Salted Caramel Butter Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

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Salted Caramel Butter Cookies – delicious sweet and salty butter cookies loaded with gooey caramel and sprinkled with sea salt!

picture of caramel butter cookies on a table
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Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

If you love sweet and salty, buttery caramel flavor, these cookies are for you!

We’re making delicious, buttery caramel cookies – and topping them with a sprinkle of fresh sea salt – for a thumbprint-style cookie that is bursting with flavor!

Thumbprint cookies get their name from their shape – they look like someone left a big dent in the top with their thumb, which is usually filled with something tasty and chewy. In this case, we’re loading our cookies up with caramel – but sometimes they are made with jams and jellies, or chocolate.

picture of caramel butter cookies on a table

How To Make Salted Caramel Butter Cookies

These cookies are super simple – but there are steps that really need to be followed in order for the cookies to turn out right, every time.

We do not recommend skipping steps like chilling dough in the refrigerator or letting caramel set for best results.

picture of flour, sugar, butter on a table

Mix, Make, and Bake Cookies

To start off, we’re going to mix and make our butter cookies – including pressing an indent for the “thumbprint”, baking, and pressing one last time, so there’s tons of room for ooey, gooey, salty, buttery caramel!

  1. Using an electric hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar in a large bowl on low speed until combined, then increase to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. 
  2. Scrape the sides then add the vanilla, flour, and salt. Mix on low speed until the dough you do not see any flour streaks. Do not overmix.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Portion into 2 tablespoon balls, then press the center of the cookie with a cookie scoop or spoon. Gently pinch the dough with your fingers to seal any cracks.
  5. Bake 7-10 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from the oven and gently press once more with a cookie scoop.
  6. Cool on a cooling rack.

Make Caramel and Fill Cookies

Next, we’re going to make our caramel filling as our cookies cool.

  1. Add brown sugar, butter, and cream to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, set a timer for 60 seconds. Once the timer has gone off, turn off the burner and remove the pan. 
  2. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Remove from heat and spoon into cookies, without overfilling.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt while still hot, before caramel sets.
  5. Let caramel set and firm.
  6. Enjoy!
picture of caramel butter cookies on a table

Tips To Perfect Salted Caramel Butter Thumbprint Cookies & FAQs

If you’re making substitutions for the ingredients in this recipe, keep in mind we created this recipe with specific ingredients in mind based on their properties and how they bake.

For best results, you will want to find a substitute with similar properties.

  • Butter – This is a dominant flavor in the cookies, so a quality butter is preferred. It needs to be softened to room temperature so that it can absorb the sugar properly. If using salted butter, reduce the salt addition to ¼ teaspoon.
  • All-Purpose Flour – Pastry flour can also be used. 
  • Vanilla Extract – Adds flavor to the cookies.
  • Brown Sugar – Light brown sugar provides the best caramel flavor. Dark brown sugar will give more of a molasses flavor which overpowers the caramelized butter.
  • Heavy Cream – This provides the fat necessary for creamy caramel.

FAQs

Can I make butter cookie dough ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the dough up to 3 days in advance. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Set at room temperature for 30 minutes before portioning, to soften the dough.

How do I store Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies?

Store cookies in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Why do you need to press thumbprint cookie dough twice?

The first press of the cookie creates the shape of the cookie. However, it will puff up while baking, thus needing an additional press to create the indention. Alternatively, you can roll the cookies 1-inch thick and use a cookie cutter to cut the dough. Bake the cookies and then press with the handle of a spoon.

picture of caramel butter cookies on a table

Other Easy Cookies You’ll Love

We love delicious, easy cookies here – some of our favorites like Easy Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies, Easy Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chewy Molasses Cookies, The Best Easy Chewy Sugar Cookies Ever Recipe, and our The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies will become some of your favorites!

Find some of our recent recipes:

You can find the rest of our cookie recipes here.

Salted Caramel Butter Cookies Recipe

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Salted Caramel Thumbprint Butter Cookies Recipe

Yield: 20 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Salted Caramel Butter Cookies Recipe - delicious sweet and salty butter cookies loaded with gooey caramel and sprinkled with sea salt!

Ingredients

  • Butter Cookies
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks, 230 grams)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar (133 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (260 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Caramel
  • ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar (110 grams)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sea salt flakes

Instructions

  1. Using an electric hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar in a large bowl on low speed until combined, then increase to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. 
  1. Scrape the sides then add the vanilla, flour, and salt. Mix on low speed until the dough you do not see any flour streaks. Do not overmix.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Portion into 2 tablespoon balls, then press the center of the cookie with a cookie scoop or spoon. Gently pinch the dough with your fingers to seal any cracks.
  4. Bake 7-10 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from the oven and gently press once more with a cookie scoop.
  5. Cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack and completely.
  6. Add brown sugar, butter, and cream to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, set a timer for 60 seconds. Once the timer has gone off, turn off the burner and remove the pan. 
  7. Stir in the vanilla.
  8. Remove from heat and spoon into cookies, without overfilling.
  9. Sprinkle with sea salt while still hot, before caramel sets.
  10. Let caramel set and firm.
  11. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Yield 20 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 213Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 36mgSodium 97mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 0gSugar 13gProtein 2g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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