These are not your traditional thumbprint cookies. These subtly sweet, crumbly, European-style cookies are reminiscent of biscotti. As such, they’re perhaps best reserved for an adult palate rather than your second grader’s class party.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Nine chocolate thumbprint cookies and a chocolate covered spoon on a round wooden board.
5 / 3 votes
These chocolate thumbprint cookies are like a traditional thumbprint cookie except they’re filled with chocolate instead of jam. Because who doesn’t want a chocolate-filled chocolate cookie?
David Leite
Servings48 to 72 cookies
Calories114 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes


For the cookies

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups finely chopped pecans
  • Cocoa powder for dusting, (optional)

For the filling

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil


Make the cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Position the oven racks in the top third and center of the oven. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • Melt the chocolate in a small bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of simmering water or in a microwave-safe medium bowl on medium (50% power), stirring every 30 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let stand, stirring occasionally, until tepid but still fluid.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer set on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. 
  • Beat in the egg yolks, 1 at a time, followed by the melted chocolate and the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour mixture just until combined. (You can cover and refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours. Return to room temperature before continuing.)
  • Using a heaping teaspoonful (or more) for each cookie, roll the dough into marble-sized balls and place them on a platter. (Your yield will vary depending on the size of the cookies.)

    ☞ TESTER TIP: Forget your marble sizes? We did a little trial and error and found that we vastly prefer shooter-size blobs of dough as opposed to peewees, seeing as the bigger the blob, the softer and chewier the cookie.

  • Beat the egg whites in a small bowl until foamy. Place the pecans on a plate. One at a time, dip each dough ball in the whites, allowing any excess to drip off. Then roll the dough in the pecans and space the dough balls 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. 
  • Using the end of a wooden spoon, press an indentation into the center of each cookie. (If the tip of the spoon handle sticks to the cookie dough, simply dust it with a little cocoa.) Refrigerate any dough balls that don’t fit on the plate until ready to bake.
  • Bake the cookies, rotating the positions of the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the edges appear set, about 10 minutes. 
  • Remove the baking sheets from the oven, and, using the end of the wooden spoon, reform the center indentation in each cookie. Return to the oven and continue baking until the edges of the cookies are crisp, 5 to 10 minutes more, depending on their size. 
  • Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire cooling racks and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

Make the filling

  • Melt the chocolate and oil in a small bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of simmering water or in a microwave-safe medium bowl on medium (50% power), stirring at 30-second intervals. Stir until melted and smooth.
  • Using a teaspoon, fill the indentations on each cookie with some of the chocolate mixture. Let stand until the chocolate sets (or, if you're the impatient sort, you can refrigerate them to speed things up).
Tate's Bake Shop Baking for Friends

Adapted From

Baking For Friends

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Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 114 kcalCarbohydrates: 11 gProtein: 2 gFat: 7 gSaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 8 mgSodium: 17 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 6 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Kathleen King. Photo © 2012 Alexandra Rowley. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I love these cookies because they’re not overly sweet. I had refrigerated the dough and the hardest part was that when making the thumbprint, the chilled cookie dough would crumble a tad, so I had to try to fix them a little.

I made two versions, one with normal flour and the other with gluten-free flour. I noticed I had to add about 1 tablespoon more GF flour to get the same consistency as the first batch. I also made half a batch with the pecans and half without, and both were great even though the pecans do give a nice texture and taste.

I have a houseguest who is Italian and she didn’t rate these cookies a 10 only because she has a family biscotti recipe that she puts above it. We really liked these.

I cheated a little and rolled only half the dough in the egg whites and the pecans; the other half I just rolled, made indents, and baked. The ones rolled in the pecans are very good, just a tad drier (I really don’t mean that in a negative way). For the ones that I didn’t roll, I sprinkled the remaining chopped pecans on top of the melted chocolate. I used a small cork from an olive oil bottle to make my indentations. The dough stuck a bit to the cork so I dipped it in cocoa powder to help it release.

I’ll make these again—in fact I was thinking I might do these when I have the gals over for cookie baking day. Thinking I might put some espresso or mint in the chocolate filling. My houseguest and I are thinking of all kinds of variations on this cookie.

The perfect texture and flavor for this chocoholic. I loved the texture of the pecans and the cookies weren’t too sweet. I found it a tad difficult to keep the cookies from crumbling, but it wasn’t a big deal. I made one batch with the pecans and one without. I preferred the pecans to the plain ones. I used a cork to make my indentations. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


    1. Fantastic, clara! Chocolate and raspberry is always a delicious combination. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  1. It is really hard to resist the sweetness of chocolates. This recipe is divine and I really like the chocolate at the center. It looks great and not just your typical chocolate chip cookie.

    1. That’s exactly what we thought, Tabatha. Lovely to hear that you felt the same! Merry Christmas…