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Easy Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

If you’re looking for a luscious thumbprint cookie with gooey-gooey caramel, this is the recipe for you. This is such a simple and delicious recipe.

What is a Thumbprint cookie? 

As the name implies, a thumbprint cookie is a round cookie with a well in the center, often made by pressing one’s thumb into the middle of the dough before baking. 

The hole is then filled with any number of things: jam, preserves, chocolate, or (in this case) caramel. That little well offers just the right amount of sweetness, in whatever form you like. 

I don’t know about you, but I love caramel, and I happened to have some on hand after making a batch of caramel and dulce de leche for my Sweetened Condensed Milk Caramel post. 

So, of course it made sense to fill these cookies with caramel. Perfection!

What is a pie crust cookie?

A pie crust cookie is similar to other cookies, but doesn’t have any added leavening (like baking powder or baking soda). The ratio of butter, flour, and sugar is key to making these  more tender and flaky than many other cookies. 

Some examples of pie crust cookies might include my 4-ingredient Pecan Sandies and my Mexican Wedding cookies.  

In this case, I had the right filling, as I mentioned above, so thumbprint cookies just made sense. 

Caramel Thumbprint Cookie Ingredients

You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a peek at what you’ll need need. These are simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry or refrigerator. 

  • 2/3 cup room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup caramel, medium consistency

(Note: I used caramel made from sweetened condensed milk but you can use any caramel you like, as long as it’s medium consistency and not runny.) 

How to Make Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

These come together so easily and quickly! 

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter at medium speed until light and fluffy. 

Add sugar and vanilla. Continue mixing for at least 2 – 3 minutes. 

Add the egg and mix until incorporated. 

Add the flour and mix only until it comes together into a dough-like consistency. 

Use a cookie scoop or spoon to shape dough into balls. This recipe should make 14 – 15 balls, depending on the size. 

Roll the balls of cookie dough between your palms before placing on parchment paper. (You want to shoot for 1-inch balls.)

Use your thumb or rounded tool (like the rounded handle of a spatula) to form a well in the center of each cookie. In retrospect, I wish I’d made slightly large wells in my dough balls. 

Place the tray in the refrigerator for 10 – 15 minutes until the dough balls are chilled. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while dough chills. 

Place tray into the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. 

Allow to cool completely, transferring to wire racks when they can be handled.

Add a small scoop of caramel to the well in each cookie. (This is when I figured out that I hadn’t left quite enough room in the center of each ball of dough. Oops!)

Allow to set up for a few minutes before serving. 

Store leftovers at room temperature in an airtight container. They should stay good for 3 – 4 days. I don’t recommend freezing these cookies.

What to Expect from this Recipe

I have to admit, I had high hopes for this one. I’m a huge fan of pie crust cookies, in general because of their flaky texture. 

This recipe did not disappoint! It had that light flaky texture but also a delicious buttery flavor. And can I just add. . .the homemade caramel was perfection! I love the sweetened condensed milk method of making caramel. 

All in all, I’d say this one is a huge hit. And it’s so simple! I can’t wait to make it again and again! 

Variations on this Recipe

I loved these just as they were but I’m already thinking of ways to jazz them up next time! Here are some ideas: 

Chopped Pecans: As you can see from the photos, I ended up adding chopped pecans to my cookies. I love the combination of caramel and pecan together. Yum! 

Drizzled chocolate: Why not take this a step further, like I did in my pecan pie cookies, and drizzle chocolate on top? I think this would be yummy!

Brown sugar: For added depth of flavor, why not use brown sugar in place of white? I think this would add texture and flavor. 

Cocoa powder: Want a chocolate and caramel cookie? Add a quarter cup of cocoa powder to the recipe. You might have to pull back a little on the flour to accommodate the additional dry ingredients.

Chocolate bottoms: If you like, you can dip the cookie bottoms in melted chocolate after they cool. Dark chocolate would be delicious!

Sea Salt: Sprinkle with flaky sea salt for added depth of flavor. These would be perfect during the holiday season!

Other Caramel Favorites: 

Easy Twix Cookies: This is a shortbread-based cookie—so delicious and pretty! 

Pecan Toffee Cookies with Salted Caramel: If you’re looking for an amazing brown sugar cookie loaded with crunch and depth of flavor, this is the recipe for you! These delicious pecan toffee cookies are packed full of brown sugar, toffee bits, and pecans and they’re drizzled with salted caramel. 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies: If you enjoy the combination of salted caramel and chocolate, you’re going to love this amazing new recipe. It’s rich and decadent, loaded with sweetness and an added pinch of salt. It’s also soft and gooey, coated with sticky deliciousness!

That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this delicious thumbprint cookie recipe. 

If you make this recipe and love it, don’t forget to leave a review and a comment below. And while you’re at it, go ahead and pin some photos to your Pinterest boards!

See this recipe at  

About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 165 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page. xszacC

Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Yield: 24

If you're looking for a luscious thumbprint cookie with gooey-gooey caramel, this is the recipe for you. This is such a simple and delicious recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup caramel

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Add sugar and vanilla. Continue mixing for at least 2 - 3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add the flour and mix only until it comes together into a dough-like consistency.
  6. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to form balls. This recipe should make 14 - 15 balls, depending on the size.
  7. Roll the balls of dough between your palms before placing on parchment paper.
  8. Use your thumb or rounded tool (like the rounded handle of a spatula) to form a well in the dough balls.
  9. Place the tray in the refrigerator for 10 - 15 minutes until the dough balls are chilled.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while dough chills.
  11. Place tray into the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 113Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 75mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 1g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

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