Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies are an enduring classic for a reason ~ the combination of a rich, buttery shortbread cookie filled with silky chocolate ganache just can’t be beat!
Chocolate thumbprint cookies are decadent little bite sized treats
Silky ganache is the holy grail for chocolate lovers, and these cookies don’t disappoint. They’re sort of like a micro version of a chocolate ganache tart in a buttery little cookie crust. Who wouldn’t love that?
How to make chocolate ganache
It’s a simple but incredibly delicious mixture of warmed cream and chopped chocolate. When they’re blended together they create a magical substance called ganache.
Depending on the ratio of cream to chocolate, a ganache can be runny or thick like fudge. In any case it firms up as it cools or is chilled.
Ganache is noted for its incredible silky mouthfeel and is used to make truffles, tart filling, frosting, and more.
Tips for making thumbprint cookies
- Make sure your recipe is formulated for thumbprints; in other words, don’t try to use a different type of cookie recipe and turn it into thumbprints.
- One of the issues with thumbprints is you can get cracks when you press into the ball of dough. This dough gets bonus points for staying nice and smooth.
- Don’t chill your dough before forming the cookies with this recipe, being at room temperature keeps the dough malleable and smooth.
- If you find your cookies are spreading more than you like, you can chill the dough after making the imprints.
- Hands are a cook’s best tools, but in this case I prefer the back of a small round measuring spoon (1/4 tsp) over thumbs, it makes a sharper impression.
- After your cookies come out of the oven and are still warm you can re-press the indentations to refresh them. I like them to be as deep as possible so they’ll hold lots of ganache 😉
If you’re a chocolate purist let the glossy chocolate ganache speak for itself.
But, if you’re a sprinkle maven like myself, crack open your collection and let it fly, the chocolate ganache centers are perfect for dressing up with all sorts of toppings.
- sprinkles (duh)
- flaky sea salt
- chopped nuts
- a contrasting flavor drizzle (white chocolate, peppermint, mocha, etc.)
- crushed peppermint candies for a holiday theme
Love chocolate ganache? Me too!
- Espresso Ganache Tart
- Peanut Butter Snack Cake with Bittersweet Ganache
- Jewel Box Truffles
- Yotam Ottolenghi’s Flourless Coconut Cake
- Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Chocolate Ganache Thumbprint Cookies
for the cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
for the ganache filling
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375° F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
- Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well to combine.
- Add the baking powder, salt, and mix to combine.
- Add the flour in a couple of batches, mixing briefly between each addition. When all the flour has been added, scape the bowl and mix by hand briefly to make sure everything is well incorporated.
- Shape the cookies by taking about a tablespoon of dough and rolling it into a ball. Using the back of a 1/4 teaspoon, or something of similar size, make an indentation in the ball of dough, flattening it slightly.
- Repeat for all of the dough, and bake for 8-10 minutes. Note: the cookies will still be quite pale when done.
- Remove from the oven, and allow the cookies to partially cool on the baking sheet before transferring to a baking rack to finish cooling.
- Meanwhile, make the ganache by heating the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave until just starting to bubble (not actually until boiling). Remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate.
- Let the mixture sit, undisturbed, for several minutes.
- Stir the chocolate into the cream, adding the salt, and vanilla extract. Keep stirring until the mixture turns smooth and glossy.
- Let your ganache sit and cool down a bit to thicken up before filling the cookies. A thin ganache will pour into the indentations with a very smooth, flat top, and a thicker ganache will have a bit more texture on top.
- Fill all of the cookies and allow them to sit flat until the ganache has set.
- If you'd like to add sprinkles to your cookies, do it right away, before the ganache sets up.
Questions and Reviews
These cookies tasted great and were easy to make. However, mine did not look smooth like the ones in the pictures. They cracked and were not smooth. What did I did wrong? I did follow the directions exactly. Thanks
Cracking is just one of the things you have to deal with with thumbprints, and personally I love the cracks! Did yours crack when you indented them, or as they baked?
The ganache never hardened. It was like soup. I used 10 oz. of chocolate to a cup of cream. I am happy that I did not fill the cookies after trying one and putting it in the fridge and seeing it never set. I saw another cookie ganache recipe that called for 2 tablespoons of cream to 8 oz. of chocolate and that works perfectly. The cookie is delicious but the recipe for ganache doesn’t work.
A 1:1 ratio is correct for ganache that is to be used as a filling like this, but definitely reduce the cream if you like for a stiffer filling. Remember ganache takes a while to set up, and chilling speeds that process.
Hi! Can I use milk instead of heavy cream in the ganache or no? Thanks! I love your recipes!
I have a question can I use milk in the ganache instead of heavy cream? Thanks I love your recipes!
Beautiful looking and delicious. Recommendations for storage, please?
I would just store them in a single layer in an airtight container either refrigerated, or they’d be fine for a couple of days on the counter.
These look amazing! I “ve been making Rose Levy Birnbaum’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Jewels (the jewel being chocolate) for about 20 years now and they remain a hit in my family.
Hi Sue – I know it won’t be nearly as scrumptious as the ganache but can I use a Hershey kiss for the filling?
Thanks1 Love your recipes & your website. Happy Holidays!
Yes, you would unwrap the kiss and press it in just after the cookies come out of the oven 🙂 Enjoy!
Can I use semi sweet chocolate chips?
Can these cookies be filled with jam instead of chocolate?
Yes, you can fill them with any other thick filling like jam or lemon curd, etc.
Your recipes are great. Can this cookie be frozen?
The unfilled cookies can be frozen, but I’d fill them after defrosting.