Gingerbread and thumbprint cookies are two holiday classics—and now you can combine them into one delicious package! These Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies pair a tender spiced gingerbread cookie with a rich dark chocolate filling for a new twist on old favorites.
Although there’s no reason you can’t enjoy gingerbread year-round, it’s especially delightful during the holiday season. The cozy spices, the rich molasses flavor—it just gives you that warm fuzzy feeling, right? But if you’re looking for a different take on gingerbread, these gingerbread thumbprint cookies are for you.
Basically, they take the concept of a thumbprint cookie and swap the traditional dough with a soft gingerbread and replace the usual jam with rich chocolate filling to amp up the decadence factor.
Like my strawberry cheesecake cookies and peanut butter and jelly cookies, these gingerbread thumbprint cookies surprisingly easy to make—just roll your dough into balls, press your thumb in the center, bake, and fill with chocolate!
Why You’ll Love Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies
- Gingerbread, with an upgrade – A ganache-like filling takes a classic gingerbread cookie to the next level.
- Soft and chewy – If you’re not a fan of the crisp texture of most gingerbread cookies, you’ll appreciate that these stay soft even after cooling, with just a little bit of crispiness on the edges.
- Perfect for gifting – This is a cookie that stands up well to transportation and packaging, making it ideal for holiday gifts.
- Versatile – If dark chocolate isn’t your thing, you can use an array of other fillings. Make them your own!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Unsalted butter – Using unsalted butter gives you more control over the flavor of the recipe.
- Molasses – Molasses adds a rich flavor and color to the dough.
- Sugar – Although the molasses adds sweetness, we also need additional sugar.
- Egg – Let this come to room temperature.
- Pure vanilla extract – I highly recommend pure vanilla, not imitation.
- All-purpose flour – Lightly spoon this into the measuring cup instead of scooping it.
- Salt – Just a bit for balance.
- Baking soda – This is what gives the gingerbread thumbprint cookies rise.
- Spices – Ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- Chopped dark chocolate – Use a high-quality brand for best results.
- Butter – This creates a rich, creamy consistency similar to ganache.
- To make these gingerbread thumbprint cookies gluten-free, simply use a measure-for-measure gluten-free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour.
- For some added crunch and sparkle, roll the unbaked cookie dough in granulated, sanding, or Demerara sugar before making the thumbprints.
- Use your favorite jam or even salted caramel in place of the chocolate filling.
- Sifter – Sifting isn’t just for breaking up lumps in your dry ingredients—it also makes them lighter and airier, for an improved texture.
- Hand mixer – While you can cream the butter and sugar by hand, it’s much easier if you have an electric hand mixer or stand mixer.
How to Make
- Mix the wet ingredients – Beat the butter until it’s creamy, then beat in the brown sugar and molasses. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix on high speed.
- Add the dry ingredients – Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix to form a dough.
- Form the cookies – Portion the dough into tablespoon-sized balls, then place them on a baking sheet and make an indentation in the centers.
- Chill – Transfer the cookie balls to the freezer and chill. Preheat the oven near the end of the chilling time.
- Bake – Place the pan in the oven and bake for 9 to 10 minutes, then press the center indentation again. Let the cookies cool completely.
- Make the chocolate filling – Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, then spoon the mixture into the thumbprints. Let the chocolate set before serving.
- Save time by using pre-made gingerbread cookie dough or a boxed gingerbread mix instead of making your own from scratch.
- If you need to reuse the same baking sheet, you’ll need to let it cool completely between batches. Adding cookie dough to a hot pan can cause it to spread or over-bake on the bottoms.
- Give your gingerbread thumbprint cookies some holiday flair by adding festive sprinkles to the chocolate filling.
How to Store
Room Temperature – Gingerbread thumbprint cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days.
Refrigerate – Refrigerate in an airtight container for 10 to 12 days.
Freeze – These cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow them to cool completely before freezing in an airtight container or freezer bag. Let the cookies thaw at room temperature before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
For that classic gingerbread flavor, I recommend dark molasses. If you’re not a fan of molasses flavor but still want to make gingerbread, light molasses is milder.
The type and amount of fat used in the recipe will determine how soft or hard your gingerbread cookies will be. Soft cookies are usually made with butter, while harder, crunchier cookies use oil or less fat. Additionally, baking time can affect the texture; shorter baking times will result in softer cookies while longer baking times yield crispier results.
To prevent the edges of your thumbprint cookies from cracking, be sure to press down lightly when creating the indentation with your thumb or spoon so there is enough space for the filling without over-stretching the cookie.
Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup molasses
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
- 1 tablespoon butter
- In a bowl take butter and beat using an electric hand mixer until creamy, next add brown sugar and molasses and beat on medium-high speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract, and beat at high speed for 2 minutes.
- Sift and add flour, salt, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into the mixture and mix all together to form a dough.
- Scoop the cookie dough into a 1 tablespoon-sized ball and roll very well. Use your thumb or the rounded back of a teaspoon to gently press an indent in the center of the cookie balls.
- Transfer the cookie balls to the freezer and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C.
- Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes. Repress the center indent while the cookies are still warm. let it cool completely.
- To make the filling, melt chocolate and butter in a microwave at 20 seconds intervals, mixing well after each cycle and reheating as necessary. Spoon the melted chocolate into the thumbprints and let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.
- Serve and enjoy!