A Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookie Recipe that is delicious, easy to make and fun to eat! Perfect for the holidays or any dessert!
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Imagine if the edges of a brownie got pressed into a cookie and filled with caramel.. that’s what these Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints taste like! Chocolate goes well with pretty much ANYTHING, but especially caramel.
Why we love Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
These little thumbprint cookies are a holiday staple in our house, and for good reason.
- They’re made with only 8 ingredients
- They’re crispy on the edges but soft and caramel filled in the center
- The flavor of the chocolate and caramel combo is out of this world
- They’re SO easy to make!
My gram has been making these thumbprint cookies for as long as I can remember. They’re perfect for the holidays or really any time! (Especially when paired with Healthy Hot Chocolate!)
Ingredients for Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
To make this recipe you’ll need
- salted butter
- egg yolk
- vanilla extract
- all purpose flour
- cocoa powder
- caramel dip.
- You can also use colored chocolate for drizzling. We use this bundle of holiday colored chocolate.
We’ve included some substitutions below but unfortunately, this recipe is not easy to make a ton of swaps with!
How to make Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
It is so easy to make caramel thumbprint cookies!
- In a bowl combine softened butter, sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and egg yolk. Gradually add flour and cocoa powder until a thick dough forms. Important: This cookie dough must be chilled for an hour before baking.
- When ready to bake, roll into 1/2 tablespoon balls. Make an indent in the center of the cookies.
- Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
- As soon as cookies come from the oven, re-press the center of the cookies to make an indent as they will rise.
- Fill the indention with caramel and return to the oven until the caramel spreads and is smooth on top.
Optional but super cute: when cooled – drizzle with red and green chocolate
Tips for the best Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies:
These cookies are pretty simple to make but here are a few tips for you!
Indents: Be GENTLE when pressing into the cookies to prevent them from cracking. Use your thumb, or if you want more uniform indents use the back of a teaspoon or the bottom handle of a wooden spoon to get perfect indents. These cookies DO rise, so you need to make an indent before baking, and again after they have baked. Making the indents twice vs only doing it at the end helps to avoid the cookies breaking.
Prevent Cookies from Spreading/Cracking: It is necessary to chill your dough for one hour to prevent the cookies from spreading and cracking. If the cookies crack when you make your indents, just gently fix them.
Fixing your cookies: This dough is pretty easy to fix. If your cookies start to crack, just fix them gently before baking. If you spill caramel when filling them, just wipe it away with a damp napkin before putting them back in the oven to have the caramel melt!
Measure your ingredients correctly – It is super important to measure your ingredients correctly, specifically the flour! Check out this tutorial on how to measure flour correctly.
Watch when baking! These go from perfectly cooked to burnt quickly and it’s hard to tell because they’re brown.
Heat the caramel: Heating the caramel for 10 seconds in the microwave makes it easier to handle/fill the cookies
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie FAQ
Your cookies may have spread because of the temperature of the butter. Fat makes baked goods spread. Try putting your dough in the refrigerator for an hour before baking/rolling to avoid cookies spreading.
No! Do not bake the cookies with the caramel in them. It may cause them to burn. For this recipe, you bake the cookies plain with an indent in them, remove, fill and place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes so the caramel melts.
Yes, you can make the dough and keep ahead of time for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Storing Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies:
Storing: We recommend storing these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. These cookies do stick together if stacked on top of one another, so we recommend storing them in shallow containers and avoiding stacking on one another.
How long can you keep thumbprint cookies? Up to 2 weeks if stored correctly. These cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks (if you don’t eat them all before then!)
Can you freeze thumbprint cookies? Yes, you can! Freeze in an airtight container or ziploc bag for up to 3 months for maximum freshness. We don’t love to freeze these cookies because the caramel can get a bit funny in texture when frozen, but it can be done.
Do cookies with caramel need to be refrigerated? These cookies only have a tiny bit of jam so they do not need to be refrigerated. Sandwich cookies or cookies with a lot of caramel should be kept in the refrigerator, but thumbprint cookies are fine to stay at room temp.
Substitutions for chocolate caramel cookies:
We usually love to provide you with substitutions for our recipes -but sadly can’t provide many substitutions for this recipe. It only has 5 ingredients and is really intended to be made as is!
Chocolate Thumbprint Recipe: We haven’t tried making this recipe with chocolate in the center but I think it would work. Typically those cookies are made with a chocolate ganache. Here’s a link to a chocolate thumbprint cookie recipe.
Jam: If you are looking for a jam thumbprint cookie, check out this Thumbprint Cookies recipe. You can make them with any jam you like- Strawberry, Apricot, Blueberry, or even Lemon Curd would all be delicious!
Toppings: I’ve seen some people make their cookies with crushed nuts or sea salt on top – I’m sure this would be delicious! We use this bundle of holiday colored chocolate to top the cookies
Butter: We always use salted butter when baking. You can sub unsalted butter and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Gluten Free: We haven’t tried making these gluten free, but I think it might work with 1:1 flour. If you try it, let us know.
Butter/Sugar: We can’t offer substitutions for butter or sugar in this recipe. I don’t recommend swapping with any ingredients.
Cocoa: This recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa powder. Do not use hot chocolate mix in place of cocoa powder.
Caramel: You can use any caramel you like in this recipe. We use caramel fruit dip, but I bet homemade caramel would also be delicious!
Other delicious dessert recipes:
Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookie
- IMPORTANT: This dough must be chilled to prevent the cookies from spreading!
- Beat sugar, milk, butter, egg yolk + vanilla
- Add in flour and cocoa until combined.
- Chill the dough for 1 hour.
- When ready to bake, roll balls in 1/2 tablespoon increments.
- Make indent in center of cookies using your thumb or the back of a teaspoon
- Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350 for 10-12 minutes. We put 12 cookies on a standard sheet but they don't spread very much
- As soon as cookies come from oven, re-press the center of the cookies to make an indent as they will have risen. Fill the indention with caramel and return to the oven for 1-2 minutes until the caramel spreads and is smooth in the center
- Optional: When cooled – drizzle with red and green chocolate