Chocolate-Almond Thumbprint Cookies

This recipe will complete your cookie tray.

Chocolate-Almond Thumbprint Cookies
Photo: Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 15 mins
3 dozen

You've seen thumbprints filled with all kinds of jam, but this year, we're changing things up. Forget the Hershey's kiss—we're bringing a touch of indulgence to these holiday thumbprints with a rich swirl of chocolate ganache. The glossy cherry adds the perfect, festive touch to sophisticated Chocolate-Almond Thumbprint Cookies. These cookies will win adults over with their flavor and kids over with their whimsical charm.

In this recipe, a classic buttery thumbprint cookie gains crunch from chopped almonds and height from a fluffy chocolate filling. Filled with whipped chocolate ganache and topped with a stemmed maraschino cherry, these dramatically embellished sweets would be a perfect finish to any celebratory meal.

The base of these chocolate thumbprint cookies can be made ahead of time, but for the best results, we suggest filling and decorating them no more than a few hours before serving. Present these cookies on a pretty gold platter and enjoy with a cup of coffee (or, for the kids, a glass of milk).


  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda 

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened  

  • cup granulated sugar 

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup whole raw almonds, finely chopped

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream

  • 36 whole maraschino cherries with stems, patted dry (from 2 [10-oz.] jars) 


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add flour mixture, one-third at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

  2. Place chopped almonds in a small bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times until dough is smooth and comes together. Scoop a level tablespoon of dough, and roll it into a ball. Roll ball in chopped almonds. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

  3. Use back of a teaspoon to make a deep indentation in center of each dough ball.

  4. Place 1 baking sheet of cookies in refrigerator until ready to bake. Bake remaining baking sheet in preheated oven 8 minutes. Remove from oven, and use teaspoon to redo indentation in center of each ball. Return to oven, and bake until set and lightly golden on bottom, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet; transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Repeat procedure with remaining baking sheet of cookies.

  5. Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan over low until just beginning to bubble around edges, about 2 to 3 minutes. (Do not let cream boil, or it will be too hot for chocolate.) Pour hot cream over chocolate, and let stand 1 minute; whisk until smooth. Refrigerate chocolate mixture, stirring often so mixture cools evenly, about 15 to 20 minutes.

  6. Beat chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Transfer ganache to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe ganache in indentation in center of each cookie. Top each with a cherry. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.

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