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Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

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These Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies are an indulgent treat made from a soft, buttery cookie filled with fudgy homemade chocolate ganache. This is an easy cookie recipe that’s perfect for holiday baking, or to make just because! 

A stack of three chocolate thumbprint cookies with a bite missing from the top cookie.

Classic Chocolate Ganache Thumbprint Cookies

My chocolate thumbprint cookies are a delightful sweet treat that always makes an appearance during the holidays. These are some of the first cookies to disappear from the dessert table every year – they’re seriously impossible to resist!

The base is adapted from my buttery Spritz Cookie recipe, paired with a dark chocolate ganache filling. The combination of chewy, buttery cookie and chocolate literally melts in your mouth. 

I also love how ridiculously easy these cookies are to make. You only need a handful of ingredients, and the cookie dough comes together quickly. Plus, there’s no chilling involved, meaning you can have these thumbprint cookies prepped and in the oven ASAP. 

A stack of chocolate thumbprint cookies decorated with red and green sprinkles.

Why Are They Called Thumbprint Cookies?

Thumbprint cookies get their name from how the cookie dough is shaped. After rolling the dough into a ball, you use your thumb (or in this recipe, a spoon!) to make a small indent on the top of the cookie. 

This little “thumbprint” is then filled with something sweet, traditionally jam, like in my Jam Filled Thumbprint Cookies. However, today we’re changing things up, and filling our cookies with fudgy homemade ganache!

Ingredients You’ll Need

The ingredients for these classic chocolate thumbprint cookies are gloriously basic. Below is an overview of the main ingredients for the buttery cookies as well as the ganache filling. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card further on for the full details:

For the Cookies

  • Butter – I use unsalted butter and bring it to room temperature before I begin. Taking the chill off makes the butter easier to combine, and the cookies also bake more evenly. 
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Egg Yolk – You need just a single egg yolk for the cookie dough, for richness and to help bind the ingredients.
  • Vanilla – I highly recommend using a real, pure vanilla extract for the most authentic flavor.
  • Milk – Whole milk or 2% milk.

For the Filling

  • Dark Chocolate – For an extra-indulgent chocolate ganache, be sure to use good-quality dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (my preference)
  • Heavy Cream – The combination of melted dark chocolate and heavy whipping cream makes up the foundation of most ganache recipes. For the creamiest results, I recommend using full-fat heavy cream. 
  • Sprinkles – Optional, for some festive flair.
The ingredients for homemade chocolate thumbprint cookies.

How to Make Thumbprint Cookies

Preheat the oven while you gather your ingredients and cover a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Next, get started on the cookies: 

Step 1: First, make the cookie dough: Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolk, followed by the vanilla, and then mix in the dry ingredients. Continue to mix until a crumbly dough starts to form. Finally, add the milk and beat until smooth.

Step 2: Portion and dough. I like to use a small cookie scoop to portion out the cookie dough, then I’ll use my hands to roll the balls smooth and place them onto the baking sheet.

Step 3: Press. Once your cookie dough balls are rolled out, use the back of a teaspoon, or your thumb, to gently press a well into the center of each cookie. 

Step 4: Bake. Bake the cookies in batches at 350ºF for 9-11 minutes. Once your thumbprint cookies are out of the oven, give the middles a second press with a spoon while they’re still warm. Then, leave the cookies to rest for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving them over to a wire rack to cool. 

Making the Chocolate Ganache Filling

When your cookies are cooled completely, it’s time to fill them! Preparing the chocolate ganache is quick and easy.

  1. Melt the chocolate: Microwave the dark chocolate with heavy cream in increments, stirring in between. 
  2. Fill the cookies: Once the ganache is smooth, use a spoon to drop the chocolate into the center well of each thumbprint cookie, then let them cool. And if you’re using sprinkles, don’t forget to add them while the ganache is still warm!

