December 5: Salted Dulce de Leche Thumbprint Cookies



  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. dulce de leche
  • 2 T sea salt


  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and egg yolk.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt. Stir with a whisk. Gradually stir the flour into the butter and mix just into blended.
  • Shape the dough into a ball, cover, and chill for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Shape the dough into 1 T size balls and place them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using your thumb or the back of a teaspoon, press a slight indentation in the center of each ball. Take care not to press too hard down. If the edges crack while make the indention, simply pinch them back together to smooth them out. Otherwise cracks are okay.
  • Fill the indents with 1/4 teaspoon dulce de leche. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottom edges are slightly browned.
  • Cool the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle the tops lightly with sea salt.

My man-friend had a birthday (shocking!) and a mom (even more shocking, considering he had a birthday) that shared with me some cookie recipes she’s made over the years. This was taken from a print out I took a picture of while we were at his mom and dad’s place for a birthday celebration. I can’t quite remember if she said she made this cookie often or not, because she and I split a bottle of chardonnay before (and a little during) dinner.

But I took the fact that I had pictures of recipes in my phone the next morning as a good sign that we had a lovely conversation about Christmas cookies.

The dough came together pretty well. I put it in the fridge for an hour, and when I got it out, I realized my fridge may be set a little too cool.

When I went to ball the dough, I had to sort of chip away at it. But it worked and eventually all the dough thawed out.

I like thumbprint cookies, and I definitely like dulce de leche, so this is one I was looking forward to.

And I really can’t believe I’ve never baked with dulce de leche. Or bought it before. Or bought two before, opened both and ate the first one while I baked with the other.

Just add spoon.

At the end of the recipe, you’re supposed to put sea salt on these. I don’t have sea salt. And it was 1 a.m., and I was in my pajamas and not about to leave the house for sea salt.

But they are pretty good, even without sea salt.

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