Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with Fleur de Sel Cardamom Caramel Filling

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with Fleur de Sel Cardamom Caramel Filling

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear “thumbprint cookies” is a jewel-like, jam-filled vanilla cookies. And they are delicious (if the jam is good), no doubt. But this time I decided to shake it up a little. I wanted them chocolate this time. And for the filling I reused (very successfully) the fleur de sel and cardamom caramel I made earlier. With all my respect to the old classic, I like these particular cookies of mine better.

Makes 2 ½ dozens

For the cookies:

  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp; 113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk, at room temperature

For the filling:

  • 4 oz soft fleur de sel cardamom caramel (or, for a shortcut, use store-bough soft caramels; add a pinch of ground cardamom and a bit of salt after it is melted with the cream)
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream

Make the cookie:

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 325F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cocoa, and salt to combine. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue mixing until light and well combined. Add the vanilla, then milk. Add the dry ingredients and mix on the low speed just until the dough forms; you might finish mixing with your hands or a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (use a small ice cream spoon to measure out the dough; it makes the cookies uniform). Place them onto the prepared baking sheet and flatten very slightly with your hand. Using a handle of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in the center of each cookie; make it quite deep and about a penny in diameter. Chill the formed cookies for 20 minutes in the refrigerator, covered with parchment or plastic, before baking.

Bake the cookies, in batches, for 15 minutes, until the cookies appear set. Transfer the cookies on the sheet on a cooling rack and, using the same spoon handle, deepen the indentations made earlier; don’t poke through though, be gentle. You do want this extra space for a delicious filling. Transfer the cookies to the cooling rack and let them cool completely before filling.

Fill the cookies:

Put the caramel and the cream into a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on “medium” for about a minute, pausing the microwave and stirring a couple of times, until the caramel is melted and mixture is smooth. Transfer into a small plastic bag, seal to close. Snip a corner of the bag and fill the cookies. Top with a few fleur de sel crystals if you wish.

The cookies can be store for up to a week in an airtight container.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with Fleur de Sel Cardamom Caramel Filling

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60 Responses to “Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with Fleur de Sel Cardamom Caramel Filling”

  1. I think yours would win hands down too :)

  2. This sounds so much better than the “normal” thumbprint cookie. Chocolate and caramel sound perfect to me! Plus, the cardamom must add such wonderful spice!! Can’t wait to try these for myself.

  3. They sound and look delicious! Gorgeous photos too.

  4. Oh. wonderful! These awesome cookies look so tempting and delightful!



  5. This caramel is a real temptation! amazing photos :D

  6. I think I would prefer these to the classic ones too!. these are super nice and delicious. I have to try this caramel filling sounds so good! Amzing photos!

  7. Oh, these might give my standard thumbprints a run for their money. And that’s high praise, since the standard ones are my favorite cookie, ever. Beautiful!

  8. Much much better than the classic ones. And yours are really like jewels :)

  9. Just took my breath away…they’re gorgeous Vera!!
    PS My daughter is sitting next to me, & loves your name!!

  10. Wow, these look fantastic! I love thumbprints, and I think I may need to try out this “new” style. I imagine they would be pretty tasty with some raspberry jam as well

  11. Exquisite photos. Chocolate and caramel, well, I can’t be trusted around that combo.

  12. Really gorgeous cookies. Love them!

  13. Gorgeous cookies, and what a fabulous flavor combo!!

  14. These definitely look much better than the classic version, bet they even tasted better. The pics are awesome.

  15. i love the combo of cardamon and chocolate and with that bit of salted caramel… delicious!

  16. These look delicious! I have to admit, I’ve never had thumbprint cookies that I liked (whether store bought or homemade), so I’ve given up on them. However, your recipe makes me want to give them another shot. I can’t wait. Will let you know :o) Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  17. Besides the recipe being so scrumptious the photo image is stunning Vera!


  18.!!! the filling just looks divine!! i always made them with jams!! this will be such a good change :)

  19. Oh my God~ How beautiful and delicious and mouth watering, lol, I could go on and on. Caramel is one of my all time favorite things! Gorgeous photos as always.

  20. I bet the salt just brought all the flavors together! Delish

  21. Thank you so much, guys! I’m glad you liked the idea :)

  22. Вера, какие аккуратные печенья! Скажите, а можно карамель заменить на очень густую вареную сгущенку?

  23. How beautiful!! Oh, with the colours are perfect too! I’m not a huge fan of jewel-toned thumbprint cookie—owing to too many nasty memories of eating bad ones–but these are like the sophisticated version of those!! Taste-wise too!!

