Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Cookies, Desserts

I’m a huge window shopper. And the internet is the epicenter of window shopping for me. One of my favorite things to do is go to a few of my favorite stores (here and here) and put, like, thousands of dollars of clothes, bags, belts into a checkout cart. And then….I simply click out and move on with my day. It’s almost as if I get the pleasure of shopping without any of the guilt. I truly recommend everyone give it a whirl–it’ll make your mind clearer and your soul feel full.

I also do the same thing with food. A few hours before lunch when I’m a little hungry, I click over to Foodgawker and start clicking away, drooling and dreaming about my next meal, only to be disappointed with the lackluster options near my work. Ugh. But I think some of my most awesome food ideas come from straight starvation.

Like these cute little cookies…I wanted to make cookies for you guys; I started staring at Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Salted Caramel Doughnuts and I got the brainiac idea that Salted Caramel Cookies would also be amazing. I think I was right.

The base of these cookies are a basic, shortbread cookie. I was actually a little surprised by them because instead of being just flaky and easily breakable, they’re in fact a little chewy and moist–totally fantastic. I whipped up some caramel, filled the little thumbprint with the stuff, topped it with some fancy schmancy sea salt, and voila! Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies.

Now, I do realize that caramel stresses people out. Actually, everytime I make it I stress out a little bit. But I have a few tips that have made my life easier.

#1- Get all your ingredients together before you start cooking your sugar. The process goes fast.

#2- Warm your heavy cream just a little, this will stop it from seizing once it hits the hot, cooked sugar.

#3 – Wear long sleeves. Hot sugar can burn the heck out of you so be careful.

If you keep those little tid-bits in mind, then you should be fan-freakintastic.

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Makes 16 cookies

Shortbread Cookie recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Caramel recipe taken from Salted Caramel Mousse by Trish Desseine

Print this recipe!


1 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


1/2 cup of granulated sugar

2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat square. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take out the fridge and cut into 1 1/4-inch squares.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Hold the cookie steady with one hand and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Note: I actually poked a hole using my knuckle (from my index finger) since I have nails. I also kind of molded them a little just to make sure they were purdy. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re just a little golden brown on the sides. Let them cool. While they’re cooling, make the caramel.

Combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat to a dark caramel, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar. While the sugar and water are going at it, heat up the cream in a saucepan or microwave just until warm.

Take off the heat and add your room temperature butter. Whisk the butter in, being sure it’s totally combined. Add your warmed cream and whisk vigorously.

By now your cookies should be cooled. Spoon a teaspoon of warm caramel into the indentations of your cookies and top with sea salt. You can eat right away (the caramel will be goopy and wonderful), or let sit for 2 hours so the caramel sets. Fancy and fantastic!

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Leave a Reply

  • Reply elissa@kitchendemure August 10, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Wow, these are like the Marilyn Monroe of cookies, sex bomb cookies!

  • Reply Megan Gordon August 10, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Genius. Pure and utter genius. Can’t wait to try! Thanks for the inspiration (the thought of salted caramel in a thumbprint never, ever occurred to me).

  • Reply RigalooTofu August 9, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    You’re so right, caramel can be wicked tricky. I think you saved a lot of people some heartache by giving them a heads up. I had to learn the hard way…

    Really great blog. So glad that I stumbled upon you guys. xoxo

  • Reply Sebastian August 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Just made these and they were a huge hit. Thank you! I think I’ll try the Salted Caramel Doughnuts next. Where can I find those?

  • Reply Sebastian August 9, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I wish I could just order this food from you guys.

  • Reply FreeLee August 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    LOVE THIS SITE! You guys are the BEST!

  • Reply Will August 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Sexy dimples.

  • Reply Stacia August 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    The salt on cookies is always underestimated. But not here. Can’t wait to try these.

  • Reply Spenace The Menace August 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm


  • Reply Patrick August 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I should really check this blog at night rather than in the morning. I see this when I get to work and I’m craving it for the rest of the day…

    Well done.

  • Reply Tiff August 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    These look AHHHHH-MAZING!

  • Reply Pam August 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Well cover me in caramel and call me Ms. Delicious. That’s right, “Ms.”. I might be a married woman but this treat is too tasty looking not to be had by all. Yeah, sue me! And screw window shopping…

    • Reply Adrianna August 13, 2010 at 11:26 am

      Inappropriate. Love it.

  • Reply Adrianna August 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Curls–Yay! So glad you love them!

  • Reply Nikki August 9, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Oh my gosh! yum! these look fantastic!!!


  • Reply Curls McGhee August 9, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Thanks so much! I cut the cream down and everything came out perfect! Then I ate all of the cookies. Oops! Haha, thank you so much for your help!

    • Reply Amy December 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm

      Curls I wish I had read the comments first….SAME problem here!!! Working on my second round of caramel right now!

      • Reply Ashley December 8, 2010 at 9:44 am

        Cooking the carmel longer also will thicken it up…drizzel some in a cup of ice water and you’ll be able to see it’s texture when it’s cool.

        • Reply lisa December 9, 2010 at 10:18 am

          DEFINITELY CUT THE CREAM. I have caramel soup too. should have read the comments… may be worth revising the recipe? also, the note about making a deep imprint is a good tip too. it will disappear if it’s not deep enough.

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