Why did these cookies turn out dry?

Joined Aug 29, 2000
Our 13-year-old nephew is visiting; one of the things he likes to do is to bake and cook with me. He chose a recipe for Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies from Cookies Galore by Jacqueline Bellefontaine.

We mixed up the ingredients, which produced a very crumbly dough. As directed, we refrigerated it- but for several hours, not just the 30 minutes required. When we were ready to bake them, I nuked the still crumbly dough for 15 seconds and got a better consistency- but still crumbly.

Here's the recipe:

2 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white vegetable shortening
Scant 1/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling: 3 ounces semisweet,milk or white chocolate

Melt the chocolate in a microwave or in a gowl set over a pan of hot water. Let cool. (OOPS- we didn't! It was still warm.)
Cream the butter, shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy7. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the flour and mix to form a smooth dough. Let chill 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. (We used parchment.) Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange well spaced on the baking sheet. Press your thumb into the center of each ball to form a well.

Bake for 10 minutes. (They were very, very soft, so I let them go 13 minutes.) Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling, melt the chocolate ina microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of hot water. Spoon or pipe into the center of the cookies and let set.

Makes 24 cookies.
Joined Dec 4, 2001
I don't bake cookies because they never turn out for me. Don't know why; they just don't. However, one thing I do know is that cookies are soft when they come out of the oven. They will firm up as they cool. Maybe the extra 3 minutes dried them out too much??
Joined Jul 28, 2006
I see there is no egg, which would serve as a binder without making the cookies tough. This appears to be more like a shortbread dough.
Joined Oct 23, 2009
i agree some sort of egg needs to be added and depending on how long you left the cookies in the fridge this could have led to the dry out as well.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Thanks for the answers so far. Yes, it's a shortbread recipe with cocoa added. Maybe that's why it's more crumbly? No, I've never made this recipe before. But if I do, I'll take them out at the directed time.

We stored them in a closed container since yesterday. The chocolate filling may have made them seem a bit less dry, but I'm not so sure; neither is my nephew. But they're edible, so my cookie-loving husband and my nephew will polish them off anyway.
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Having just perused hundreds of cookie recipes for Christmas cookies, I did notice that most of the 'thumbprint' type cookies are more of a shortbread dough, almost like the dough of Mexican Wedding Cakes/Russian Teacakes'.

I think that there's no egg because the purpose of the cookie is to hold its shape for the filling of chocolate or jam or whatever you put in there after it's baked. If you add egg, the cookie is going to spread out more, and lose the indentation.

Here's a recipe I've had forever that uses just an egg yolk - give it a try!


1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon butter(softened)
2 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
24 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped

Cream butter, sugar, egg yolk, milk and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Combine flour, cocoa and salt in a separate bowl; gradually add to creamed mixture, stirring until well blended. Cover and chill cookie dough for one hour, or until firm enough to shape into balls.
In a small bowl, lightly beat egg white. Shape chilled dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg white, then roll in chopped nuts. Make an indentation with thumb in center of of each cookie. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes, or until center is just set. Combine the first four filling ingredients in a bowl; mix until smooth. Spoon about 1/4 teaspoon of filling into each warm cookie indentation, and gently press a chocolate kiss in the center.
Joined Oct 19, 2009
Baked them too long mate- hand-shaped cookies need only a few minutes, if you want a chewy texture then Eds advice is sound; much less flour and more BROWN sugar.
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