These easy to make Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies are off the charts good. What's not to love about chewy peanut butter cookies filled with milk chocolate. It's a winning combination perfect for your Christmas cookie swap.
It's that time of year where we start to think of our favourite cookies to make during the Holiday season. My Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies, Ginger Snap Cookies and Traditional Shortbread are always popular.
These Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies are packed full of peanuts. Coated in crushed roasted peanuts, they're crunchy and salty on the outside. But the inside is soft and chewy from lots of peanut butter. The textural contrast is incredible!
I've filled these with a simple milk chocolate ganache that tastes like chocolate fudge! Move over PB n' J, say hello to this festive Christmas treat. The whole family will be sure to love these.
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Uses basic ingredients. All the ingredients are basic pantry or fridge staples. You'll have no problem at all finding the ingredients at your local store.
- Peanut forward taste. Filled with peanut butter there is no mistaking the taste. Rolling the balls in chopped salted peanuts adds that incredible salted flavour that works so well on cookies!
- Simple to make. These cookies are super simple to make. The kids will love them!
- Perfect for the holiday season. Add these peanut butter chocolate cookies into your cookie box this year. They're a family favourite cookie that everyone will adore!
🧾 Ingredients Needed
It's a pretty basic list of ingredients for these milk chocolate fudge peanut butter cookies . I've made a couple of notes worth reading below about the ingredients and what you can sub them for.
Peanut Butter Cookies
- Butter - I prefer to use unsalted butter so that I can control the salt added. Plus, they are rolled in salted peanuts so you don't want to go over board. Just make sure its at room temp- where, when pressed, your finger leaves and indent.
- Light brown sugar - The molasses in the sugar adds moisture to the dough which results in extra chewy and soft on the inside cookies. Sub half with granulated if you like.
- Flour - Use plain (all-purpose flour) rather than self-raising flour. For complete accuracy, measure out using digital scales.
- Peanut butter - I prefer the regular creamy smooth peanut butter. In the UK I love Sun Pat or if in the States then Jif or Skippy are good options. You can use crunchy peanut butter if you'd like extra crunch. Natural peanut butters that separate don't work well in these cookies as they change the texture.
- Crushed peanuts - A great way to add some texture to the cookies. If you love that salty sweet combination then roasted salted peanuts is the way to go. Otherwise use regular roasted peanuts. If you don't want to roll them in nuts then you can roll the dough balls in granulated or coarse sugar instead.
- Milk Chocolate - I've gone for a simple milk chocolate ganache. It's a bit gentler for those who don't like the strength of dark chocolate. But if you prefer you can use a 70% dark chocolate instead.
- Cream - Go for a double (heavy) cream rather than a light option.
- Jam Thumbprint Cookies: Scoop a ½ teaspoon of your favourite jam into each hollow before baking. You may need to warm the jam to loosen it first.
- Peanut Butter Blossoms: Don't fancy making the ganache - then you can use Hershey's Kisses instead. Roll the balls in granulated sugar instead of chopped peanuts, make the indent in the ball and bake, then pop an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss immediately on top when you pull them out of the oven.
- Nutella Thumbprint Cookies: Love Nutella? Replace the ganache with a ½ teaspoon of softened Nutella instead!
- Plain Peanut Butter Cookies: These cookies are delicious without the extras. Simply roll the balls, coat in granulated sugar (optional) then use the tines of a fork to press down to flatten the ball. They are deliciously soft and chewy!
- Almond Butter Thumbprint Cookies: You can sub out the peanut butter for another nut butter, like almond butter. Just make sure it's not the natural type.
👩🏻🍳 How to Make
This chocolate thumbprint cookie recipe is really easy to pull together. The most time consuming part is chopping the peanuts at the start (the finer the better to roll the dough in), and rolling out the balls!
Other than that- they're incredibly quick to make. Get the kids involved in rolling out the balls- lots of fun for them and makes it quicker!
I've used my stand mixer to make these as it's easily accessible, but you can use your hand held electric beater if you prefer.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Make the Thumbprint Cookies
STEP 1. Cream butter and sugar. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
Add the butter and light brown sugar to the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or so until pale and creamy. Make sure to scrape down the base and sides of the bowl (Image 1).
STEP 2. Mix in peanut butter, egg and vanilla. Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract into the bowl and beat for one minute, until combined. It will looked curdled to start with but will eventually come together and become smooth (Image 2).
Again scrape down the base and sides of the bowl.
TIP: Scrape down the base and sides of the bowl.
This is an under utilised step of baking! Do this periodically to ensure an even mixing of all the cookie dough.
STEP 3. Sift in dry ingredients and mix. Directly into the mixing bowl, sift in the flour, baking soda and salt. There's no need to dirty up any extra bowls! Mix on low speed until a dough forms (Images 3 & 4).
STEP 4. Scoop into balls. Scoop a full tablespoon of dough and roll into 2.5cm (1-in) sized balls in between the palm of your hands (Image 5). Roll until the balls are smooth on the surface to minimise the risk of cracking (Image 6).
TIP: Regular sized cookies
I use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion out the dough so that they're all the same size. If you don't have one either use your 1 tablespoon measure or weigh out 20 grams for each cookie ball.
Roll balls in the finely chopped peanuts (Image 7), then quickly roll again in the palm of your hands. This makes sure the nuts press into the ball and don't fall off.
