Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel

 Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel via The Baker Chick

As I mentioned in my last post, my good friend Hiba had a beautiful baby girl earlier this week. She’s lucky enough to have her Mama in town for awhile to cook and help her around the house, so I figured I’d bring more treats instead of practical food items.  Also- from the moment I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it for when her baby came. Remember these Coconut-Caramel Cupcakes I made last year for her 30th b-day? They were her favorite cupcakes ever so I thought these cookies would be a winning combo.

These beauties consist of a shortbread-like dough that is rolled in coconut. After giving the dough balls a signature “thumbprint” indentation, you bake them up until they are golden and crisp. Then you spoon in some melty caramel, sprinkle on some sea salt, and you’re good to go. These cookies are crisp, chewy, sweet, and nutty with just a hint of salt. They may be one of my favorite cookie recipes EVER. The recipe makes a ton of cookies, so the whole rolling into balls, dipping into coconut, thumbprint thing was a tad time consuming- but so worth it. If I had chosen to make these at a time of day other that 11 PM, I may have even added a chocolate drizzle to make them that much yummier. (Next time maybe?)

PS- I haven’t mentioned how wedding planning is going in awhile. Maybe that’s because now that I’ve booked all my vendors, there is a bit of a lull in activity. :) Right now I’m trying to decide what to do about desserts. I haven’t had much luck so far finding a bakery that I think is amazing, (especially when I just want cupcakes and I know I can make them myself.) Would baking 200 cupcakes the day before my wedding be a huge mistake? Anyway- onto the recipe :)

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel

Yield: 54 cookies


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • 44 small soft caramel candies (12 oz.)
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Flaky Sea Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Beat together butter and sugar with mixer on medium speed until it is pale and fluffy, then add vanilla.
  2. With mixer on low, add flour a little at a time 1/2 tsp salt and beat to combine.
  3. Using plastic wrap, press dough together to make it a bit flat, and roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. (I recommend doing all the rolling before you start the dipping.)
  4. Using a spoon, dip each ball into the beaten egg, let excess egg drip off, and then roll in coconut. (I had to use my fingers/the spoon to help make sure all the dough balls were covered evenly with coconut. Don't worry if you get messy!)
  5. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and press an indentation of your thumb into each cookie.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove sheet from oven and re-press indentations.
  7. After that, put the sheet back in the oven and bake for another 9-10 minutes or until golden. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough. (Cookies will be hot- do this quickly!)
  8. For Caramel:
  9. Place unwrapped caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels have melted and the mixture is smooth, 4-6 minutes. Spoon caramel into the indentations of each cookie and sprinkle with sea salt. If the caramel starts to harden, rewarm it on low heat! (Store in airtight containers for up to 2 days.)

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living Feb 2012

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 Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel via The Baker Chick  Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel via The Baker Chick  Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel via The Baker Chick

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  1. says

    Yum! These look absolutely gorgeous and so simple if you’re in need of an immediate sugar fix!

    Re wedding plans – I’m sure you would make incredible cupcakes but don’t you think it would be a bit stressful? My advice is leave it in someone else’s hands so you get the most out of your day :-)

  2. healthyfoodietravels says

    Oh man, two of my absolute favorites! I loove coconut, and salted caramel is such a perfect treat. These will challenge my self control, but I think i will just have to make them.

  3. Erica says

    Please, don’t succumb to the temptation to make your own wedding cupcakes! It probably seems like a great idea now, especially when you’ve probably had a few not-so-fresh wedding cupcakes in the past… You could do WAY better, right? Be that as it may, the days leading up to the wedding are WAY too stressful to be thinking about baking! Find a bakery you absolutely love (there’s gotta be one – its New York!) and let them handle it for you… Your job is to enjoy your day!

    If you have a sister, maybe she’ll let you bake the cupcakes for her wedding?

  4. says

    Erica- if I were getting married in NYC it would be a no brainer- but I’m actually tying the knot in Milwaukee. There are a few options there, but nothing has blown me away. I’m sure you’re right and that I’d regret it….I just find making good cupcakes pretty easy and paying hundreds of dollars for mediocre ones bums me out. :)

  5. says

    Cookies look great – fun treat for your friend.
    Are you getting married back in WI. Carl’s Cakes and Dan’s Pastries (I think that is their names) are based out of Madison and they have amazing stuff. Milwaukee isn’t that far away, cupcakes would be easy to transport if you liked them!

