These Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies are a double dose of chocolate and will become your new favorite Christmas cookie. Soft fudgy chocolate cookies are rolled in sugar, baked, and then filled with a rich creamy chocolate ganache. The recipe utilizes Dutch-processed cocoa for an intense chocolate flavor, while the turbinado sugar adds a delightful crunch to the exterior. They're the perfect Christmas cookies to share with friends and family.
- Here's Why You Love This Recipe
- Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Ingredients
- How to Make Thumbprint Cookies
- How to Make the Chocolate Ganache
- How to Assemble the Cookies
- How to Store the Cookies
- Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
- If You Like This Cookie Recipe, Try These Recipes
- Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Here's Why You Love This Recipe
Rich Chocolate Flavor: The combination of Dutch-processed cocoa and bittersweet chocolate ensures an intense and satisfying chocolate flavor that will elicit oohs and aahs from your family.
Soft and Chewy Texture: The butter and brown sugar in the cookie dough create a soft and chewy texture that melts in your mouth.
Gooey Chocolate Ganache: The chocolate ganache filling is rich, decadent, and perfectly complements the buttery fudgy cookie base.
Easy to Make: This recipe is easy to make thanks to its straightforward instructions and readily available ingredients. You'll be guided through a step-by-step process that ensures every cookie emerges from the oven with a perfect balance of softness and chewiness.
If you love chocolate, especially for the holidays, check out my other cookie recipes including Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies and Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Cookie. And for a chewy chocolatey cookie any time of the year try my Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies made with browned butter.
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for these delicious chocolate cookies:
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour: The flour provides the structure for the cookie
- Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder: The cocoa is the source of the deep chocolate flavor of this cookie. This cocoa has a fat content of 22% so it helps produce a chewy, chocolate cookie. Do not use natural cocoa such as Hershey's cocoa for this recipe.
- Dark Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness, and the subtle flavor of molasses to the cookies. The brown sugar also gives the cookie a chewy texture.
- Unsalted Butter: The butter adds flavor and tenderness to the cookies. Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt.
- Large Eggs: The eggs add fat and moisture and bind the dough together. Large eggs weigh 50 grams each, so if using different-sized eggs make sure to weigh them before adding them to the recipe.
- Ground Cinnamon: The cinnamon complements the chocolate. You can also use the same amount of instant espresso.
- Kosher Salt: Salt enhances the other flavors in the cookie.
- Bittersweet or Semi-Sweet Chocolate: This chocolate is used for the chocolate ganache filling of the chocolate thumbprint cookies. I prefer semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, but you can also use milk chocolate or Nutella if you want a sweeter filling.
- Heavy Cream: The cream is combined with chopped chocolate or chocolate chips to make the ganache filling.
Full ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Thumbprint Cookies
This cookie recipe is made in a food processor, but it can also be made in a stand mixer. The recipe card contains instructions for both methods.
This recipe works best if you weigh the dry ingredients before adding them to the food processor. Weighing the ingredients ensures that you're not adding too much flour or too much cocoa which will produce a dry crumbly cookie.
Step 1: Place flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in the food processor and process for about 30 seconds to ensure that all the ingredients are well combined.
Step 2: Add the cold cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles large bread crumbs. If there are any large pieces of butter process until the pieces are more uniform in size.
Check the bottom of the bowl to make sure that there are no white bits of flour. If there is any flour, take a spatula and scrape the flour out of the edges of the work bowl, which is where it tends to settle.
Step 3: Beat the eggs in a measuring cup and with the food processor running slowly pour the eggs into the food processor.
Step 4: Process the dough until it starts to come together and forms a ball of dough.
Step 5: Form the dough into balls weighing 25 grams each which is equilavent to about 4 teaspoons of dough. You can use a kitchen scale to weigh out the dough.
A #50 cookie scoop can also be used to measure out the dough. This size scoop holds about 23 grams of dough. Place the balls of cookie dough on a board or baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
Quick Tip: The dough is sticky, so coat your hands with flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands as you roll the dough into balls.
Step 6: Roll the balls of dough in demerara or turbinado sugar.
Step 7: Use the back of a round 1-teaspoon measuring spoon to press a round dent into the cookie.
A teaspoon measuring spoon creates a nice even well, but you can also use your thumb or a bottle cap.
Step 8: Chill the cookies for 45 minutes before baking. At this point, you can also freeze the cookies and bake them later.
Step 9: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a half-baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and place 12 cookies on the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
Step 10: Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven and while they're still hot use the same teaspoon to press down the center of the cookies.
Bake all the cookies and let them cool completely before filling them with the ganache.
The goal is to have soft fudgy cookies. But it's easy to overbake these cookies so I recommend doing a test bake since baking times can vary by oven.
To do a test bake place 4 cookies on the cookie sheet and bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cookie rack.
Taste the cookie. It should have a fudgy consistency but firm enough to pick up. If the cookie falls apart with you pick it up add 2 minutes to the baking time.
How to Make the Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate ganache is incredibly easy to make. There are only two ingredients:
- Bittersweet Chocolate
- Heavy Cream
This ganache is made with equal amounts (by weight) of chocolate and heavy cream, so it will hold its shape after it's piped onto the cookie.
Chop a chocolate bar into pieces or use Ghirardelli chocolate chips and place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
Heat the cream over medium-high heat but don't let it boil. Heavy cream can quickly boil over, so don't walk away from the saucepan.
Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Slowly whisk the cream and chocolate together until all the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Let the ganache cool until it's about 77-80°F (25-27°C). At this temperature, the chocolate will hold its shape when piped or spooned into the cookie center.
