Salted Ganache Thumbprints Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies aka Swedish Hallongrotta

Chocolate Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies are the perfect treat for teatime or dessert! These are loaded with chocolate flavor with a chocolate shortbread cookie and rich chocolate ganache filling. A sprinkle of sea salt adds a decadent finish!

What are Hallongrotta or Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies?

These delicious cookies are known as Thumbprint Cookies to most people but they were originally known as Hallongrotta, which means ‘raspberry cave’ in Swedish. These Swedish pastries (cookies) are tender chocolate shortbread cookie dough that is traditionally filled with raspberry jam.

Thumbprint cookies are a classic cookie on every holiday baking tray and they are perfect for beginning bakers. They are also very quick to put together and don’t require any chilling!

How to Make Perfect Thumbprint in your Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

OK, so these may be called thumbprint cookies but I have found that simply making a thumbprint in the center of a dough ball tends to cause the dough to crack which can lead to the filling oozing out.

A quick and easy workaround to get the perfect indentation without cracking the dough is to use a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon. This is just the right size to make the indentation for the filling without cracking the cookie.

It is also important to roll the dough until it is firm with no cracks BEFORE you attempt to add the thumbprint. If the dough is not rolled until it is smooth, it is more likely to crack.

Simple and Adjustable Ingredients

This recipe for Salted Ganache Chocolate Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies contains ingredients that most people have on hand most of the time. The great thing is that you can change up the fillings to suit your taste and the contents of your pantry!

Filling Variations

  • NUTS – If you don’t like salt on your chocolate ganache, sprinkle these thumbprint cookies with chopped and toasted hazelnuts (or any other nut that you like).
  • CARAMEL – Fill the cookies after baking with a thick caramel sauce. It can be homemade or store bought!
  • JAM – You can use jam as a filling instead of ganache. I recommend filling the cookies with the jam BEFORE baking. This ensures that the jam sets in the cookie and caramelizes a bit which adds amazing flavor! Raspberry jam is traditional and is amazing with the chocolate cookie but use any type that you like!
thumbprint cookies

The Cookie Ingredients

These cookie ingredients are common in most kitchens.

If you don’t want a chocolate cookie, just substitute more all-purpose flour for the cocoa powder.

Feel free to leave out the caramel bits if you don’t have them or don’t like them. (I’ll tell you a secret – I only used them here because my husband bought them by accident and I didn’t want them to go to waste!)

I have used egg yolks only in this recipe. This keeps the cookies soft and also adds richness to the flavor. If you want a crisper cookie, you can use the whole eggs.

Brown sugar adds a depth of flavor that I love plus a bit of moisture to the cookie dough. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute white granulated sugar for the brown sugar in the recipe.

DIY Homemade Brown Sugar

You can also make your own brown sugar at home!
Just put a cup of granulated sugar in a blender or food processor and add 1 teaspoon molasses for light brown sugar or up to 3 teaspoons molasses for dark brown sugar. Pulse until well combined.

Commonly Asked Questions

How do I keep my Thumbprint Cookies from cracking?

Ensuring that the dough balls are rolled until smooth is the best way to make sure that your thumbprint shortbread cookies don’t crack during or after baking. If there are small cracks in the dough prior to baking, there will get bigger in the oven.

Do I fill thumbprint cookies before or after baking?

The filling that you are using will determine whether you fill the thumbprint before or after baking. Jam fillings can be added wither before or after baking. If filling with jam before baking, the jam will caramelize which adds additional flavor and texture. If adding the jam after baking, the jam will stay loose and have a fresh taste but the cookies will now require refrigeration.

If you are filling your thumbprint cookies with caramel or chocolate ganache, the cookies should be filled after baking and cooling completely.

How do I keep my thumbprint cookies from spreading?

If you have a problem with your cookies spreading, chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. I haven’t had a problem with this dough spreading but if your kitchen is warm or the butter was very, very soft when you made the dough, a little chilling will help hold the shape.

Tips for Success

  • Using room temperature ingredients will ensure that your batter is smooth and mixes together evenly so make sure to get the butter and eggs out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before making the dough.
  • Re-do the thumbprint indentations immediately after the cookies come out of the oven. This will make sure that you have a defined and deep space for your filling!
  • Cool the thumbprint cookies completely before adding fillings that don’t need to be baked. Caramel and ganache should not be baked with the cookie. Add them after baking. If you choose to fill with jam, you can choose to fill before or after but I prefer to fill with jam before baking to allow some caramelization.

How to Store

Since Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies have a high percentage of butter, the dough and the baked cookies will both freeze very well. Just make sure that you don’t add the filling prior to freezing!

To freeze the dough, you can wrap the dough in a solid block, well wrapped in plastic wrap and a freezer bag. You can also form the dough balls, make the thumbprint indentation and place them on a lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid. Put the frozen dough balls in a freezer bag or container and bake from frozen. Add about 2 minutes to the baking time. Cool completely and fill.

After baking your cookies, you should store these thumbprint cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature. If you have filled the cookies with jam after baking, the cookies will need to be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.

If you love cookies, check some of my other cookie recipes!

Viennese Whirls

Ginger Crinkle Cookies

Amazing Gingerbread Cookies

Linzer Cookies

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Chocolate cookies with chocolate ganache center, sprinkled with sea salt on a white wood plank background

Salted Ganache Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint Cookies are the perfect holiday cookie or for anytime you need a treat! These are loaded with chocolate flavor with a chocolate sugar cookie and rich chocolate ganache filling. A sprinkle of sea salt is the perfect finish!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 26
Calories 156 kcal



  • 226 grams 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 165 grams 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250 grams 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 40 grams 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup Kraft Caramel Bits optional
  • 85 grams 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 85 grams 3 ounces heavy whipping cream or full-fat coconut milk
  • Sea Salt or chopped toasted Hazelnuts to sprinkle on top


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and the brown sugar until well incorporated and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the egg yolks and the vanilla and mix until fully combined.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine and then add to the butter mixture, about one cup at a time, with the mixer running on low. Mix until all of the dry ingredients disappear into the butter mixture.
  • If you are using the Kraft Caramel Bits, pour into the cookie dough and mix in with a spatula.
  • Using a cookie scoop, scoop out about 2 teaspoons of the mixture and roll into a ball. Place on the prepared baking sheets and then use your thumb to gently push down in the center. Be careful not to push all the way through. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until set around the edges. Remove from the oven and use a small spoon to push down the indentation in the center. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Place the finely chopped chocolate in a bowl. Put the heavy cream or coconut milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds and then stir. Heat for another 30 seconds. It should be bubbling a bit around the edges but not boiling.
  • Pour the very hot cream over the chocolate and place a bowl on top to trap the steam. Set aside for 5 minutes and then stir until completely smooth. Allow to sit at room temperature until thickened, about 1 hour.
  • Place 1 teaspoon of the ganache into the indentation in each cookie. Allow to dry at room temperature for several hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with sea salt or hazelnuts.


Serving: 1cookieCalories: 156kcalCarbohydrates: 16.6gProtein: 2gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2.5gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 80mgPotassium: 65mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 85IUVitamin C: 0.02mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1.3mg
Keyword chocolate cookie, ganache, how to make ganache, how to make thumbprint, thumbprint cookie
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