These Latin-inspired chocolate thumbprint cookies with dulce de leche are a delicious and festive way to celebrate the holidays! The cookies are made with a simple chocolate cookie dough, then filled with a delicious dulce de leche and drizzled with a bit of vanilla glaze for an extra special touch; these cookies will impress your friends and family! For more Chocolate-inspired cookies, check out these recipes: Chocolate sugar cookies and double Chocolate Biscotti.
- What Are Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies?
- Brief Highlights Of Our Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies Recipe:
- What are the Origins of the Thumbprint Cookie?
- Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies Ingredients
- Tools you'll need
- How to Make Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- How to Make Vanilla Glaze
- How to Serve
- How to Store
- How to Freeze
- Tips for Making The Best Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- Related Recipes:
- 📋 Recipe
What Are Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies?
Chocolate thumbprint cookies are typically made from rich chocolate cookie dough rolled into balls and then indented with your thumb or a utensil (hence the name "thumbprint"). These indentations are usually filled with various toppings or fillings, such as chocolate ganache, caramel, jam, or nuts, to add flavor and texture to the cookie.
Brief Highlights Of Our Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies Recipe:
- Taste: These chocolate thumbprint cookies are a combination of rich chocolate flavor from cocoa powder and a sweet, customizable filling of your choice. The filling options can range from fruity jams to decadent chocolate ganache, allowing you to tailor the taste to your liking.
- Texture: These cookies have a wonderful consistency - they're soft and slightly chewy on the inside with a crumbly exterior, making for a perfect balance. Your chosen filling adds an extra layer of texture, whether it's gooey caramel, crunchy nuts, or fruity preserves.
- Method: The recipe is easy to follow and involves blending softened butter and sugar, incorporating eggs and vanilla, and mixing in a combination of flour, cocoa powder, and salt. The thumbprint technique creates the signature indentation, and you can get creative with the fillings. The cookies bake perfectly in 10-12 minutes, making them a quick and delicious treat.
What are the Origins of the Thumbprint Cookie?
American thumbprint cookies may have been inspired by the Hallongrotta (raspberry cave), a Swedish cookie made similarly with a raspberry jam filling. Hallongrotta cookies have been served with coffee and tea in Sweden since the 19th century and are a popular Christmas cookie in the United States.
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies Ingredients
Note: The full ingredients list is provided in the recipe card below.
For the Cookies:
- All-Purpose Flour: Provides structure to the cookies.
- Cocoa Powder: Adds a rich chocolate flavor and color to the cookies.
- Baking Powder: Helps the cookies rise and become slightly tender.
- Unsalted Butter: Provides moisture and flavor and helps create a tender crumb.
- Egg and Egg Yolk: Act as binders, contributing to the cookie's structure and providing moisture.
- Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the cookies and contributes to their texture.
- Light Brown Sugar: Adds a subtle caramel flavor and moistness to the cookies.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor of the cookies.
- Kosher Salt: Balances the sweetness and enhances the overall flavor.
- Whole Milk or Water: Adds moisture to the dough and can help adjust the dough's consistency.
- Instant Espresso (Optional): Provides a subtle coffee flavor, enhancing the chocolate flavor.
- Dulce de Leche or Fruit Preserve/Jam: Fills the thumbprint indentation in the cookies, adding sweetness and flavor.
For the Vanilla Glaze:
- Confectioners’ Sugar: Forms the base of the glaze, providing sweetness and thickness.
- Heavy Cream, Evaporated Milk, or Milk: Thins the glaze to the desired consistency and adds creaminess.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor of the glaze, adding a sweet vanilla aroma.
Tools you'll need
- Baking sheets
- Medium bowl
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Dry measuring cups and spoons
- Liquid Measuring Cup
- Parchment paper
How to Make Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Note: The full instructions are provided in the recipe card below.
Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside. (Alternatively, use 280g of self-raising flour in this recipe and leave out the baking powder and salt). In a small cup, combine the milk and instant espresso; set aside. Using a hand or stand mixer with a paddle attachment in a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, pure vanilla extract, zest, and salt quickly until creamy, about 3 minutes. Switch the mixer to medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Beat in the espresso mixture. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed.
