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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Dessert

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Buttery shortbread and velvety ganache join forces in this festive recipe for Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies.
4.92 from 12 votes
A top down view of chocolate thumbprint cookies
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 52 mins
Servings 40 cookies

Ingredients 

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

Instructions 

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!

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Nutrition

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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Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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!

    1. Hi Karen! The ganache will definitely set but it’ll still have a little tackiness to it, so it’s not super hard, more like a chewy chocolate. You can definitely stack these!

  4. I love these cookies, my family loves these cookies. They are a favorite now. We tried with chocolate, with raspberry, with chocolate and raspberry. Thank you for posting!!

  5. 5 stars
    I made these yesterday and they are fantastic! I used sprinkles before baking and they look gorgeous. I may try using a pastry bag for the chocolate next time. Thank you for the recipe. I was going to care package some to my kids, but it’s too hot in my area to mail them. Can I freeze some?

    1. Hi Carol – I’ve never tried freezing them so I’m not sure what the taste/texture would be like once thawed.

  6. 5 stars
    Tasty! I like the addition of the cream to the filling. Other recipes only have melted chocolate and butter, which makes it harder when it cools. So yours wins!
    I think they look prettier if you roll the dough balls in the sprinkles before baking, instead of putting the sprinkles on top of the filling at the end. Then the cookie part of it is jazzed up with sprinkles and makes a nice contrast to the shiny ganache filling.

    1. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Jen! And I love the idea of rolling the cookie dough in the sprinkles prior to baking!

  7. I don’t have whipping cream, can I use something else? I do have whipped cream. Help I really want to make today and there is an ice storm happening outside right now!

    1. Hi Bonnie! You can make your own heavy cream by combining 2/3 cup of whole milk with 1/3 cup melted butter. However, I haven’t used that substitution in this recipe so I can’t say for certainty what the results will be.

    1. Hi Karen – It’s hard to say what might cause flat cookies. Is your baking powder fresh? And did you refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes prior to baking?

  8. 5 stars
    I changed up the sprinkles for valentines day and did half in white chocolate and half chocolate. Huge hit thanks so much!!!

  9. Hello! I would like to make the chocolate Thumprint cookies for a party. How many days ahead can I make them and where shall I keep them?
    Thank you,
    Maria

  10. 5 stars
    These are just gorgeous. Great for adults and kids, visitors and guests. If they’re not all being eaten straight up, don’t add fillings, just place cookies in an airtight container and keep away from heat and light for about a week. Then when needed, put the fillings in. I used different fillings, jam, coconut cream icing and lemon cream icing. Delicious!!!!