A Chocolate Caramel Cookie Recipe that is delicious, easy to make and fun to eat! Perfect for the holidays or any time of year!
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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.
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!)
Why We Love Chocolate Caramel 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!
Why are they called thumbprint cookies? These are called thumbprint cookies because usually you make the indent with your thumbprint!
Caramel Chocolate Cookies Ingredients
To make this recipe you'll need
- white sugar
- 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.
How to Make Caramel and Chocolate 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 ½ 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
How to Store Chocolate Caramel Cookies
How long do homemade thumbprint cookies last? : 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 these 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.
Can thumbprint cookie dough be refrigerated overnight? Yes, you can make the dough and keep ahead of time for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies Substitutions
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: Butter is essential to this recipe. We haven't tried it with dairy free butter but it might work!
Sugar: We don't recommend substituting white sugar unless you have to, but White sugar can be used interchangeably with brown sugar. You can add 1 teaspoon of molasses to white sugar to make brown sugar. Check out this post on Sugar Substitutes for Baking for other ideas.
All Purpose Flour: We don't recommend substituting the flour, but you can check out this article on Cake Flour vs. All-Purpose Flour or Substitutions for All-Purpose Flour
Eggs: We don't recommend substituting eggs, but you can read this article on Egg Substitutions for Baking if you need to substitute. Try it at your own risk!
Milk: You can substitute milk with half and half, low fat milk or non dairy milk.
Vanilla Extract: Helps to add flavor, we don't recommend substituting.
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!
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.
How to Serve Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
These chocolate caramel cookies are the perfect treat to enjoy with Hot Chocolate, coffee, or a cup of tea.
They're delicious on their own or on a cookie tray with other treats
How to Gift Caramel Chocolate Cookies
These Caramel cookies are slightly difficult to gift because the caramel will stick when you stack on top of one another. If you are going to stack we recommend using a layer of parchment or wax paper in between them. Cookies like Snickerdoodle Cookies or Pecan Snowball Cookies are better for gifting.
Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies Tips & Tricks
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 Caramel Thumbprint Cookie FAQs
Each chocolate caramel cookie has just under 65 calories per cookie.
Your cookies may have gone flat 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.
Other Delicious Cookie Recipes
Here are some of our favorite dessert recipes. If you need more check out our 30 Healthy Holiday Desserts or Healthy Christmas Recipes
- Pizzelle Cookies
- Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
- Butterscotch Haystacks
- Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- ½ cup salted butter softened to room temp
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup caramel fruit dip
- 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 ½ 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
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