It's officially time to show off your baking skills with these creme brûlée inspired thumbprint cookies!!!
Trust me when I say you will be the talk of the town when you start whipping up these cookies. They're incredibly fancy but require little effort (although that secret is just for you!) and have the most delicious flavor.
I'm sharing this recipe with my friends at Domino® Sugar ! Their Domino® Golden Sugar is the main star of these where its rolled on the cookie, in the custard, and also sprinkled on top! This sugar is less-processed but measures cup-for-cup for white sugar! It has the most beautiful gold color and gives a slight molasses taste to anything you bake it with.
What is a Creme Brûlée Thumbprint Cookie?
What exactly is a creme brûlée thumbprint cookie? To start, a thumbprint is a super popular Christmas cookie that consists of a cookie base, and a filling in the center. Before the cookie is baked, you imprint your thumb into the center for the filling...hence thumbprint cookies!
The most common kind of thumbprint is one that is filled with a jam or jelly. Other options I've seen include some sort of chocolate filling. These cookies however, get some special attention and are filled with a vanilla custard.
Here's what you need to make the creme brûlée thumbprint cookies:
- Domino® Golden Sugar- in the vanilla custard as well as sprinkled on top! It really ties together the chocolate and vanilla flavor with a slight molasses flavor.
- Domino® Dark Brown Sugar- gives our chocolate cookie base a rich flavor and keeps it nice and soft.
- Butter- room temperature, unsalted butter is needed for the cookies. There is also some butter in the custard, which will make it super smooth and creamy.
- Egg- this is what will bind our cookie base together so that it actually forms a cookie in the oven!
- Egg yolk- the yolk is needed for the vanilla custard, it is the thickening agent of the custard and will make it thick enough to pipe into the center of your cookies.
- Cocoa Powder- necessary for a deep chocolate flavor in the cookies. I always used dutch cocoa powder because it is the darkest, richest chocolate flavor and the highest quality.
- Salt- naturally brings out the flavor in chocolate!
- Baking powder and soda- leavening agents needed to help our cookies puff up and also spread JUST slightly.
- Flour- used in the chocolate cookie base as well as the custard. It's a main component of the cookies!
- Milk- the base of the custard. 2% milk works best!
How to Make the Vanilla Custard Filling
Custards are very simple to make once you understand the basics!
- First you want to get a small pot and add ¾ cup of milk. Set aside on the stove.
- Add 1 egg yolk to a small bowl and whisk lightly. Set aside.
- Measure out the flour, salt, and sugar into a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the milk on the stove on medium low, until you just start to see some bubbles around the edges.
- Add the flour, salt, and sugar and whisk to combine it into the milk. Heat gently on medium low for 2 minutes or until you start to see some light bubbles again.
- Very slowly, and whisking constantly, pour ⅓ of the warm milk into the egg yolk. Keep whisking until the egg yolk is combined, then pour it all back into the pot. Keep whisking and place the pot back on the stove. Cook until you start to see bubbles around the edges again.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Remove from the pot and allow to cool completely before using.
The key in making a custard is to not scramble your eggs. This can happen if you add very hot liquid to your cold eggs. The practice of 'tempering' allows us to still add some of the hot liquid, but a small amount and in a way where it gently warms the eggs without scrambling them.
If you do scramble them just a little, you can push your custard a mesh strainer to remove the lumps.
Then use the custard to fill your thumbprint cookies!
Thank you to Domino® Sugar for sponsoring this recipe!
Creme Brûlée Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup Domino® dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 ⅓ cup flour
- Domino® Golden Sugar, for rolling
- ¾ cup 2% milk
- ¼ cup Domino® Golden Sugar, plus more for the top
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch salt
- ½ tbsp butter
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together just until its combined.
- With the mixer running on low, add the room temperature egg and vanilla. Mix until completely combined.
- Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Mix until just combined.
- On a parchment lined baking tray, use a heaping tablespoon to scoop the dough into balls. Roll the balls to make them round then gently press your thumb into the center to flatten the cookie and create the center for the filling. Repeat with all of the dough.
- Pour some of the Domino® Golden Sugar into a small bowl and gently roll each cookie ball completely in the sugar. Place back on the baking tray and freeze for 30 minutes, or until solid.
- Preheat the oven to 375, bake the cookies for 8 minutes, then remove and place on a wire cooling rack. Carefully, use your thumb to re-indent the cookies after they have puffed up in the oven. Allow to cool completely before moving.
Making the Vanilla Custard
- In a small pot, add your milk and set it on the stove.
- Measure out the flour, salt, and sugar into a bowl and set aside. Add your egg yolk to a small bowl and also set aside.
- Heat the milk over medium low just until it starts to bubble around the edges. Then add your flour, salt, and sugar. Whisk to combine. Put it back on the stove and continue heating on medium low just until it starts to bubble, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Gently whisk your egg yolk and while whisking constantly, slowly pour ⅓. of the milk. Whisk until the egg is combined, then slowly pour the egg and milk mixture back into the pot with the rest of the milk. Whisk constantly.
- Place the pot back on the stove and heat on medium low until the edges just start to bubble. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour into a bowl or container and allow to cool before using.
Filling the Cookies
- Fill a small piping bag with the vanilla custard. Cut part of the end of the bag off. Fill the center of each cookie with the custard, then heavily sprinkle the Domino® Golden Sugar on top of the custard. Use a torch to gently melt and caramelize the sugar.
- Keep in the fridge in an air tight container and enjoy!!!