How to Assemble the Cookies
Spoon or pipe about 2 teaspoons of ganache filling into the center of each cookie. If the ganache becomes too stiff for piping microwave it in 5-second bursts stirring every 5 seconds until it reaches the right temperature.
Once the cookies are filled, they are ready to enjoy.
How to Store the Cookies
Unfilled Cookies. Store the unfilled cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Filled Cookies. Store the filled cookies at room temperature for 2 days in an airtight container. Because of the amount of sugar in the ganache, it's safe to store it at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Use a kitchen scale to weigh the flour and cocoa. Adding too much flour is the most common mistake and will result in cookies that crack or are dry. Not enough flour will cause the cookie to go flat when it bakes.
- Use unsalted butter for this recipe. It makes it easier to control the amount of salt.
- Chill the dough, which will help the cookies maintain their shape when baking.
- Let the cookies cool completely before adding the chocolate ganache filling.
- Don't add unbaked cookies to a warm cookie sheet. Cool the cookie sheets completely before adding the next batch of cookies. Placing cookie dough on warm sheet pans will cause the cookie to start to soften and you may lose the defined shape of the cookie.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
I have not tested this recipe using natural cocoa. While Hershey's cocoa is one of my favorite ingredients, it has less fat than Dutch-processed cocoa and may result in a cookie that is dry and cracks easily.
If your thumbprints are flat after baking, it is possible that the ratio of flour and cocoa to butter ratio is off. If there is too much butter in comparison to the dry ingredients the cookies will spread. Make sure you weigh the ingredients.
Yes, you can freeze thumbprint cookies. To freeze the cookies, take them all the way up to the point where a dent is pressed into the cookie. Freeze them on a baking tray in a single layer for 24 hours. Once frozen place them in a freezer bag. Bake them directly from the freezer.
You can use strawberry or raspberry jam for the filling if you want a fruity filling.
If you make these delectable fudgy chocolate thumbprint cookies please leave a rating and a comment below.
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If You Like This Cookie Recipe, Try These Recipes
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- 2-1/4 cups (281 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (90 grams) dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 cup (200 grams) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 16 tablespoons (227 grams) unsalted butter, cold cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 large (100 grams) eggs
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) turbinado or demerara sugar
- 1-1/2 cups (188 grams) toasted chopped pecans
- 1 ( 30 grams) large egg white
- 12 ounces (340 grams) bittersweet chocolate chopped or chocolate chips
- 12 ounces (340 grams) heavy cream
For Both Methods
- Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch cubes and refrigerate it until ready to add to the dry ingredients.
Food Processor Method
- Place the flour, cocoa, dark brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor. Process the dry ingredients for 20 seconds until the dry ingredients are well combined.
- Add the cubed butter and pulse the dough 25-30 times until it’s crumbly and resembles large bread crumbs. Do not let it form into a ball. Beat the eggs in a glass measuring cup and with the food processor running, slowly stream in the beaten egg, just until the dough starts to come together and forms a ball of dough.
- The dough will be a little sticky. Use a kitchen scale to weigh out 25-gram pieces of dough and form the dough into balls. You can also use a #50 cookie scoop to measure out the dough. You may need to occasionally lightly flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking too much.
Stand Mixer Method
- Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and ground cinnamon in the bowl of the stand mixer. With the paddle attachment mix the ingredients on low speed for 30 second until they are well combined.
- Add the cubed butter to the other ingredients. Mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs and there are no large pieces of butter, about 7 minutes. Add both eggs and mix on low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and starts to form a ball.
- Repeat the steps above for shaping the dough into balls.
- The cookies can be rolled in either turbinado sugar or chopped pecans. You can also leave the cookies plain if that’s your preference.
- Roll the dough balls in the turbinado sugar and place them on a sheet pan or board lined with parchment paper.
- If rolling them in the chopped pecans, brush them with egg white and then roll the cookie in the nuts. The egg white helps the nuts stick to the cookie dough. Place the cookies on a sheet pan or board lined with parchment paper.
- Whether rolling in sugar or nuts, use the back of a rounded teaspoon measuring spoon to create a dent in the cookie. Chill the unbaked cookies for 45 minutes.
- At this point the unbaked cookies can also be frozen. Freeze the cookies in a single layer on a sheet pan or board. When the cookies are frozen place them in a freezer storage bag. Bake the cookies directly from the freezer.
Make the Chocolate Ganache
- While the cookies are chilling, make the ganache. Chop the chocolate into 1/4-inch pieces and place it into a medium-sized bowl. In a saucepan heat the cream over medium heat just until bubbles form around the edges of the cream and steam starts to rise from the surface of the cream.
- Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Let the mixture sit undisturbed for 1 minute. Slowly stir the mixture with a whisk until all the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.
- Cool the ganache until it reaches a temperature of about 77-80°F (25-27°C). At this point, it will be solid enough to pipe or spoon into the middle of the cookie.
Bake the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Place 15 cookies on a half-baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until they are slightly firm. If baking the cookies straight from the freezer, you may need to add 2 minutes to the baking time.
- Remove the cookies from the oven, and immediately take the same teaspoon and press the center of the cookie to reset the indent. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes and then place them on a cooling rack.
Assemble the Cookies
- Place the ganache in a piping bag with #805 Wilton tip. With the cookies on a flat service pipe a dollop of the ganache into the center of the cookie just until it rises above the edge of the cookie.
- Store the filled cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature and then in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
- Unfilled cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week.