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Dulce de Leche Thumbprint Cookies

Buttery, flaky cookies with sweet Dulce de Leche in the middle!

plate of cookies
Unsplash.

There is no shortage of cookie recipes out there, and I’m not mad about it! That just means there are more for me to try out. Like this Dulce de Leche Thumbprint Cookie recipe! With buttery shortbread cookies and homemade Dulce de Leche sauce, these cookies are savory, sweet, gooey, and all sorts of deliciousness. Now, don’t let the homemade sauce scare you off. It’s deceivingly simple to make and well worth the effort.

stacked cookies
Unsplash

First, let’s talk about this homemade Dulce de Leche sauce. Start by preheating the oven to 425ºF. Then, pour sweetened condensed milk into a pie dish or pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place dish into a large roasting pan or baking pan and fill the pan with about 1-inch of hot water. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes, then whisk the sauce to smooth out any lumps. Set aside.

See? That wasn’t so bad, was it? Let’s move onto the cookies! Start by preheating the oven to 350ºF and line to baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Cream the and sugar together in a large bowl for 1 to 2 minutes until lighter in color and fluffy in texture. Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt and mix until just combined. Mix in the flour, which will be crumbly initially, but turns into a soft dough after well mixed.

thumbprint cookies
Unsplash

Next, using a 1-inch sized cookie scoop or a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon, scoop out the cookie dough and roll it into a ball. Place the ball onto the prepared baking sheet. Use your thumb or the back of a 1/2 teaspoon-sized measuring spoon to gently press a round-shaped depression into the cookie. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of dulce de leche into the depression of each cookie. Sprinkle with coarse salt flakes if using. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the cookies are set and the edges are slightly golden in color. Let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to finish cooling on a wire rack.

These cookies taste even better than they look! With buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies and homemade Dulce de Leche sauce, what’s not to love? You can add a few sprinkles of sea salt on top if you want a little extra snap and contrast to the sweet flavor, but I like them just as much without it. Go ahead and get the recipe below!

Makes 3 dozen cookies

20m prep time

2h cook time

Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup Dulce de Leche
  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt (optional)
Dulce de Leche
  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a pie dish or pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place dish into a large roasting pan or baking pan and fill the pan with about 1-inch of hot water.
  3. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes, then whisk the sauce to smooth out any lumps. Set aside
Thumbprint Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line to baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Cream the and sugar together in a large bowl for 1 to 2 minutes until lighter in color and fluffy in texture. Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt and mix until just combined. Mix in the flour, which will be crumbly initially, but turns into a soft dough after well mixed.
  3. Using a 1-inch sized cookie scoop or a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon, scoop out the cookie dough and roll it into a ball. Place the ball onto the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Use your thumb or the back of a 1/2 teaspoon-sized measuring spoon to gently press a round-shaped depression into the cookie. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of dulce de leche into the depression of each cookie. Sprinkle with coarse salt flakes if using.
  5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the cookies are set and the edges are slightly golden in color. Let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Recipe adapted from Aimee Mars.

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