Oh my goodness, these decadent caramel chocolate thumbprint cookies will be the highlight of your Christmas cookie tray.
I love the holiday season and all the baking that it entails. My mom used to make a few batches of cookies with us every year, and then arrange them beautifully on a tray and give them to friends and family.
Every year, I like to make a new cookie to add to my repertoire. In the past, I’ve shared recipes for:
- Eggnog cookies
- Sugar cut out cookies that actually hold their shape (these are super popular and receive such amazing feedback…because they actually hold their shape)
- Dark and stormy oatmeal cream pie cookies
- 5 ingredient toasted pecan snowballs
- Cranberry bliss cookies
- Smores cookie cups
- Chocolate dipped hazelnut sandwich cookies
This year, I’m making caramel chocolate thumbprint cookies. Thumbprint cookies are great because you really feel like you’re involved in the process, you’re creating a little thumbprint well that you fill with caramel for each cookie.
Years ago, I got a magazine called ‘100 best cookies’ and caramel thumbprints were the #1 recipe, I saved the recipe, modified it slightly and am sharing it with some tips today.
How to make caramel for cookies:
I’ve found that to get soft and chewy caramel for cookies, you melt caramel squares with sweetened condensed milk. The mixture of sweetened condensed milk and caramel squares makes for the smoothest, softest caramel which is perfect for cookies (it doesn’t get hard and won’t break your teeth when trying to bite into a caramel cookie).
How to make caramel chocolate thumbprint cookies:
To make chocolate thumbprint cookies, there are a few steps. Although a little time consuming, these cookies are rich and super delicious, definitely worth it. You start by making a chocolate dough, then you form the dough into balls and coat them with chopped hazelnuts (you could leave off the nuts if you’d prefer). Press a thumbprint into each cookies and bake them. Then while the cookies are baking, you make a caramel sauce which will fill the thumbprint you made. The last step is drizzling chocolate over the cookies.
Two other tips for making chocolate caramel thumbprints:
- If adding nuts, make sure to chop them up really finely, I suggest running them through the food processor
- You can substitute 1/2 cup caramel apple dip for the caramels and sweetened condensed milk, microwave for 20 seconds before using.
I hope you enjoy these incredibly delicious Christmas cookies! I’d love to hear from you in the comments: what is your favorite Christmas cookie?
Other recipes you might enjoy:
- 5 Ingredient Tuxedo Chip Cake Mix Cookies
- Chocolate Rolo Stuffed Crinkle Cookies Recipe
- Big Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies (made with real cranberries)
Caramel Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
- 1 egg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup butter softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or you could use pecans or walnuts
- 16 caramels unwrapped
- 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk or you could use heavy whipping cream instead
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
- 1 teaspoon shortening
- Separate egg; place yolk and white in separate bowls. cover and chill egg white until needed. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl. Beat in egg yolk, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour mixture on low speed until combined. cover and chill for about 1-2 hours or until dough is easy to handle.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet; set aside.
- Lightly beat the reserved egg white. Place hazelnuts in a small bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls using a small cookie scoop. Roll balls in egg white, then in hazelnuts to coat. Place balls 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Press you thumb into the center of each ball. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are firm. If cookie centers puff during baking, re-press with the back of a spoon.
- For filling, in a small heavy saucepan cook and stir caramels and sweetened condensed milk (or heavy whipping cream over low heat until mixture is smooth. Set aside.
- Spoon filling into the indentation in each cookie. transfer to a wire rack; cool. (If necessary, reheat filling to keep it spoonable. )
- In another small saucepan cook and stir chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat until melted; cool slightly. Drizzle cookies with melted chocolate. Let stand until set.