Recipe Notes

Here are some additional pointers when making thumbprint cookies:

  • Indent the cookies before AND after baking. After some trial and error, I found this to be the most effective to get the perfect “dip” in the middle of the cookies. If you only press them beforehand, the indent puffs up during baking and doesn’t stay as deep. And if you only press the cookies after baking, the edges of the cookies crack too much.
  • On that note… For best results, make sure you’re using the spoon to press the cookies while they’re still warm and fresh from the oven!
A red plate filled with chocolate thumbprint cookies decorated with sprinkles.

Variation Ideas

These buttery thumbprint cookies are delicious as they are, and they also make the best blank canvas for easy variations! Here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Sprinkle with sea salt. To really enhance the flavor of the chocolate ganache, you can sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a bit of coarse sea salt as they cool.
  • Drizzle with caramel. Kick these chocolate thumbprint cookies up a notch and give them a drizzle with homemade caramel sauce.
  • Change the filling. Swap out the ganache with other variations, like the filling from my Peppermint Cream Thumbprint Cookies.
  • Change the base cookie. Try my Peanut Butter Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies for another easy variation featuring a chewy peanut butter cookie base!
A stack of chocolate thumbprint cookies.

How to Store

These homemade thumbprint cookies are fine to store airtight at room temperature. However, I like to keep mine in the fridge to help keep the ganache from softening up too much. I’ll pull the cookies out 10-15 minutes before serving, and we’re good to go!

Remember that if you’re layering your chocolate-filled cookies when storing, it’s a good idea to separate the layers with a piece of parchment paper. 

Can I Freeze Thumbprint Cookies?

Yes! Make sure you give the chocolate ganache enough time to harden and set completely and then store the thumbprint cookies airtight for freezing. Again, you’ll want to separate single layers with parchment paper to keep the chocolate from sticking. 

Store the cookies in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, and keep them frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw your thumbprint cookies at room temperature before serving.

Print
A red plate filled with chocolate thumbprint cookies decorated with sprinkles.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 9 minutes
  • Total Time: 49 minutes
  • Yield: 18-20 cookies

Description

These Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies are a fun twist made from a buttery cookie filled with homemade chocolate ganache. This is an indulgent and easy cookie recipe that’s perfect on a Christmas cookie plate!

Ingredients

For the Cookies

  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (63g) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups (175g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) milk

For the Filling

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 34 tablespoons (4560 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • Sprinkles for decoration (optional)

Instructions

Make the Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine the butter with the sugar and beat on medium speed until well combined.
  3. Next, add the egg yolk and the vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
  4. Then, add the dry ingredients and beat until the dough starts to form. Add the milk and finish beating until the dough comes together.
  5. Using a small cookie scoop to portion out the dough into balls, then roll each one smooth between your hands. Place on the prepared baking sheet then use a teaspoon to press into the center of the cookie to create a cavity.
  6. Bake one tray at a time for 9-11 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies start to brown. Remove from oven, again use a teaspoon to press into the center of the cookie while it’s still warm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Filling

  1. Once the cookies have cooled, make the ganache. In a microwave-proof bowl, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring frequently until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  2. Spoon the ganache into the center of each cookie. The ganache will harden as it cools. Add sprinkles while the ganache is still warm if desired.

Notes

  • Storing: Once the chocolate has set, these can be kept at room temperature, but I prefer to keep them in the refrigerator and pull them out about 15 minutes before serving. Place a piece of parchment paper between cookie layers to prevent damage to the chocolate.
  • In testing various methods for adding the indentation to the cookies, I found it most effective to do it both before and after baking. If you simply do it after baking, it causes the cookies to crack too much along the edges. If you only do it before baking then the cavity won’t be quite as deep.
  • It’s important to press the teaspoon into the cookies right when they come out of the oven and they’re still warm.
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: thumbprint cookie recipe, easy christmas cookies, easy cookie recipes

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Recipe rating

2 Responses
  1. Annette

    Yay! These look just like a Ghirardelli cookie mix that used to be sold at Aldi at Christmas time. They stopped carrying it and one year put out their own brand but it wasn’t the same. Will definitely be trying this. Everyone loves those cookies!

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