This is probably the BEST cookie I have EVER made.
I would save them for last but that would be cruel - you can't live without them that long. You need time to make them at least a few times before Christmas - once to try them, another for goodies to give away because your family snarfed the whole first batch, and at least one more because you're constantly bombarded with requests for more. This is no-doubt, hands-down, going into my rotation of regular cookies.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
2 T milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecans, chopped fine
14 soft caramel candies
3 T heavy cream
1. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on med-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Refrigerate dough until firm, at least 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment. Whisk egg whites in bowl until frothy. Place pecans in another bowl. One at a time, roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each ball. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, microwave caramels and cream in bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from oven, gently press existing indentation again with teaspoon measure. Fill each with 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
Makes about 2 dozen (not nearly enough!)