Raise your hand if you wholeheartedly agree that Christmas cookies (especially the easy recipes) are the best part of the holidays! Not only are these salted caramel thumbprint Christmas Cookies easy, they are versatile if you want to try out other flavors, too. Plus, this classic holiday cookie is not nearly as common as a traditional sugar cookie, so you’ll have a bit more fun! If you are ready to add something new to your cookie box, give these a go.
I always get tons of compliments when I bring to holiday parties — they’re always a hit. The balance of a not-too-sweet cookie and salted caramel make these the perfect balanced treat. They are tasty the day of once the caramel has set… and even better a day later! Which makes them great for making ahead of time.
Salted Caramel Thumbprint Christmas Cookies, an Easy & Delicious Recipe
What is a thumbprint cookie?
A thumbprint cookie is a really easy, traditional holiday cookie to make. Often, they are made with a classic sugar cookie dough, then filled with jam and sprinkled with nuts and sugar. To form the cookie, roll the dough into a ball an then press into the middle with a spoon. The key is to press gently!
The cookie in this recipe is similar to shortbread in flavor and isn’t too sweet, the perfect compliment for the salted caramel filling. This recipe has a little almond flour and some slivered almonds in it, as well. This addition gives the Christmas cookies a very subtle nutty flavor. The recipe is also great with your favorite jams, too! I recommend doubling the batch and making one filled with caramel sauce and the other with your favorite jam.
Pro tip: if you’re using jam to fill your thumbprint cookies, microwave it for a few seconds so that it’s more fluid and easier to fill the indent.
How to make the salted caramel
Caramel making is usually pretty tricky. I have had my fair share of sugary mishaps in culinary school and outside. This easier technique uses no water and requires constant attention, but the final results are well worth it.
With this method, you avoid crystalizing the caramel without the water, the biggest mistake when making caramel. And bonus, no candy thermometer needed! The end result is caramel sauce that’s a deep amber color and so delicious.
Salted Caramel Thumbprint Christmas Cookies Recipe
- Stand Mixer
- 16 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 3 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Almond flour or almond meal
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup White Sugar
- 2 Eggs Room temperature
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Almonds Slivered or chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups Sugar
- 12 tbsp Butter Cut into cubes
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1 tsp Salt
- Maldon sea salt
- In a large bowl, cream together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes with a stand mixer.
- Add in the eggs one at time. Once well combined, add in the salt and vanilla.
- Mix in the flours until just combined, then add in the almond slivers.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour.
- Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place them on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for about 8 minutes, then using the end of a wooden spoon, press into the center, making an indentation.
- Continue to bake for about 4 minutes. Keep an eye on the cookies, they should remain light and just slightly golden around the bottom edges.
- Set aside to cool.
- In a heavy duty medium sauce pan over medium heat, heat the sugar. Use a heat resistant spatula or wooden spoon to stir constantly. Make sure to scrape the bottom to avoid burning. It will take a bit, but slowly the sugar will clump and then become liquid. Keep an eye on it to avoid burning.
- Once all the sugar is dissolved and no clumps are visible, add in the butter and stir until melted. Let the mixture cook for about a minute.
- Slowly pour in the heavy cream. The cream will steam and bubble. Go slow and be careful not to burn yourself with this step. Once the cream is all stirred in, allow to cook for another minute.
- Mix in the sea salt and allow to cool.
Assembling the thumbprint cookies
- Once the caramel has cooled and thickened, spoon it into the wells of the cookies and allow the caramel to set up. Once firm, sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
During this time of year, baking is one of the best ways to find a quiet moment for yourself and get into the holiday spirit. The holidays can be challenging for many folks, myself included, and I often turn to baking to create new holiday memories. No matter how you celebrate the holidays, these salted caramel thumbprints are the perfect addition.
What do you think of these easy Christmas cookies?? If you make a batch (or two), be sure to let us know how they turned out! Happy holidays!