These flavorful thumbprint cookies are inspired by my 9-month-old twin sons’ favorite “dessert:” dried Turkish apricots, simmered in water, and then pureed along with almonds or other nuts. The cookie is rich and chocolatey, the apricot filling tangy, earthy, and subtly sweet. Crunchy pistachio pairs nicely, and adds vibrant color. To thin out the apricot puree, I added apple cider; feel free to try substituting orange or other fruit juices.
Chocolate, Pistachio, and Apricot Thumbprint Cookies
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk (set aside egg whites for coating)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup pistachios, coarsely ground
1 cup dried apricots (I used Turkish apricots)
1 cup water
½ cup apple cider
Prepare the dough: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in egg yolk and vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in salt and then flour until just incorporated.
Prepare the filling: In a covered saucepan, bring apricots and water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until apricots are soft and have absorbed most of the water. Remove from heat and let cool. Place apricots and apple cider in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, and puree until smooth. There will be a lot leftover; refrigerate and use in other desserts (it would work great in any recipe that calls for jam) or eat as a snack.
Shape and coat the cookies: Place coarsely ground pistachios on a plate or in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir egg whites with a fork. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of dough, and roll into balls. Coat with egg whites and then roll in pistachios. Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake and fill: Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and create indentations in each cookie using your thumb. Fill each indentation with apricot mixture. Sprinkle a little salt on top of the cookies. Bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool, and store in an airtight container.
Yields approximately 12 cookies