Baking Dorie’s Chocolate-Raspberry Thumbprints

When we cook meals, we usually cook full portions: most recipes are made for 4-6 servings, but even with two of us, it’s convenient to have a day or two of leftovers.

However, I recently have been cooking smaller batches of both dinner and cookies for experimentation. With a dinner recipe, it gives me a second chance to do it better after we see the results the first time. With cookies, I can try out different techniques and ingredients to see if it makes a differences.

Not all recipes can be halved or doubled effectively, though I can’t conclusively say why. Certainly cooking times and container sizes often need to be adjusted as well, but with cookies, it typically works out just fine since most of the action happens in the oven where we have fixed batch sizes anyways.

All of this brings me to this recipe for Chocolate-Raspberry Thumbprints from Dorie. The recipe as written makes 20 cookies, which just seemed like too few. However it also used a 1/4 recipe of her “Do-Almost-Anything-Chocolate cookie dough (chilled).” I thus split the difference and double the recipe so I could use half the dough and make 40 cookies.

The key to scaling recipes up and down is remembering that you’re doing it and adjusting ingredients accordingly. I immediately failed in this by separating 2 eggs, leaving me with 2 egg whites, as the original (but not the halved) recipe demanded.

I separated the egg whites again by carefully pouring out one of them into the mixing bowl. Actually, I poured out most of it, and then had to pour one white back into the bowl. I did manage to recombine the white with the yolk, though, and use that egg for fried rice for lunch.

Dorie warned that the dough would curdle but not to worry. She was right: the dough didn’t seem to come together, and I did think it looked off, but rather than mixing to get it back together, I kept going.

After incorporating the dry ingredients, I noticed there was some flour and cocoa powder left in the bottom of the bowl. I made a big deal a few weeks ago about adjusting my stand mixer, and I thought I would be set for awhile, but it appears that it needs regular updates. Maybe I should leave a clean dime in the bowl as a reminder.

It’s not as dramatic with my poor photography skills and shadow, but you should be able to see the lighter specks in there.

Despite being called thumbprint cookies, Dorie’s first recommendation was actually to use the knuckle of the index finger to make the indentations in the middle of the dough balls. Either way, I was leaving uneven dents, so I didn’t think much about it.

From left to right: scooped, balled, indented, and filled

I was pretty worried that the raspberry jam would bubble and spill out, but it didn’t at all: all of those splotches are where I was clumsy in dropping in the jam.

For fun, I tried using lemon curd as well, which you can see in the three slightly lighter ones at the bottom. Unlike the jam, the lemon curd did bubble over. The middle one also suffered from my poor denting skills and actually leaked out through the bottom.

The chocolate cookie part wasn’t very sweet, so it definitely needed the jam, and since it didn’t bubble over (in fact, it sank a little with the baking), I would suggest filling it as much as possible.

Though maybe if I just wanted the flavor of the jam, I should skip the baking next time and just put a spoon in the jar of jam.

You can find the recipe here, already doubled from the original and halved from the dough recipe just like I did

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