These melt-in-the-mouth vanilla thumbprint cookies are filled with silky chocolate ganache and topped with a touch of sea salt. They are perfect for Christmas or any time!
I am back with another cookie recipe, just in time for Christmas. I love thumbprint cookies, they are just so cute! My son doesn’t like jam filled thumbprint cookies so much, so we fill them with melted chocolate or caramel sauce. But this time, I spent a few extra minutes to make a quick chocolate ganache for the filling.
The dough for thumbprint cookies is a basic buttery shortbread dough. I add a couple of egg yolks for a richer taste. The cookies are not too crumbly but have the perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture when you bite into them. I think these are my new favorite cookies!
When you make thumbprint cookies, there are two things that you may find challenging. Firstly, baking the cookies without too many cracks, and secondly, making sure there is a well-defined indentation in the center. We’ll go over tips on how to deal with them.
First of all, let’s accept that a few slight imperfections are okay in homemade cookies. In fact, I think they add more charm. At least that’s my opinion!
- When making the shortbread dough, make sure that your eggs and butter are at room temperature before you begin.
- When the dough just comes together, I like to start forming them into tablespoon-sized balls and make an indentation in the center. You can use your finger, a rounded measuring spoon or the back of a small wooden spoon or pestle (anything with a rounded edge).
- Refrigerate formed cookies for a while just so they firm up a bit. This will prevent them from spreading too much in the oven. You can refrigerate the dough before forming the cookie shapes too, but there are more chances of them cracking while forming the indentations. If you do need to refrigerate or freeze cookie dough, make sure to soften it enough before working with it. In short, it’s best to work with soft cookie dough and refrigerate the formed cookies before baking to help them keep their shape better. This tip actually holds good for most types of cookies.
- You will need to re-define the indentation after baking while the cookies are still hot. This is where the spoon or pestle helps than using your finger!
To make a quick ganache, stir together melted chocolate and heavy cream till smooth and silky. I use a good-quality chocolate bar, but chocolate chips will work too. Another quick tip for you –
- I actually like to fill the cookies while the cookies and ganache are still warm (not too hot though), this way the ganache spreads into the indentation smoothly and sets with a perfect glossy finish once cooled.
And for the finishing touch, a light sprinkling of coarse sea salt takes these cookies to another level! The sweet buttery cookies, silky chocolate ganache and touch of saltiness make these the perfect cookies to add to your Christmas platter. They are great as edible Holiday gifts, for bake sales, etc.
Here’s how to make these easy Vanilla Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies.
- Unsalted butter - ½ cup, softened at room temperature
- Sugar - ½ cup
- Egg yolks - 2, large
- Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
- All-purpose flour - 1½ cups, sifted
- Coarse sea salt - for topping (optional)
- Semi-sweet chocolate bar or chips - 3 oz
- Heavy cream - 2 tbsp
- Vanilla extract - ¼ tsp
- Cookies: Cream butter, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl on high-speed until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add flour, a little at a time, on low-speed. Mix until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes together. If you need to refrigerate or freeze the dough, you can do so now by flattening it into a disc and wrapping it tightly with cling wrap. Make sure to soften dough before working with it.
- Scoop out a tablespoon of dough and form a smooth ball with your hands. Make a small indentation in the center with your finger or any rounded object like the back of a spoon or pestle.
- Place formed cookies on parchment lined baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart. Refrigerate formed cookies for at least half an hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 375 deg.F. Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and working quickly, re-define the indentations. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes or till cookies are just beginning to brown at the edges.
- Remove cookies from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to fill and cool completely.
- Ganache: Since we are making a very small amount of ganache, this is a shortcut stovetop method.
- Take the broken chocolate bar or chocolate chips in a small saucepan and start heating it on low heat. When the chocolate starts to melt, start whisking it. When almost all the chocolate is melted, add vanilla extract and heavy cream, and whisk well to make a smooth ganache. If it feels too thick, add a few more drops of heavy cream. Remove promptly from heat and cool for 5 minutes or so.
- Spoon a teaspoon of warm ganache into the center of a baked cookie. Sprinkle a few flakes of coarse sea salt on top. Allow ganache to set and cookies to cool before storing them in airtight containers. Keeps well for several days.
1. Roll the cookie balls in sanding sugar before baking.
2. Try white chocolate instead of dark chocolate.
3. Drizzle leftover ganache over the cookies.
4. Use crumbled candy cane or peppermint candy instead of sea salt as topping.
Do try these delicious vanilla thumbprint cookies with chocolate ganache for a quick treat any day or as Santa cookies on Christmas eve! I’m sure he’ll love it. We are planning to bake more as soon as the kiddo is on his Holiday break later this week.
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These are the best thumbprint cookies I have ever baked and I hope you will try it too!
Do you make thumbprint cookies? What is your favorite filling? I’ll make sure to add a recipe for caramel thumbprint cookies on the blog later. Meanwhile, here’s a recipe for healthier oatmeal thumbprint cookies.
Don’t forget to check out all my Christmas & Holiday recipes.
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I am sharing this over at Fiesta Friday.