Fold in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Cover tightly and chill the cookie dough for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Once firm, roll the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange ½ inch apart on the prepared baking sheets; chill the cookies for at least 15 to 30 minutes in the freezer. Bake chocolate thumbprint cookies for 6 minutes; remove them from the oven and use your thumb to press a slight indentation into the center of each cookie.
Fill each indentation with about a teaspoon of Dulce de leche and return to the oven. Continue baking until cookies are golden brown, about 10 to 24 minutes longer. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing. Store the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
How to Make Vanilla Glaze
Whisk the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Add more liquid to thin out or more confectioners’ sugar to thicken to your desired consistency. Drizzle over-cooled the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies. Enjoy!
- Instant Espresso: If you don't have instant espresso, you can use instant coffee granules or omit this ingredient entirely. The espresso adds a subtle coffee flavor to enhance the chocolate, but the cookies will still be delicious without it.
- Dulce de Leche: While dulce de leche is a wonderful filling, you can also use other fillings of your choice. Some alternatives include raspberry jam, strawberry jam, caramel sauce, peanut butter, Nutella, or even a chocolate ganache.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: If you don't have unsweetened cocoa powder, you can use Dutch-process cocoa powder. Just be aware that Dutch-process cocoa has been treated with an alkaline solution, which might slightly affect the acidity of the recipe.
- Heavy Cream: For the vanilla glaze, you can replace heavy cream with milk or half-and-half if needed. The glaze might be slightly thinner with these substitutions, so adjust the consistency by adding more confectioners' sugar if desired.
- Nuts: If you prefer to omit nuts, you can skip them entirely or replace them with chopped almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts.
- Nutty Delight: Instead of filling the thumbprints with dulce de leche, try filling them with chopped nuts like toasted almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts. You can mix the nuts with some honey or caramel for added sweetness.
- Fruit Filling: Experiment with fruit fillings such as raspberry jam, strawberry jam, apricot preserves, or lemon curd. The tartness of the fruit will provide a nice contrast to the sweet cookie.
- Nut Butter Filling: Fill the thumbprints with your favorite nut butter, such as peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt for a sweet and salty combo.
- Caramel Heaven: Replace the dulce de leche with soft caramel candies or sauce. Sprinkle a pinch of coarse sea salt on top for a delightful salted caramel flavor.
- Chocolate Lovers: Add a chocolate ganache filling to the thumbprints for an extra rich and indulgent treat. You can make the ganache by heating heavy cream and pouring it over chopped chocolate, then stirring until smooth.
- Coconut Crunch: Mix shredded coconut into the cookie dough for a tropical twist. Fill the thumbprints with coconut cream, top with toasted coconut flakes, and drizzle with chocolate.
How to Serve
Serve these delicious Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies by arranging them on a platter or a dessert plate. These delectable treats are perfect for any occasion, whether family gatherings, holidays, or simple afternoon snacks. The cookies have a rich chocolate flavor complemented by the sweet Dulce de Leche filling. The drizzle of vanilla glaze adds a touch of sweetness and a beautiful finishing touch. Enjoy these delightful thumbprint cookies with coffee or a glass of cold milk. They are sure to be a hit with everyone who takes a bite!
How to Store
To store Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with dulce de leche, ensure they are completely cooled before transferring them to an airtight container, placing parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days for the best texture and flavor. If you want to keep them fresh for longer, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. Before serving, allow refrigerated cookies to come to room temperature for optimal taste and texture.
Chocolate Thumbprint cookie dough can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to Freeze
Chocolate Thumbprint cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months: Drop the cookie dough in heaping tablespoons onto a sheet pan, let them set in the freezer until solid, then place them in a freezer bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake directly from frozen, as directed in the recipe, but add 1 to 2 extra minutes to the baking time.
Tips for Making The Best Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- Use Quality Ingredients: Choose high-quality cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and vanilla extract for the best flavor in your cookies.
- Properly Measure Flour: Using a spoon to lightly scoop flour into the measuring cup and then level it off with a flat edge. Avoid compacting the flour, which can lead to dry cookies.
- Chill the Dough: Chilling the cookie dough allows the flavors to meld and the fats to solidify, resulting in a better texture and flavor. Make sure the dough is well-chilled before rolling it into balls.
