Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprints

I don’t know about you, but when I think about thumbprints, I almost always think of them filled with jelly or jam and they usually only show up around the holidays. The thing is, I’m not a huge jam person. I mean, I love my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches just as much as the next gal (well, maybe even more so, I do loooove my peanut butter!), but even then, the peanut butter to jelly ratio has to be very high. It always seems too sweet to me, so I’ve never been a huge fan of thumbprint cookies for that reason. Well, thumbprint cookies minus the jam and plus chocolate? Awesome. Totally awesome. The base for the cookie is a really simple shortbread dough made with just butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, salt and flour, which makes for a delicious buttery cookie that melts in your mouth.

Chocolate Thumbprints

The original recipe for these thumbprints calls for using your thumb to make the indentations in the middle of these cookies (hence, why they’re called thumbprints). But umm… the cookies are really freakin’ hot out of the oven! I tried one and was not about to subject my thumb to any additional cruel and unusual punishment for the sake of cookies. I used the back of a melon baller to make the indentations and that worked great. No one will ever know the difference :)

Chocolate Thumbprints

One year ago: Anadama Bread
Two years ago: Chicken Fajita Enchiladas
Three years ago: Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Thumbprints

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, divided
½ cup confectioners' sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾ teaspoon corn syrup


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. If you are not using parchment or a silicone baking mat, you do not need to grease the baking sheet.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together 1 stick of the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, beginning on low speed and increasing to medium-high.

3. Using a small cookie scoop or heaping teaspoons, roll the dough into balls, and place 1-inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and make an indentation into the middle of each cookie. Return to oven, and bake until light brown on the edges, 7 to 9 minutes more. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

4. Combine chocolate, 2 tablespoons butter, and corn syrup in a small heat-proof bowl. Set over a pot of simmering water; stir occasionally until melted and smooth. (Alternately, you can microwave the mixture on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth.) Allow to cool slightly. When cookies are cool, fill the thumbprints with the chocolate mixture.

(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1994/1995)


86 Responses to “Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Karen on May 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    This recipe reminds me of the peanut butter blossoms…which are my family’s favorite. Instead of jam or chocolate you could also put Nutella in the middle once the cookies cooled :) yum

    I will definitely be trying these!


  2. Heather (Heather's Dish) on May 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    i was JUST thinking i normally think of jam thumbprints,but it makes perfect sense to make them with chocolate! these are simple and gorgeous (and no doubt delicious too!)


  3. Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes on May 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    These are one of my favorite types of cookies. Ever! I once made a version that used Nutella in the cookie batter. So double chocolate hazelnut thumbprints! xxSAS


    • Lacy from 50realrecipes on December 2nd, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      I used the chocolate ganache in the batter. Nutella would be good too. Chocolate shortbread cookies!


      • karen on December 2nd, 2013 at 8:33 pm

        yum lacy!


        • heather on December 2nd, 2013 at 8:33 pm

          yah karen


          • lena on December 2nd, 2013 at 8:35 pm

            WOW lol a reply on reply on reply on reply. djfhlfhhvkdfhvknkehfkenrufhoernviuhejvoiuerwnvuerhvlerounver


  4. Natalie (The City Sisters) on May 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    These look insanely delicious! I love thumbprint cookies. My mom makes them around Christmas and I snatch up as many as I can! I don’t think I can wait until December now!!


  5. Jenny Flake on May 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Love these Michelle! So cute and I bet they are to die for!


  6. Erica B. on May 18, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    These look so yummy. Can’t wait to try out this recipe.


  7. Tracy on May 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I’m so bookmarking these. Right. Now. 😉


  8. The Cilantropist on May 18, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I think it must be my inner perfectionist, but I really love how each of the chocolate thumbprints are exactly circular and just centered. Not to mention, they are really cute. :)


    • faith maurer on May 2nd, 2014 at 5:16 am

      yeah i think so, how about decorate it like a… bear head, that will be so cute too, super cute :3


  9. Lisa Avant on May 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Look picture perfect + delicious. I will try these and may try adding peanut butter to some of them. Thanks for a fun post. Cute little cookies.


  10. Annie on May 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Yum! These look sooo good to me right now. I sometimes use a wine cork for indentations in cookies like these, in case any one doesn’t have a melon baller.


  11. Belinda @zomppa on May 18, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Precious! And you’re making me hungry.


  12. ivoryhut on May 18, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Uhm … yes please. Thank you. Oh, and the perfect little circles really appeal to the neat freak in me. (It’s a really, really hidden freak.)


  13. Maria on May 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I love the chocolate filling!


  14. Debbie on May 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Good idea with the melon baller!


  15. Deanna on May 18, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    You should try the recipe for fudge puddles on they are peanut butter cookies with fudge in the middle. Too DIE FOR!!! Its my most requested recipe


  16. N on May 18, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Oh my gosh! I was just thinking about making thumbprint cookies, mostly because we have so many jars of jam that I wanted to use some up, but these chocolate ones look sooo yummy I mught leave the jam alone!


  17. Eliana on May 18, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Love the idea of thumbprints filled with chocolate. Waaaay better than jam.


