Caramel Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

Sweet & Salty Dulce De Leche Cookies

This caramel delight thumbprint cookie is coated with a sweet and salty mixture for an extra taste sensation.

35 min. prep time
24 cookies
10310 Ratings


Sugar Mixture

1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom


3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


1/4 cup canned dulce de leche


Combine all sugar mixture ingredients in shallow dish; set aside.

Beat brown sugar and butter in medium bowl at medium speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beating until well mixed. Add all remaining cookie ingredients; beat at low speed until well mixed. Set aside 1/4 cup dough. Cover remaining dough; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Shape chilled dough into 24 balls; place 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Make 1/2-inch indentation in center of each cookie with back of measuring spoon or handle of wooden spoon.

Place dulce de leche in resealable plastic food bag; snip off small corner of bag. Squeeze dulce de leche into each indentation until level with top of cookie.

Divide reserved 1/4 cup dough into 24 pieces. Cover dulce de leche on each cookie with piece of dough, smoothing to seal.

Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand on cookie sheet 1 minute. Remove to cooling rack; let cool 5 minutes. Dip warm cookies into sugar mixture.

Recipe Tip

- Dip handle of wooden spoon in flour, if necessary to prevent sticking when making indentations.

- Dulce de leche can be found in the Hispanic section of the supermarket or near sweetened condensed milk in the baking aisle.

Nutrition Facts (1 cookie)

Calories: 110

Fat: 4g

Cholesterol: 20mg

Sodium: 170mg

Carbohydrates: 17g

Dietary Fiber: 0g

Protein: 1g

Recipe #15643©2012Land O'Lakes, Inc.

Recipe Comments & Reviews

Absolutely yammy I made my own dulce de leche and followed the recipe exactly. Very pleased with the taste and its look, thank you for sharing such a delightful recipe.
I can't wait to make these. Your recipe is featured at Weekly Rays of Sunshine as one of my favorite pins this week. I'd love it if you linked this to Saturday Dishes. We are highlighting cookies and candy today.

* Follow-up to a previous review. First, I substituted Caramel Spread & thickened it slightly with flour (about 1 teaspoon flour to 1 Tablespoon spread). This time, the caramel did not incorporate into the cookie (YEA!). I also put a little extra flour in the dough & they "puffed up" a little more. I also tested making the cookies WITHOUT caramel inside & coating them with the sugar mixture before baking; then I made sandwich cookies using the caramel spread as the filling in-between the 2 cookies. The best ones were the ones with LOTS of caramel in the middle, so don't spread it too thin. After assembling the sandwich cookies, I rolled them in the sugar mixture again, especially coating on the edge of the filling. These are now going on my "Christmas Cookie List"!
Absolutely YUMMY! I also had trouble with the filling incorporating into the cookie. Next time I plan to use Caramel Spread instead of Dulce de Leche. It can be found at World Market and is thicker. I also might make some of them as sandwich cookies instead of putting the caramel inside the cookie before baking. I will post the results!
I followed the recipe almost to a T (the only thing I did differently was to roll the cookies in the sugar mixture BEFORE putting them in the oven), and they came out looking pretty much like in the picture. I think the only thing I would do in the future would be to add more dulce de leche to each cookie. They were delicious! I would definitely make them again.
I made it twice. both times the dulce la leche ended incorporating into the dough , My purchased dulce was not vert thick. All and all it was a big disappointment. Will not try again.
Test Kitchen Comment


The dulce de leche product we used was a canned product we purchased in the supermarket. When I opened it the product was quite thick and scoopable. There may be several brands on the market and unfortunately yours was thinner. I understand how then the caramel filling might incorporate into the dough.
Posted January 21, 2013
With all due respect to Cindy Test Kitchen, I think this recipe is faulty. She describes it as "a flatter- type cookie" which doesn't jibe with the accompanying picture. That, to me, gives a false impression of the final result. Also, I chilled the unbaked cookies for two hours and they still flattened.
Having made my own dulce de leche, I was very, very disappointed with this recipe. Maybe another try in the test kitchen is needed? BTW, they tasted fine but I missed the "puddle" of filling, as shown in the picture.
Test Kitchen Comment


I'm sorry Joan if I did not describe the cookie as well as I could have. Since I measure flour lightly and am real conscious of getting too much flour into a cookie dough sometimes the dough will spread a little more. If a flatter cookie is not what I want typically add 1 to 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour to the dough and bake a test cookie . The cookies with more flour will have more body and should not be flat. The photo does give the impression that the cookie is high because of the angle of the cookie and the close-in shot.But the cookies baked for the photo precisely followed the recipe. Finally, the canned dulce de leche is very thick. If you make dulce de leche from "scratch" you would need to match that consistency. Otherwise the mixture may be too thin or too thick.
Posted December 31, 2012
I chilled the cookies before filling but they were still really flat when baked, so I guess I should have chilled them more after filling. Also, most were sunken and cracked on top. I made the holes with a wooden spoon handle and thought I piped them full. In fact I wondered if they were overstuffed. Could the cracking have been caused by making the dough cap too thin? What about the sinking? I like them well enough to play with perfecting them, but it would help to have more pointers since I can't make as many batches as the test kitchen.
Test Kitchen Comment


Thanks for your comments. here are a couple of suggestions to help you when making this recipe. I suggest you add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour to the dough. You do not want to cookies to be too dry and hard but if the cookies spread it might mean that there is not enough flour. Try baking just one cookie to see if adding the flour makes a difference. Another suggestion relates to the amount of dough in the dough cap. If the cap is too thin, the cap may crack or dip. The sugar and salt mixture on top of the cookie helps to cover the dip.
Posted December 31, 2012
I only bake a few times a year and from following this recipe, I had wonderful results. They were delicious and might become a holiday tradition for our family.
Once again, I followed the recipe exactly and I got very flat cookies. Remarkably the dulce la leche stayed centered and the overall flavor was unexpectedly good. But, they did not look like the picture and I'm not sure I'll try them again.
Test Kitchen Comment


How soft the butter is in the cookie dough is very important as to whether the cookie flattens and spreads. This cookie is a flatter type cookie and if the butter in the dough is too soft it will be even flatter. My suggestion is to refrigerate the dough 30 - 60 minutes before baking the cookies.
Posted December 17, 2012
Was easy to make, but the you have to be careful with the oven 375 was to hot for the cookie and burned easy. Overall the tastes of the cookie was a delightful play with the taste buds.
What is "dulce de leche" and where do you find it?
Test Kitchen Comment


The term Dulce De Leche is the Spanish term that refers to milk caramel. You can find it in the Hispanic section of your supermarket or in the canned milks section near evaporated milk. If you like caramel you will like this cookie.
Posted November 16, 2012
I thought I follwed the instructions carefully, but the result wasn't as pictured because the dulce la leche ended incorporating into the dough and made a chewy cookie. Also, the instructions indicated dipping the finished cookie into the sugar/salt/cinnamon so it didn't stick to the cookie as well as if it had been rolled before baking. The cookie was so-so.

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