Gently flatten the ball until it resembles a hockey puck (Image 8). When you press you thumb indent, the dough is less likely to crack if the ball is flattened rather than round. Place cookies 5 cm (2-in) apart on the prepared baking sheets.
TIP: If the dough is warm
There are two reasons you dough might be too warm.
- You used softened butter rather than room temperature butter.
- Your environment is very warm.
If you bake the cookies when the dough is too warm - they will spread and loose their shape.
So, once the balls are rolled and an indent is made, place the baking tray in the fridge or freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes. The dough will chill and the butter re-solidify.
STEP 5. Indent and bake. The baking soda in the dough makes the cookies puff in the oven. To get the dip in the middle, use your thumb to press and indent in the centre (Image 9).
Bake the cookies for between 8-10 minutes. Don't be tempted to bake them for longer to get golden cookies- you'll over bake them if you do this.
Remove the tray from the oven and if the dents have puffed up and lost definition, use the back of a teaspoon or measuring teaspoon to press in deeper indents (Image 10). This needs to be done when the cookies are straight out of the oven and hot. Set the tray aside for the cookies to cool. It doesn't take long.
Make the Chocolate Filling
STEP 6. Make the chocolate ganache. Whilst the cookies are baking, you can make the ganache. Heat the cream gently in a small saucepan on the stove top until just simmering around the edges.
Then add in the chopped chocolate and stir until fully melted and smooth (Image 11). Remove from the heat, pour the chocolate filling into a shallow bowl and refrigerate, stirring intermittently, to cool, just enough for a dollop to hold it's shape. It takes about 15 minutes to thicken.
STEP 7. Dollop onto cookies. Using a teaspoon, dollop chocolate ganache into the indent of each cookie (Image 12). Once all of them are filled, set aside for the chocolate to firm up. An option is to sprinkle with flaked salt too.
Easy Christmas Thumbprint Cookies
Christmas is all about cookie making and sharing with family and friends.
The chocolate fudge filling will set until it's non sticky but its still thick and soft- it never sets to rock hard. If you want to box these up to transport, then, place a layer of parchment paper to separate the chocolate centre cookies.
💭 Recipe Pro Tips
- Use digital scales for accuracy. Too much flour and the cookies will be dry.
- The butter should be at room temperature and not softened. Too warm and the cookies will spread in the oven.
- If the dough is warm, chill the cookie dough once the balls are rolled and an indent pressed into them.
- Use a cookie scoop for equal sized cookies.
- Yield: double the ingredients to increase the number of cookies.
📋 Recipe FAQs
Absolutely- it's a fantastic make ahead dough. You can refrigerate the dough in the mixing bowl covered for up to 2 days (it starts to dry out after this), then scoop and roll. Or refrigerate the balls on the baking tray.
They may have spread because the temperature of the butter or the cookie dough was too warm. If this is the case then pop the scooped balls on the baking tray into the fridge for one hour. This will help the butter to harden and cookies to retain their shape better.
Make sure to roll the dough until it's perfectly smooth. If it has any cracks in it, when you press your thumb into the ball, the existing crack in the ball will become accentuated in the cookie.
There a couple of areas that we can troubleshoot for this. Firstly, was the flour measured out by cups? If so you may have over measured and this casques a dry dough that once baked, will be crumbly. I suggest using digital scales for accuracy.
Or your you may have over baked them. They don't tend to brown like regular cookies, and will continue cooking whilst they cool. They really don't need any more than 8-10 minutes in the oven.
❄️ Storage and Freezer Instructions
To store: The cookies will stay fresh for up to 5 days in an air-tight container at room temperature.
To freeze: Freeze un-filled cookies in a lined, freezer-proof container, topping each layer with more baking paper, for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before filling.
🎄 More Christmas Cookie Recipes
If you tried this Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you!
Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookie
- 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 140 g light brown sugar
- 130 g smooth peanut butter
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 210 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 110 g salted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
- 200 g milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 100 ml double cream (heavy cream)
Make Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies
- Cream butter and sugar. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Add the butter and light brown sugar to the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or so until pale and creamy.
- Mix in peanut butter, egg and vanilla. Add the peanut butter, egg and vanilla extract into the bowl and beat for one minute, until smooth.
- Sift in dry ingredients and mix. Directly into the mixing bowl, sift in the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed until a dough forms.
- Scoop into balls. Scoop a full tablespoon of dough and roll into 2.5cm (1-in) sized balls in between the palm of your hands until smooth.Roll balls in the finely chopped peanuts and gently flatten the ball until it resembles a hockey puck. Place cookies 5 cm (2-in) apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Indent and bake. Use your thumb to press an indent in the centre of each cookie.Bake the cookies for between 8-10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and whilst hot, use the back of a teaspoon to press in deeper indents. Set the tray aside for the cookies to cool.
Make chocolate ganache and fill
- Make the chocolate ganache whilst the cookies are baking. Heat the cream gently in a small saucepan on the stove top until just simmering. Add in the chopped chocolate and stir until fully melted and smooth. Refrigerate the filling to cool, stirring intermittently, just enough for a dollop to hold it's shape. It takes about 15 minutes to thicken.
- Dollop onto cookies. Using a teaspoon, dollop chocolate ganache into the indent of each cookie. Once filled, set cookies aside for the filling to firm up. An option is to sprinkle with flaked salt too.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.