Chocolate chip cookie dough balls on tray ready to bake. Red mixer with red SideSwipe for Kitchenaid beater and mixer bowl in background


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Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

chocolate thumbprint cookies close overhead

This cookie is for all the chocolate lovers out there! It's the perfect addition to your holiday cookie tray, as a party treat or whenever you're really craving some chocolate. Soft, chewy chocolate cookies are filled with a smooth, creamy ganache. To add a little crunch, sprinkle with non-pareils that match your theme.

This recipe requires some chilling, so we often mix and form the dough the night before we bake it. This is especially helpful when you're making a variety of holiday cookies at once.

This recipe makes around 32 cookies.

Cookie Ingredients

  •  cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • ½ cup cocoa powder Dutch process
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract

Ganache Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • nonpareils for sprinkling on top (optional)

Instructions for forming the cookies

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Add flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder to a medium sized bowl. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
  • Add butter, brown sugar and granulated white sugar to a large bowl. Cream together with an electric mixer for two minutes.
  • Add the egg yolks and vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until pale in color and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  • Scoop the dough into 1 Tablespoon portions using a cookie scoop or measuring spoon. Roll into balls using your hands, smoothing the dough at the same time.
  • Transfer the dough balls to the baking sheets.
  • Using a ¼ teaspoon or small melon scoop, press down on the center of each dough ball to create an indent.
  • Chill the prepared dough for at least one hour or overnight. (You can chill all the dough together on one baking sheet and then separate it out on multiple baking sheets when ready to bake.)

Baking the cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C)
  • Arrange the prepared dough about 1 ½ inches apart on the baking sheets.
  • Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes.(Ours were perfect at 9 mins)
  • When the cookies are done baking, lightly press down on the centers again with a ¼ teaspoon measure or (They may have puffed a little as they baked.) While the cookies are still hot, you can reshape into a rounder shape by swirling a circle cookie/buscuit cutter around the cookies. 
  •  Cool the reshaped cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer them to a cooling rack to completely cool.
  • If you plan to freeze the cookies, do it at this stage, for up to one month in a sealed container. Allow the baked cookies to come to room temperature before filling, using the instructions below.

Instructions for ganache

  • Add the chocolate chips to a small bowl.
  • Heat the heavy cream in the microwave, or on the stove, until is starts to bubble and foam
  • Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute.
  • Stir with spoon or mini-whisk to until smooth. Allow to cool for a few minutes
  • Pour into a piping bag with an uncut tip. Cut the tip right before filling the cookies. You can also fill the cookies using a teaspoon. 

Filling the Cookies

  • Fill each well of the cookies with about 1 teaspoon of ganache. Use a swirling motion to avoid dribbles.
  • Dust sprinkles over the ganache or leave plain. Your choice.
  • Chill the cookies in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to allow the ganache to set quickly - or allow to cool for an hour or so at room temperature.
  • Store leftovers in an air tight container for up to three days.