- Indentation Size: Use your thumb or the back of a teaspoon to create the indentation in the center of each cookie. Ensure it's deep enough to hold the filling without cracking the cookie edges.
- Avoid Overmixing: Mix the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies dough until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Overmixing can lead to tough cookies.
- Consistent Sizes: Use a cookie scoop or spoon to portion the dough into uniform sizes. This ensures even baking and consistent cookies.
- Freeze Before Baking: Fill the dough balls on the baking sheet in the freezer for 15-30 minutes. This helps the cookies hold their shape during baking and prevents excessive spreading.
- Fill After Baking: For a more gooey and visually appealing filling, bake the cookies without the dulce de leche. Once out of the oven and slightly cooled, gently press the centers again and fill them with dulce de leche.
- Drizzle Glaze After Cooling: Allow the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies to cool completely before drizzling with the vanilla glaze. This prevents the glaze from melting and running off the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies.
The cookies turned out dry and crumbly. What could be the cause of this issue?
Dry and crumbly cookies can result from overmixing the cookie dough. When mixing the wet and dry ingredients, be sure to blend them just until combined. Overmixing can develop gluten, making the cookies tough and dry. Also, ensure you don't overbake the cookies; they should be taken out of the oven as soon as they're set but not overdone.
The cookies didn't spread properly in the oven. What might have gone wrong?
If your cookies didn't spread adequately, it could be due to the dough being too cold when placed in the oven. Ensure that the cookie dough balls have had enough time to soften slightly at room temperature before baking. Also, check that your baking powder is fresh and active, as expired leavening agents can affect spreading.
The cookies taste bland. How can I enhance their flavor?
To boost the flavor of your cookies, consider adding more spices like cinnamon or a pinch of salt to enhance the overall taste. You can also experiment with different extracts or flavorings, such as almond or citrus extracts, to add depth of flavor.
My cookies turned out too sweet. What can I do to reduce the sweetness?
If your cookies are overly sweet, you can reduce the granulated sugar in the recipe. Experiment with reducing the sugar to your desired level of sweetness while keeping in mind that sugar contributes to the texture of the cookies.
Can I use different fillings for these thumbprint cookies?
You can certainly use different fillings for your thumbprint cookies. While the recipe suggests dulce de leche or fruit preserve/jam, you can get creative with various fillings like chocolate ganache, Nutella, peanut butter, or caramel sauce.
My glaze is too thin. How can I thicken it?
If your glaze is too thin, gradually thicken it by adding more confectioners' sugar until you achieve the desired consistency. Alternatively, you can allow the glaze to sit for a few minutes to thicken naturally.
The cookies spread too much and merged together during baking. How can I prevent this?
To prevent excessive spreading and merging of cookies, space the cookie dough balls at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Ensure your dough is properly chilled before baking to help maintain the cookie's shape.
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How to Make Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- 200 g all-purpose flour
- 50 g 100% cocoa powder
- 10 g baking powder
- 125 g unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 1 large egg , room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk , room temperature
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 25 g light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons whole milk or water
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso , optional
- 200 g La Lechera Dulce de Leche or any fruit preserve or jam flavor you like
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder and set aside. (Alternately, you can use 280g of self-raising flour in this recipe, and leave out the baking powder and salt).
- In a small cup combine the milk and instant espresso; set aside. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment in a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, pure vanilla extract, zest, and salt on high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Switch mixer to medium speed and add the eggs, one at a time and beat until combined. Beat in the espresso mixture.
- Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed. Fold in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Cover tightly and chill the cookie dough for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Once firm, roll the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange ½ inch apart on the prepared baking sheets; chill the cookies for at least 15 to 30 minutes in the freezer.
- Bake chocolate thumbprint cookies for 6 minutes, remove them from the oven and use your thumb to press a slight indentation into the center of each cookie. Fill each indentation with about a teaspoon of Dulce de leche and return to the oven. Continue baking until cookies are golden brown, about 10 to 24 minutes longer.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing. Store the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
How to Make Vanilla Glaze
- Whisk the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Add more liquid to thin out or add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken to your desired consistency. Drizzle over-cooled the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies. Enjoy!
- Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with Dulce de Leche can be kept airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.