosting, versus toting to work or a friend's house.
The seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean can be substituted for the vanilla bean paste. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days. For the dough: For the ganache:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
The seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean can be substituted for the vanilla bean paste. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.
For the dough:
For the ganache: