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German Chocolate Cookies

These little desserts are everything you love in a german chocolate cake, but in cookie form! Our german chocolate cookies feature a rich chocolate thumbprint cookie, toasted coconut and pecan filling and drizzle of chocolate!

originally published 7.22.2020

Because I’ve never really loved cake, one of my favorite adventures in baking has always been creating cookies with the flavors of popular cakes!

While I love the idea of german chocolate cake (chocolate, pecans, coconut — what’s not to love?), the cake is traditionally made with sweet baking chocolate and then topped with a sugary frosting — a combination that can be a bit too much for me. That being said, these german chocolate cake cookies will still satisfy any sweet tooth but do go slightly easier on the sugar, which allows the toasted pecans and coconut to really shine!

filled thumbprint cookies with chocolate drizzle

what is german chocolate?

Some people are surprised to find that german chocolate cake is not, in fact, German in origin! The cake was originally named German’s chocolate cake after the brand of baking chocolate used — german sweet chocolate created by Samuel German.

While you can still buy german’s sweet baking chocolate today, it’s quite difficult to find outside of the states. So, as with many german chocolate cakes made these days, we’ll forgo the original sweetened chocolate in favor of unsweetened cocoa powder for our cookie base.

cookie ingredients

chocolate thumbprint cookies

The chocolate thumbprint cookies have a consistency that’s more cake-like than most cookies — perfect for cake-inspired cookies!

To make the indent, roll the dough into balls and then use the back of a teaspoon (or your thumb) to make a little dent for our delicious coconut pecan filling. If the indent puffs up during baking, you can just lightly press it down again when the cookies come out of the oven.

toasted coconut pecan filling

For the traditional german chocolate filling, I whipped up a batch of homemade custard using evaporated milk and mixed in toasted coconut flakes and pecans. The filling can be made in three easy steps:

  1. Toast the coconut flakes and pecans.
  2. Heat the evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolk and butter in a small pot until the mixture thickens.
  3. Stir in the coconut flakes and pecans.

Then you can immediately fill your cooked and cooled cookies!

Finally, because german chocolate cake is occasionally garnished with chocolate frosting, I added a quick drizzle of chocolate on the finished cookies. While the chocolate garnish is definitely not necessary, I do like to add it for a bit of embellishment when I’m making these cookies for friends and family.

german chocolate cookies: FAQs

How do I keep my thumbprint cookies from going flat?

Chilling the dough prior to baking will help with this. And if the indent disappears a bit while baking, simply press it down again right when the cookies come out of the oven.

How do I store german chocolate cookies?

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Can I freeze these cookies?

Yes! I store the filled and chocolate drizzled cookies in the freezer for up to three months.

overhead view of cookies

For more cookie inspiration, make sure to check out these recipes!

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filled thumbprint cookies with chocolate drizzle

german chocolate cookies

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  • Author: Brittney
  • Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes
  • Yield: 28
    • Prep Time: 30 minutes
    • Chill Time: 30 minutes
    • Cook Time: 12 minutes
    • Category: dessert
    • Method: baking
    • Cuisine: american


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 (250 grams) all purpose flour
  • ½ cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

toasted coconut pecan filling

  • ½ cup (60 grams) unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ cup (70 grams) chopped pecans
  • ½ cup (120 ml) evaporated milk
  • ⅓ cup (70 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) unsalted butter

chocolate drizzle (optional)

  • ¾ cup (150 grams) chocolate chips


chocolate thumbprint cookies

  1. Cream the softened butter and sugar on high with an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  3. Slowly mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt until fully incorporated.
  4. Cover the dough and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Form the dough into balls using about 1.5 tablespoons of dough each. Make an indent in the center either with your thumb or the back of a teaspoon.
  7. Place the formed cookies on the baking sheet leaving an inch (2.5 cm) between them and bake for 12-14 minutes.
  8. If the indent has puffed up during baking, slightly press back down with a spoon.
  9. Let the cookies sit for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

toasted coconut pecan filling

  1. Place the chopped pecans and coconut flakes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 350F (180C) for about 7-10 minutes, tossing occasionally. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn! Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, cook the evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolk and butter over medium low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. When the mixture begins to simmer, stir continuously for 5-6 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut flakes and pecans.
  5. Top each cooled cookie with 1-2 teaspoons of filling.

chocolate drizzle (optional)

  1. Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate chips in 15 second increments. Once they begin to melt (it should take between 30-45 seconds), stir until the mixture becomes smooth.
  2. Drizzle the mixture over the filled cookies with a spoon.


Storing: Cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

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Amanda May 3, 2021 - 1:01 pm

These sound amazing! My Mom makes Inside-Out German Chocolate cake, so I want to make these sometime.

Brittney May 4, 2021 - 7:28 am

Thank you, Amanda! And an inside-out german chocolate cake sounds amazing!

Diana July 23, 2022 - 3:35 pm

What should the consistency of dough feel like?

Brittney July 25, 2022 - 7:52 am

Hi Diana! The dough should be just soft enough to mold and slightly tacky to the touch. It shouldn’t be tough or crumbly at all (this might mean there’s too much flour).

Darvetta October 3, 2022 - 6:29 pm

I love this recipe. They were delicious. Can I freeze the dough?

Brittney October 4, 2022 - 1:56 pm

Hi Darvetta! Thanks for giving this recipe a try! Yes you can freeze the dough for up to three months. Just thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using.


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