Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Dulce de leche is all the rage right now. I had never heard of it ten years ago and now it seems to be everywhere from a flavour in specialty coffee, cheesecake, ice cream and more. Originating in Southern America, dulce de leche literally means “candy of milk” or “milk jam”. I love that name – Milk jam – YUM!

Essentially, dulce de leche is a type of caramel made from sweetened condensed milk. For people like me, dulce de leche is like crack! I can, and have, scooped spoonfuls of the stuff out of the jar and ate it. Delish I tell you! Drizzle some on your ice cream, spread it on a peanut butter sandwich, scone, or pancake. The possibilities are endless with dulce de leche.

I love how accessible international foods are now. For those not wanting to make dulce de leche at home, there are plenty of brands available at most grocery stores. I keep a jar or two on my pantry shelf for any time that the caramel craving hits!

These thumbprint cookies I want to share with you taste totally amazing. They actually remind me of a Twix chocolate bar. The Β shortbread cookie with dulce de leche and chocolate drizzle on top make this the greatest thumbprint cookie I have ever had.

The picture to the left is before they are baked and the picture to the right is after. As you can see, the cookies spread out a little during the baking. It may be necessary to repress the indentation after baking.

Once the cookies have cooled completely, spoon some dulce de leche in each thumbprint. Drizzle some melted chocolate on top.

Just look at those cookies! I am glad I have some more on the counter. I think I will have a couple more once I am done this post!

Course Cookie
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Author Steve Cylka


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup dulce de leche
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • Preheat oven to 325F
  • Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and salt until smooth. Slowly mix in the flour until the dough is an even consistency and comes away from the bowl.
  • Roll the cookies in 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart. Using your thumb, or the cap from a Chapstick tube, press down in the centre of each ball to create an indentation.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes. The cookies should just start to brown along the bottom edges. Remove from the oven. If desired, repress the indentations (they rise a bit during baking).
  • Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Spoon some dulce de leche in each thumbprint.
  • Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave, using a double boiler, or a bowl resting on a pot of barely boiling water. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Using a knife or pastry bag, drizzle the chocolate on top of the cookies.


About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.


  1. Holy cow you’re clever! I just love these cookies!

  2. those cookies look amazing – perfect circles. I love the sound of milk jam, too… I may have to start calling it that.

    milk jam cookies. yep, I like it!

  3. These look amazing!
    Do you have a recipe or link for your dulce de leche?

  4. Thanks Steve! They are soooo deicious! You make it look so easy to bake.

  5. These cookies will go great with my Dulce de Leche ice cream! <3

  6. How many cookies does this recipe make, and how long do the cookies keep?

    You said the center ‘well’ contains dulce le leche, but from the photos, it looks just like the chocolate that’s drizzled over the top.

    • the recipe makes about 24 cookies and they should stay good in an airtight container for 3-5 days. They never last that long in our house! πŸ™‚ Dulce de leche is a deep caramel colour and I used milk chocolate so yes the filling and the drizzle did look similar in colour.

  7. Those have to be the most perfect little thumbprint cookies I’ve ever seen. And the addition of dulce de leche? Brilliant!

  8. OH MY! These are just brilliant steve! They look so pretty and perfect. Using dulce le leche as the filling is just genius! πŸ™‚

  9. This is a good reminder to me of how talented you are when it comes to cookies, I remember your holiday cookies very well.
    These look so picture perfect-they need to go in a bakery front window. I would surely have to buy some. Deliciously done Steve!

  10. These look too pretty to be real! But I’ll take your word for it and try them on for size… maybe next weekend. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  11. perfect looking cookies delicious pictures

  12. WOW! These are stunning….

  13. These look so melt-in-your-mouth scrumptious and gorgeous!! My Brazilian neighbor introduced me to dulce de leche a while back…so wonderful!

  14. These cookies look amazing! Beautiful!!

  15. These are stunning, Steve! I love dulce-de-leche. Love the combo with chocolate too!

  16. Yum, Steve! Love the beautifully draped caramel! These would accompany a cup of coffee wonderfully.

  17. those are perfect looking thumbprints!

  18. Best, easiest way in the world to make your own dulce de leche…. Take a can of sweetened condensed milk, remove the label and DO NOT OPEN THE CAN. Put in your crockpot and totally cover with water, about an inch over the top of the can. Set the crockpot on low and let it go for 8 hours. Take out and immediately put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. When you open the can it beautiful caramel color and the BEST dulce de leche ever, and easiest!

  19. Steve, these are meticulous!
    Perfectly shaped, filled and drizzled…
    How do you get them in such a uniform shape, both before and after baking?
    I wish I could get my cookies to look like this.
    Is there any tip you may be willing to offer?
    Thank you for posting the recipe and these fantastic photos!

    • Thanks! Best tips I could say is to take it slowly. I normally do not try to be this careful if they are not going to be photographed. They taste the same even if they are a bit messy!! πŸ™‚

  20. Can we fill jam in these cookies?
    And about how much dough is to be taken for each cookie (I never get the inches right πŸ™ ) ? About 1 tbsp?

  21. I made these this afternoon and they are really, really good. I just have one question. The Dulce de Leche was kind of on the thick side and when I put it in the thumbprint impression it was hard to make smooth as it stuck to the little spoon and my fingers. Can you warm it just a bit to make it smooth like the pictures you have? Did you use semi sweet chips or milk chocolate? Overall, these are great cookies and you can’t eat just one πŸ™‚

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