These Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies are the perfect holiday cookie! Swap the jelly in your buttery shortbread cookies for a creamy chocolate ganache.
Holiday Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies
These soft and delicious shortbread chocolate ganache cookies will be a hit for any cookie swap, holiday party, or just a sweet treat for you and your loved ones! Both the cookie and the ganache is simple to make and comes together quickly.
Because it only takes 5 minutes of prep time to make these cookies, they might be the simplest holiday or Christmas cookies you could make. The total time for this recipe is just an hour and a half and an hour of that is for the cookie dough to chill!
What is ganache, you might ask? It is a silky and smooth mixture of chocolate and cream. It pairs perfectly with these buttery, chewy shortbread thumbprint cookies. Read on to find out more about it!
These delicious shortbread cookies are the perfect addition to any holiday gathering. You can serve them after a cozy meal like this Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta.
They are also a perfect addition to a platter of Christmas cookies. I like to have them with a warm peppermint mocha latte as an afternoon snack.
Chocolate thumbprint cookies look super festive and cute, but if we don’t follow the proper steps, they may lose their shape in the baking process. The most important step is refrigerating the dough for at least an hour.
I like to scoop the cookies before I put them in the fridge to really make everything easier. Scooping hard dough is hard; it is much easier with room temperature dough!
Sometimes they slightly lose the thumbprint during the baking process because the cookies rise. If this happens, just use the back of a kitchen spoon to reinforce the divot.
As mentioned, one of the most important parts of this recipe is chilling the dough. The dough must be chilled after making the thumbprint indent and before baking.
Another important tip is to not make the thumbprint indent too big. Just press lightly to make an indent but don’t press through the cookie.
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies Recipe Ingredients
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Egg yolks
- Vanilla extract
- Heavy cream (or coconut cream, see below)
- Semi sweet chocolate chips
If a traditional thumbprint cookie is more your style, you can substitute jam instead of making the ganache. Raspberry would be my flavor of choice but you can use whatever flavor of jam you prefer as an addition to these buttery, chewy cookies.
Chocolate Ganache Tips
The key to these chocolate ganache cookies is a smooth and creamy garnache. Chocolate ganache is a simple combination of warmed heavy cream and chocolate to form a smooth and silky filling.
The softness of ganache depends on the ratios. A one to one chocolate to heavy cream ratio is the standard, but it never quite hardens.
More heavy cream results in a thinner ganache and less heavy cream results in a thicker ganache. This recipe uses a bit less heavy cream than one to one so the filling thickens in your cookies!
You can also substitute a full fat coconut milk (from the can) in place of heavy cream if you are sensitive to dairy.
How to make these Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Step 1: Make the shortbread dough
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Place butter and sugar in a large bowl (Image 1).
Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until just combined (Image 2). Don’t over beat to avoid spreading when baked.
Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat to combine, scraping the sides as needed (Image 3).
Gradually mix in the flour mixture, again scraping the sides as needed, and stir until fully combined (Image 4).
Step 3: Scoop and Thumbprint
Line a large plate or something that will fit in your fridge with parchment paper. Scoop cookie dough balls with a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop and roll into a ball.
Press down into the center of each ball with your thumb to make an indent, making sure not to puncture through the bottom (Image 5).
Line the plate with the cookies and place in the fridge for at least one hour.
Step 4: Bake
Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies at 375F for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges (Image 6).
The thumbprint divot may have been slightly lost in the oven. Take a kitchen spoon and press back down in the divots while the cookies are still warm.
Cool cookies completely.
Step 5: Make The Ganache And Fill
Heat the heavy cream until just under a boil and pour it over the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Whisk together until completely smooth (Image 7).
Let the ganache cool for at least 10 minutes. Then spoon it into the center of the cookies (Image 8). Allow the ganache to set fully in the cookies and enjoy!
Storage and freezing
Store these chocolate ganache cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days.
You can freeze these cookies for later. Place the chocolate thumbprint cookies in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow the cookies to thaw in the fridge or on the counter and enjoy!
Check out these other Cookie Recipes
- White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Mocha Cookies
- Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
- M&M Sugar Cookies
- Candy Cane Cookies
You can find the full recipe below. If you make this recipe, please rate and review it in the comments, or share it with me on Instagram!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter – softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set to the side. Beat softened butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until just combined. Don’t over beat because it can cause the cookies to spread when baked.
- Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract into the bowl and beat to combine, scraping the sides as needed. Gradually mix in the flour mixture, again scraping the sides as needed, until fully combined.
- Line a large plate or something that will fit in your fridge with parchment paper. Scoop dough balls with a 1.5 tbsp cookie scoop and roll each into a nice tight ball. Then, press down into the center of each ball with your thumb – nearly to the bottom, but not puncturing through. Place them all on the parchment lined plate or tray.
- Chill the dough balls for at least one hour in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 375F and transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving some space between them
- Bake the cookies at 375F for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. The thumbprint may have risen some as the cookies baked so you can push it back down while the cookies are hot with the back of a small spoon.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely and while they cool prepare the ganache. Heat heavy cream until just under a boil then pour it over the chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl. Whisk the cream and chocolate together vigorously until the chocolate is fully melted and a smooth mixture remains. Let the ganache sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Spoon the chocolate ganache into the center of the fully cooled cookies. Serve the cookies on their own or topped with powdered sugar or melted caramel!