Want a Hanukkah dessert that doesn't involve deep-frying and jelly-filling yeast-raised dough? These Chocolate Gelt Thumbprint Cookies are proof that sufganiot (jelly doughtnuts) aren't the only game in town!
Oats and cinnamon enhance the easy-to-prepare cookie dough, which makes a delicious frame for the candy coins. When the holiday is over, you can use the same recipe to make traditional jam thumbprints, or even plain oat cookies.
Tips: Should you add the chocolate before or after you bake the cookies? The answer depends on the coins you choose. If your gelt has embossed images (say, of a Chanukiyah), pressing the gelt onto the cookies after baking helps ensure the embossed pictures on the coins remain visible. That's especially true if you're using milk chocolate coins, which melt more quickly while baking. However, the cookies are a little more prone to crumbling if you add the chocolate after they're baked.
I tested the recipe a few ways: adding the chocolate before baking, a few minutes before they were done, and afterwards. The first option was easier, because the dough is easier to mold around the coin, and less prone to breakage. The downside is that the heat of the oven melts the chocolate a bit, so the coins will look less glossy, and the images won't be as sharp.
Adding the chocolate coins after baking (as described in the instructions below) preserves the images, but take care to add apply light, even pressure while pressing the gelt onto the cookies to prevent breaking the cookies or coins.
(Adding the coins midway through baking didn't offer a perceptible benefit, and was more trouble than it was worth.)
Incidentally, the chocolates that looked best no matter when they were added were the artisan-crafted Gelt for Grownups coins from Veruca Chocolates. They're a splurge, but you won't have to peel wrappers. And you'll have cookies gorgeous enough for gifting!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup oats (old fashioned rolled oats)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (sea salt or kosher salt)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter (unsalted, or coconut oil, softened to room temperature)
- 1/3 cup oil (neutral oil, such as canola, avocado, or grapeseed)
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 24 to 28 pieces chocolate Hanukkah gelt (milk or dark chocolate coins, unwrapped)
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
3. In another large bowl, or using a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter or coconut oil until smooth. Add the oil, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
4. Add the flour-oat mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well to fully incorporate the dry ingredients.
5. Break off walnut-sized pieces of dough and roll them into balls between your hands. Flatten slightly into discs, and place on the prepared cookie sheets.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cookies are set, the surfaces are dry and the bottoms are slightly golden.
7. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on their trays for 1 to 2 minutes. Gently press a piece of chocolate gelt into the top of each cookie. (Be careful not to press too hard, or the cookie will crumble. The chocolate will should adhere even if you press gently, as the warmth of the cookie will melt it slightly.) Let the cookies cool for 1 to 2 minutes more, then use a spatula to transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy!