These delicious thumbprint butter cookies are topped with a chocolate candy, making them look similar to brown-eyed Susan flowers, hence the name. Portions of the simple cookie batter—made with butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and flour—are rolled into balls, placed on the baking sheet, and then topped with chocolate candies. In this recipe, a chocolate kiss is used to push the dough ball flat while on the baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the flour.
Cover and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 400 F. Shape the cookie dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
Place a chocolate kiss on each cookie, pushing down to flatten the dough.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until cookie is light golden and chocolate is soft.
Cool cookies on the pan for 2 minutes, then transfer individual cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store cooled cookies in an airtight container with waxed paper or parchment paper between the layers.
You may come across other recipes for brown-eyed Susan cookies where the chocolate candy is melted and spread onto the cookie, or instead of a chocolate candy, the center is filled with chocolate frosting.
In addition to the flavors and ingredients, cookies are distinguished by how the dough is used, whether it is simply spooned onto the baking sheet or molded into a shape. Thumbprint cookies are considered a type of molded cookie, where the dough is shaped by hand into a ball and then flattened with an indent in the center. Molded cookies can also be rolled into logs or crescents, as well as other shapes. Drop cookies, also known as scooped cookies, are the most basic type of cookie to make. Using a tablespoon or teaspoon—or a cookie dough scoop, which is like a mini ice cream scoop—the batter is dropped onto the prepared pan and then baked.
Another easy cookie method is the slice-and-bake cookie. The dough is formed into a log, chilled, and then sliced into rounds. Each round is placed on the baking sheet to result in a circle-shaped cookie. To use cookie cutters to create different shapes, you need to make a rolled dough; the cookie dough is rolled out using a rolling pin and then cut into shapes using cookies cutters or a knife. You can also make decoratively shaped cookies, called pressed cookies or spritz cookies, with a cookie press or pastry tube; the dough is pushed through resulting in intricately detailed cookies.
If you don't have time to make individual cookies, then bar cookies are the answer. The dough is spread in a rectangular or square pan and baked; it is then cut into bars, hence their name. Most drop cookie recipes can be baked as bar cookies.