Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

from 15 votes

Buttery shortbread and velvety ganache join forces in this festive recipe for Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies.

A top down view of chocolate thumbprint cookies

The holiday cookie craze is picking up steam as we head into the final few weeks before Marshmallow Christmas Wreaths become a daily necessity in our house (and Reindeer Marshmallow Pops, too!).

I’ve had thumbprint cookies on my recipe development list for quite some time, but in all honesty, they never really reached the top of my priority list because they just seemed so… plain.

A stand mixer with cookie dough

A cookie base with an indentation filled with chocolate, caramel, fruit preserves or candy. It’s a pretty simple setup.

But often times it’s the simplest creations that are the most striking, both in flavor and presentation.

Cookies with indentations

A classic buttery shortbread cookie base leaves the door wide open for customizations, making that center well a blank canvas for anything you can imagine.

Chocolate chunks with heavy cream

I’m a recent convert to the power of good ol’ ganache. You know, the kind that’s creamy and silky, yet firms up nicely with a lustrous shine?

Shiny ganache with whisk

I’ve continued the trend of simplicity by using semisweet chocolate chips, but you can swap in whatever chocolate chips or chunks you have on hand. A combo of semisweet and bittersweet (a lá the Chocolate Rugelach) would be the perfect balance of sweetness.

Sugar cookies filled with ganache

Just look at that shine! You can check your reflection in those chocolate dollops, and that’s how you know you’re golden.

Top off these Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with any sprinkles that suit the season⁠—check out my Christmas spin on them below! Simple, sweet success.

A top down view of Christmas Thumbprint Cookies

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Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Buttery shortbread and velvety ganache join forces in this festive recipe for Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.94 from 15 votes
A top down view of chocolate thumbprint cookies
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Servings 40 cookies


For the cookies:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the chocolate filling:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Sprinkles, for topping


Make the cookies:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating between each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer, beating just until the dough is combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat baking mats.
  • Scoop out portions of the dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Space the balls 1 inch apart on the baking sheets, then using the back of a measuring spoon (or your thumb), make a deep indentation into each ball.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are pale golden. 
  • Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. (If the indentations have disappeared, make them again while the cookies are still warm.) 
  • While the cookies cool, make the chocolate filling.

Make the chocolate filling:

  • Add the chocolate chips to a medium bowl.
  • In a separate medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the heavy whipping cream, corn syrup and butter. Microwave the mixture until it is steaming, about 1 minute, then pour it over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 5 minutes (without stirring).
  • Whisk the chocolate mixture until it is smooth. (If there are any chocolate chunks remaining, microwave the mixture for 15-second increments until smooth.)
  • Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the chocolate into each indentation and immediately top it with sprinkles. Allow the chocolate to sit until firm and shiny. 
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 114kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 17mg, Potassium: 41mg, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 175IU, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 0.6mg


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    1. Hi there! Yes, the cookies will retain their shine. Store them in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  1. I’ve tried these several times and my cookies keep spreading too much. I tried using butter, tried using margine, tried refrigerating overnight, tried refrigerating different lengths of time, nothing works. Any suggestions? Family really likes but they don’t look nice.

    1. Hi Debbie! Here’s another idea to try: Chill the shaped cookies in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or in the freezer for 1 hour. Let me know how if that helps!

  2. Hello! Just wondering-does the chocolate harden enough that I can put these in a cookie tray to give out with other kinds? Thank you!

  3. Hi there! Just made these…found the taste to be a bit bland. It was a nice cookie, but would have preferred the shortbread base to be sweeter…or possibly use a sweeter chocolate for the ganache.

  4. 5 stars
    My daughters and I made these today for a cookie swap. They came out great- both the taste and the appearance. It took some experimentation of the best way to make the thumbprint. I found the back of the 1/2 tsp. Worked best. Thanks for a great recipe!

      1. I haven’t made this recipe as yet but I’m wondering if I could use 1 tsp of caramel filling topped with 1 tsp of the chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of sea salt?

  5. I wanted to try a small batch and put in a recipe for 20 cookies. The recipe said 0.5 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter. In my head I said 2 sticks seems like an awful lot but I followed the recipe. All the other ingredients decrease the amounts without using the original amounts for 40 cookies. As I was rolling the dough, it was so greasy. Popped them in the oven and 12 minutes later I had one huge mess! Now I will definitely try again using 0.5 cup of butter!

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