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Chocolate thumbprint cookie with dulce de leche filling

Dulce De Leche Cookies Recipe

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  • Author: Brit Kapustina
  • Total Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
  • Yield: 24
    • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
    • Cook Time: 12 minutes
    • Category: dessert
    • Method: baking
    • Cuisine: global


Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

  • 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (240 grams) all purpose flour, spooned and leveled*
  • ½ cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Homemade Dulce De Leche

  • 4 cups (1 L) whole milk
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together on high with an electric mixer.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  3. Slowly mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt until the dough comes together.
  4. Cover the dough and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Form the dough into balls and make an indent in the center either with your thumb or the back of a teaspoon.
  7. OPTIONAL: If your cookie dough is warm, consider placing the formed cookies in the fridge for half an hour before baking to ensure they keep their shape in the oven.
  8. Place the formed cookies on the baking sheet leaving a bit of space between them and bake for 12-14 minutes.
  9. If the indent has puffed up during baking, gently press back down.
  10. Let the cookies sit for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool. 
  11. Once the cookies are cool, fill with dulce de leche.

Homemade Dulce De Leche

  1. Add the milk, sugar, salt and baking soda to a large heavy-bottomed pot.
  2. Place the mixture on the stove over medium heat and let simmer for approximately 1-1.5 hours. Adjust the temperature so it remains at a good simmer; we don’t want the mixture to rapidly boil.
  3. For the first 15 minutes keep a close eye on the mixture – the baking soda will cause the milk to expand and bubble considerably so you’ll need to stir the mixture regularly.
    After the bubbling subsides, check on and stir the dulce de leche every 5-10 minutes until it begins to turn a light brown color. That’s your signal to start stirring the dulce de leche more frequently to prevent burning.
  4. When the mixture has slightly thickened and reached a deep brown color*, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow to cool to room temperature. Then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Spooned and leveled flour: Scooping a measuring cup into a flour container can result in much more flour than intended, which can affect the look and taste of your cookies. To get a more accurate measurement, use a spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup until it’s completely full. Then run the back of a knife over the cup to gently scrape off any excess.

Dulce de Leche: To test if your dulce de leche has finished cooking, drop a spoonful on a cold plate and let it sit for several minutes. If the dulce de leche holds its shape and isn’t runny when you tip the plate a bit, it’s ready!

Storage: Assembled cookies will keep well stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.