A few weeks ago, Dee wrote in with a question about a simpler method for making stuffed cookies. You see, she loved the theory of the flavor combinations, but the practice of the stuffing was a little challenging, especially for a beginning baker.
I suggested that an alternative method to stuffing would be making thumbprint cookies. That way, you'd get the same kind of flavor play and texture sensation you would get with the stuffed version.
But Dee has a really, really good follow-up question about adapting the filling for a stuffed cookie so that you can use it as the filling for a thumbprint version of that cookie. She took a look at the recipe for my Sin-a-Buns Cookies, the very first thumbprint I made, and noticed that the filling I used was a slurry of melted cinnamon chips, milk, and other ingredients and wasn't as thick as the fillings I use for stuffed cookies:
That's an idea...!!! I didn't even think to do that. However, the Nutella is not slurry, right. Do I need to make it slurry like the cinnamon fillings for the Sin-a-Buns? How will the Nutella look like after you bake it? Won't it be melting?
Thanks again, and yes, I am very new to baking, and it has been a very messy but fun process... =)
Hi again, Dee. That's a very astute observation and an excellent question! You're absolutely right. The fillings for my thumbprint cookies are a lot less viscous than the fillings for my stuffed cookies.
Thumbprint fillings don't need to be thick because you spoon them into their final "baking space," which means you don't have to manipulate them that much. Thumbprint fillings can be made of jelly, pudding, or even a slurry of stuff you pull from the cupboard. When they bake, the filling centers will solidify--kind of like how a cheesecake goes into the oven a liquid and comes out a solid. So, in other words, wet thumbprint fillings are A-OK. But a stuffed cookie filling, which is much denser, will likely dry out too much while baking because it's not fully encased in a protective cookie shell.
Stuffed fillings are another story. They need to be thick because the stuffing process requires some manual labor. You need a filling that will sit still as you wrap the two dough ball halves around it and then pinch and roll the halves' seams together. It would be a lost cause even to try using a thumbprint filling in a stuffed cookie because you'd end up with not much more than a sticky mess and a chorus of screeched cusses echoing throughout the neighborhood. Yeah...unless your masochist, don't even think about trying this.
So. After all that preamble jibber jabber, here's what I think you should do (drum roll please). For a thumbprint version of my Nutella-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies, thin out the 1/2 cup Nutella filling with 1/4 cup warm milk and 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil. Mix together until everything is smooth, and then you're good to go.
Thanks again, Dee. I hope this helps, and happy baking!