  24. You are amazing, Vera. Seeing your 1st photo, 2 things come in my mind:
    - first: this photo is a winner for DMBLGIT for sure
    - two: how do you come with such perfect cookies, so smooth. I’ve made thumbprints before and everytime, the cookie is crinkled. You’re a magician ;)
    About your recipe, what can I say: caramel, fleur de sel and cardamom are 3 of my favorites :))

  25. They look gorgeous! The caramel in the middle made them look so mouth-watering!

  26. An interesting twist on an old favourite. I’m not very fond of caramel, but two of my favourites are in those cookies-chocolate and cardamom.:)

  27. Your thumb prints are so perfectly round! That’s quite a thumb you have. :)

  28. wow,what a nice recipe!!! I love chocolate with fleur de sel because fleur de sel improve so much chocolate taste.

  29. Your cookies look so good! I love the idea of cardamom in the filling, since it is one of my fav spices:) Great recipe!

  30. good grief. your cookies are not only perfectly round, but the hole you’ve poked is perfectly symmetric and the caramel is perfectly added. are you perfect?

  31. WOW…..this is an haute couture thumbprint! Too perfect.

  32. You could wrap those up and give them away as gifts, they’re so pretty.

    Wow, beautiful photo too, I love the stack of precariously perched cookies :)

  33. These look fantastic. I can’t wait to try to make them

  34. These cookies are so cute, Vera.

  35. Thank you, everybody, for your kind comments! I’m truly touched!

    Jamala, конечно можно. При этом можно добавить немного корицы и острого перца в тесто; получится очень мексиканский вариант.

    Sandra, you are too kind :) There’s no magic; probably it’s just a different recipe – non crackling one :)

    Aparna, you can fill them with cardamom-infused chocolate ganache instead.

    Cory, that’s quite a wooden spoon handle I have :)

    Grace, no, I’m not, but thank you :)

  36. They look amazing and so delicious. I made something very similar but my thumbprint cookies are made with whole wheat flour. Thank you for inspiration :)

  37. I made these cookies this weekend and they were beautiful and delicious. I used melted store-bought caramels. My only issue was that the filling never fully hardened. If the cookies were not sitting perfectly flat on a plate, the filling would ooze out. I put them in the fridge for about an hour and they were still the same. Did I do something wrong?

  38. and no wonder you love these more, they look wonderful!!

  39. Aklat, thank you!

    Angela, you didn’t do anything wrong; the caramel filling doesn’t set hard here (my preference). I don’t pile the cookies in a bowl for serving, instead I present them on a large flat platter. If you want your filling to be well-set, you can simply omit the whipping cream and fill the cookies with melted caramel.

    April, thank you!

  40. These sound fantastic! Definitely my type of cookie.

  41. Another amazing post with beautiful photography. Cardamom sounds like a great accent for caramel.

  42. Stephanie, Jude, thank you very much!

  43. Your food styling skills never cease to impress :). My little caramels never come out that gooey! I’ll need to follow your instructions for next time.

  44. Sophie, thank you! You are too kind :)

  45. chocolate and salted caramel… really delicious, Vera!!!

  46. I love everything you do, those cookies with cardamom have to be awesome and your pictures looks so great!!

    Thanks for sharing your work, It’s beatiful.

  47. These look DIVINE! Love the unusual filling!

  48. These look spectacular, Vera.

  49. Ana, Mavele, Mary, Eileen, thank you very much for your kind words!

  50. they sound and LOOK incredible! your photos are gorgeous!

  51. Oh my Lord!!!!!!!!!!

    this heavenly good…. the photos are gorgeous!!!!!!!!

  52. Hello again
    can you freeze the dough if you make it in advance?????

  53. Arlette, thank you! I don’t see any problem here. You can even form the cookies before freezing, freeze them on a cookie sheet (lined with parchment), then transfer the frozen cookies in an air-tight container for storing in the freezer. There’s no need to defrost the cookies before baking, just add a couple of minutes to the baking time.

  54. I’m so glad I tried this recipe, the cookies were fantastic!
    I had one egg left in the fridge so I used it in the dough. I added a bit more flour and got rid of the milk to compensate.
    It came out perfectly delicious, they got to be my favorite cookies this year :-)) thanks!

  55. Marie. so am I :) Thank you very much for the feedback! I’m happy you liked them!

  56. I made these for an annual New Years’ Day cookie party with friends. Most frequent comment … “they’re so CUTE!” :-) To my surprise, people thought they could have been more salty. (I was a bit conservative with the salt, next time I’ll be braver.) Thanks a million for the recipe.

  57. These look and sound delicious!!! I can’t wait to make them :)
    I was just wondering if these can be frozen? I’m sure freezing the dough must be fine but what about the baked cookies?
    Fantastic blog!

  58. Do you cream the sugar and the butter or just mix it leaving some granules?

  59. Became a french fan of you … ;)

  60. Can these be turned into red velvet kind by adding red color?

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