  18. Katrina on May 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    I love these!! Yum!


  19. Kiki on May 18, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    These sound so good!!! HEAVEN!


  20. Cristina @TeenieCakes on May 19, 2010 at 1:12 am

    Yes…someone mentioned it in an earlier comment – reminds me of jam thumbprints too. Chocolate filled is always great too. The crinkle texture looks so good!


  21. notyet100 on May 19, 2010 at 1:26 am

    thy look delicious


  22. Pink Martinis and Pearls on May 19, 2010 at 3:14 am

    These look so good especially as I write this after mid-night! Your fantastic photography makes them even more delish! I’m going to try this recipe for sure! Thanks. :)


  23. Food Lover on May 19, 2010 at 3:42 am

    I LOVE chocolate, and this looks really yummy :)


  24. Amy on May 19, 2010 at 6:38 am

    One word…..YUMMY!


  25. bunkycooks on May 19, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Thumbprint cookies are one of my favorites. I like chocolate instead of jam in yours!


  26. Jen @ How To: Simplify on May 19, 2010 at 11:39 am

    These cookies are adorable!


  27. Veronica Miller on May 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I want to use this filling on peanut butter blossoms–just switching the Kisses for the filling. I really don’t like how the Kisses get hard after the cookies are cool and think this would be perfect!


  28. Pilar on May 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    So nice, I always use the back of my wooden spoon.


  29. The Chocolate Priestess on May 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    No see I can learn something new almost every day. I had no ideas these things were called “thumbprint” cookies. Why is that? It doesn’t really look like a thumbprint does it?


  30. Michele on May 19, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    These cookies look great and remind me of the Stella Doro Fudge filled cookies my grandmother always bought for me.


  31. Cookin' Canuck on May 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Very sweet cookies, Michelle! I do like the idea of filling them with chocolate rather than jam.


  32. mmm12 on May 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Made these today- super quick, super yummy.

    I did want to mention this only made 15 cookies for me. I had a feeling I wouldn’t get the 24 the recipe claims from the ingredient list— so I am not disappointed, just thought I would share with others. I made balls approx 5/8″ in diameter, nothing big.


  33. Michon on May 19, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Are these cookies similiar to a cookie a Publix called Tortica de Moron? I LOVE LOVE LOVE those cookies.


  34. The Housewife on May 20, 2010 at 2:20 am

    These look so perfect and like you, I think I prefer the chocolate filling over jam! You’re the best!


  35. Biscotti Babe on May 20, 2010 at 8:11 am

    You started talking about PB & no J. I couldn’t get it out of my mind so I sub’d PB for the butter in the filling. Heaven! Love the mellon baller idea.


  36. Heather @ (The Single Dish) on May 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    So pretty! I think I might make these this weekend!


  37. Erin @ Making Memories on May 20, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    They look perfect. Clever idea using a melon baller!


  38. Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. on May 21, 2010 at 10:53 am

    These look delicious! Love the chocolate center, I’m not much of a jam fan on cookies either!


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  40. biorada on August 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I made these amazing cookies yesterday & OMG they were freakin’ delicious
    my mom fell in love with them ♥♥
    what surprised me more that they look exactly like the pictures O__O
    I’m such a kid when I made a new recipe 😛
    thank you Michelle you are a true talented baker ^__^


  41. Sara on November 14, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I cannot wait to try these!!


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  44. Irma on December 20, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I’m on a commenting roll today :) Sorry.
    Just thinking… when I make my thumbprint cookies, I use my thumb to make an indentation prior to baking. Then, depending on whether I want my centers chewy or light, I fill them up before or after.
    Do you think I can do that with this recipe too? Make my indentation prior to baking? I like using my thumb :)


    • Michelle on February 16th, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      You know, that’s a good idea! I don’t see why not!


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  47. Shelby on September 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    :( I just tried to make these and the dough ended up being extremely dry and impossible to work with. As soon as I saw the end result after adding the flour I knew there was no way that I was going to be able to roll it into balls and make cookies out of it. Any idea what I did wrong? I followed the directions exactly so I am completely stumped and sad.


    • Aaron on November 6th, 2011 at 12:24 am

      I’m guessing an egg is missing but not sure, I had the same problem. I followed the recipe above and they taste like danish wedding cookies with chocolate.


    • Donna on August 17th, 2014 at 11:06 am

      I tried these today to. Mine rolled into a ball ok…but when I used the melon baller to make the indentation, the rest of the cookie fell apart. I don’t know where I went wrong. I would like to try again though, they look so cute! (Not mine!)


  48. Kari on December 20, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I liked these – very rich! I’m glad I doubled the recipe because they’re so small. I substituted honey for corn syrup and it worked fine. I also found the dough to be dry and tough to work with but I kept pressing it together with my hands and they turned out fine. Thanks!


  49. Me And My Sweets on December 27, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Yummie!!! When I make thumbprint cookies with jam, I too use my thumb prior baking. Howevere, in this case when your supposed to fill the indentaion after baking the cookie, I’m not sure it will work?! I think the dough might rise/evene out a bit. Well, it’s just one way to find out and it’s to try. Thanks for the recipe I def need to try it with chocolate! And if anybody wants a recipe for a raspberry filling check out:


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