Caramel Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

Sweet, soft, crunchy, gooey Caramel Pecan Thumbprint Cookies are full of great flavor!

overhead view of Caramel Pecan Thumbprint Cookies on a wire rack

If you’re a fan of gooey, nutty desserts, then you’ll want to pay attention to these Caramel Pecan Thumbprint Cookies. They’re a pretty perfect combination of flavors and textures. Honestly, I can’t get enough of them!

The cookies themselves are really good on their own. The brown sugar gives them a bit of a caramel flavor, making the caramel we’ll add later even more pronounced. The texture of the cookies is similar to a soft shortbread. The added pecans bring some crunch to the party, too.

Caramel Pecan Thumbprint Cookies on a brown-rimmed white plate

Once the cookies are baked, we add a simple caramel filling made with just two ingredients. It can be made in either the microwave or on the stovetop. I tend to make it in the microwave just for the sake of convenience, but either way works just fine.

While I like this filling recipe for its simplicity, you can certainly substitute a store-bought thick caramel sauce or your favorite recipe. And if you have a little bit left over, then I feel confident you’ll find a good use for it.

Caramel Pecan Thumbprint Cookies on a wire rack and a wooden surface

Think beyond caramel, too! Try other fillings like jams or ganache or whatever else you can dream up. Try different nuts, too, if you like. I think you’ll find that this recipe can be quite versatile when it comes to flavors.

I’ve been embracing smaller batches lately, so I love that this recipe makes about a dozen cookies. If you want more, it will scale nicely. But otherwise, it’s nice to embrace a small batch of cookies to enjoy with just a few of your favorite cookie lovers.

Find more cookie recipes in the Recipe Index.

More Thumbprint Cookie Recipes

Yield: about 12 cookies

Caramel Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 34 minutes

Rich caramel fills these soft, nutty cookies for a sweet, gooey, crunchy treat!

overhead view of Caramel Pecan Thumbprint Cookies on a wire rack

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup (67g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (90g) finely chopped pecans

For the caramel filling:

  • 2 ounces (56g) soft caramels (about 7-8 caramels)
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons (22ml) heavy cream

Instructions

To make the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and mix well. Mix in the vanilla.
  4. Add the flour mixture, and mix just until combined.
  5. Using a tablespoon of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls.
  6. Place the egg white in a small, shallow bowl and the pecans in another shallow bowl.
  7. Coat each ball of dough in the egg white and then roll in the pecans.
  8. Place the cookies on the prepared pan, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Press an indentation in the center of each ball of dough, using something like the end of a wooden spoon handle.
  9. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until browned.
  10. Cool the cookies on the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. (If necessary, carefully re-shape the indentation in the cookies right after they come out of the oven.) Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the caramel filling:

  1. Place the caramels and cream in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Heat at half-power in 30-second intervals until the caramels have melted. (Alternately, heat on medium-low on the stovetop until melted.) Stir until smooth.
  3. Fill the indentations of the cooled cookies with the caramel. Allow the filling to set before serving.

Notes

Cookie recipe slightly adapted from Taste of Home.

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