These Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies are a double dose of chocolate. Soft chocolate thumbprint cookies are rolled in sugar or nuts, whichever you prefer, and then filled with a rich chocolate ganache. They're the perfect Christmas cookie to share with friends and family.
- Why This Recipe Tastes So Good
- Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Ingredients
- How to Make Thumbprint Cookies
- How to Bake the 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 Love This Recipe Try These
- Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Why This Recipe Tastes So Good
Thumbprint cookies are a class Christmas cookie. They're easy to make and the best thumbprint cookies are soft in the center with a little crunch on the outside.
This recipe is based on the classic thumbprint cookie recipe which is usually filled with raspberry jam, but I've added my own twist by adding dutch-processed cocoa to the dough which produces a deep chocolate flavor and filling them with creamy chocolate ganache. They're rolled in nuts or turbinado for a crunchy exterior and then slightly unbaked so the cookie stays soft and slightly fudgy. They are the perfect chocolate bite for the holidays.
If you love chocolate, especially for the holidays, check out my recipes for 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 cookies
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. The flour provides the structure for the cookie
- Dutch Processed Cocoa. Is the source of deep chocolate flavor of this cookie. This cocoa has a fat content of 22% so it helps produce a chewy, chocolate cookie.
- Dark Brown Sugar. Adds sweetness and helps create a chewy cookie.
- Unsalted Butter
- Whole Eggs. The eggs add fat, moisture and pulls the dough together
- Ground Cinnamom
- Bittersweet or Semi-Sweet Chocolate. This chocolate is used for the 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. Is combined with the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips to create the ganache filling.
How to Make Thumbprint Cookies
These cookies are made in a food processor, but can also be made in a stand mixer. The recipe contains instructions for both methods.
This recipe works best if you weigh the dry ingredients before adding them to the processor. Weighing the ingredients ensures that you're not adding too much flour to too much cocoa which will produce a somewhat dry crumbly cookie.
Place all the dry ingredients in the food processor and process for about 30 seconds to ensure that all the ingredients are well combined.
Add the cold cubed butter and pulse about 30 times until the mixture resembles large bread crumbs. If there are any large pieces of butter process until the mixture is more uniform in size.
Check the bottom of the bowl to make sure that are no white bits of flour. If there are, take a spatula and scrape this flour out of the edges of the work bowl.
Beat the eggs in a measuring cup and with the food processor running slowly pour the eggs into the food processor and processor just until the dough comes together.
Form the dough into balls weighing 25 grams each. Use a scale to weigh the dough. Place the balls of dough on a board or baking sheet about 1-inch part. Once all the dough is shaped, roll the balls in turbinado sugar.
Use the back of a round 1 teaspoon measuring spoon to press a round dent into the cookie. The spoon creates a nice even well, but you can also use your thumb or a bottle cap.
Chill the cookies for 45 minutes before baking. At this point, you can also freeze the cookies and bake them later.
How to Bake the Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a half-baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and place 12 cookies on the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven and they're still out use the same teaspoon to press down the center of the cookies.
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.
Bake all the cookies and let them cool completely before filling them with the ganache.
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 1/2-inch pieces or use Ghirardelli chocolate chips and place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
Heat the cream over medium-high heat just until the cream starts to boil. The cream can quickly boil over so don't walk away from the saucepan.
Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Slowly whisk the cream and chocolate together until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the mixture cool until it is about 77-80°F. At this temperature, the chocolate will hold its shape when piped or spooned into the cookie center.
How to Assemble the Cookies
One the cookies are completely cool and the ganache has reached the right temperature. Spoon or pipe about 2 teaspoons of ganache filling into the center of each cookie. The cookies are now ready to eat.
How to Store the Cookies
Store the unfilled cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two weeks. 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 2-3 days.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Weigh all-purpose flour and dutch-processed 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.
- Bake one pan of cookies at a time.
- 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 Love This Recipe Try These
- Cocoa Molasses Spice Cookies
- Chocolate Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies
- Hazelnut Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- 2 cups (280 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
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, cold cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 large (100 grams) eggs
- 1/2 cup turbinado or demerara sugar
- 1-1/2 cups 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 process the mixture 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.
- At the this point the dough will be a little sticky. Form the dough into balls that weigh 25 grams each. You made need to occasionally lightly flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking too much.
Stand Mixer Method
- Place the all-purpose flour, the cocoa, sugar, salt and ground cinnamon in the stand mixer bowl. 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.
- Roll the cookies in either the turbinado sugar or chopped pecans or both. 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 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. Heat the cream over medium heat just until bubbles form around the edge 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 minutes. Slowly stir with the mixture with a whisk until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Cool the ganache until it reaches a temperature of about 77 degrees. 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 degrees F. Once the oven reaches temperature, place 15 cookies on a half baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat and bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until they are slightly firm. If baking the cookies straight from 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.
Karen M. Arvin says
Beautiful photography and clear, comprehensive blog. Can't wait to try some of your recipes!
Cheryl Norris says
Thank you for the compliment and the kind words. I do hope you try some of the recipes and please reach out if you ever have any questions.