Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Makes about 48
  • 1 cup plus 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
  • 1¾ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 3¾ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1½ tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Garnish: sea salt
  1. In a large bowl, beat 1 cup butter and 1 cup sugar with a mixer at medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Beat in egg and 3 teaspoons vanilla until combined.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined. Shape dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Roll dough into ½-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Using your thumb or the back of a spoon, gently make an indentation in center of each ball.
  5. Bake until lightly browned, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven, and press down centers again. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  6. In a small saucepan, bring cream and remaining 1½ tablespoons butter to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover; turn off heat.
  7. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 3 tablespoons water, corn syrup, and remaining ¾ cup sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook until a candy thermometer registers 350°. Remove from heat; gradually add cream mixture, gently stirring until combined. Stir in remaining ¾ teaspoon vanilla and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Spoon about 2 teaspoons caramel into centers of cookies. Let cool until caramel is set, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  9. In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips on high in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted. Drizzle over cookies. Garnish with sea salt, if desired.
Cookies can be made a day ahead and stored in a single layer. Garnish with sea salt just before serving.
Recipe by Taste of the South at