  6. says

    ohhhh my gosh, i’m in love! these are beautiful & sound perfect!! i’m totally make these asap!! love them :)

    glad to hear that all of your vendors are booked… that’s one of the more stressful parts of planning. good luck finding a good bakery (i know you’d make awesome cupcakes, but you don’t want the added stress right before your huge day!)

  7. Leslie says

    OMG! These sound so good!!! Glad I’m not doing sweets right now or I’d be tempted to make a batch IMMEDIATELY!

  8. says

    These sound so tasty! I love the coconut and caramel combo, must try soon!
    And as far as cupcakes, you might not want to have to worry about making, frosting, and transporting cupcakes the day before your wedding? But if you can do it, more power to you girl!

  9. SamanthaFrommHaddow says

    Drizzle on some chocolate and nearly have a Samoa! Though I vaguely recall you making those in bar form several months ago

  10. Amalia says

    Wow, these look heavenly! Coconut is one of my all-time favorite foods so this recipe is just awesome :) And that salted caramel is just amazing, I mean it doesn’t get any better than that! Fabulous recipe, I can’t wait to see your next one :)

  11. says

    What a lovely idea Audra! Coconut in a thumbprint cookies just sound so delicious! You did wonderful job..and hey day before your wedding day, just take a “me time”
    relax and baking!!!!lol!
    Have a wonderful weekend!!!

  12. says

    Well these look absolutely delicious! I have no doubt that you can make amazing cupcakes, but I suspect that it’s best left to someone else the eve of your wedding!

  13. says

    I just made these, and although I was nervous about not putting eggs into the dough they turned out GREAT. They are my new go-to dessert for parties, etc. Thanks for sharing!

  14. says

    So glad you liked them! I know what you mean about the eggs- but the texture is great right? I found the caramels made them super chewy. Enjoy :)

  15. Deesoccer2 says

    I am making these and I am hoping for the best. They seem like a delish cookie but when you put your thumbprint, some started falling apart. I consider myself a very good baker but these were hard to work with. If you could go into a bit more detail on this recipe it might help others. (like, should you roll in coconut and then adhere it to the balls by using both hands to press the coconut into them like a ball again, etc.).When I took them out of the oven the first time, I was able to get a little better indent but most of them weren’t the perfect circular shape like the picture. I’ve now filled the cookies which takes awhile. But the finished product is really delish!! Thumbs up. just give more details to this recipe and it will be great!

  16. says

    Hey Dee- Sorry these were tricky for you. I found the dough really easy to roll into a ball and they didn’t fall apart when I imprinted them. After I rolled them in egg, I rolled them in coconut and pressed some of the loose pieces in with my fingers- but they still kept their round shape.

  17. EB says

    I made these and fell in love! A couple things I did:
    one: I beat the eggs with a mixer–keep it frothier. I used a melon ball “rounder” when I created the Balls. I added a bit of flour to the metal baller (too much flour will cause the baked cookie to fall apart–also if you transfer the finished twice baked cookie onto a rack too soon, it could crumble. –back to the melon baller. It made it easier to mold the dough into balls. I took two of the “flat balls” and rolled together to make one ball. –it worked and measured great!
    *there is a definite taste difference if you place them on aluminum foil–use only parchment paper
    *I would put approx 5 balls into the egg mixture and then into the coconut. Then I would take another 5 balls and put into the eggs and while rolling around the previous 5 in the coconut and placing onto cookie sheet would I then transfer the second set into the coconut–like an assembly line–
    *be sure to have everything ready and set up before getting started–
    *I used heavy whipping cream–don’t know if that differs from whipping cream–
    *I purchased caramels but they seemed a bit harder, it did take more then 5min to melt, but still was delis.
    *if you add too much whipping cream to the caramel, the caramel, when placed into the cookie, will harden some, but not at the same consistency if you added the exact amount (user error–I had first tasted these cookies from a friend and her caramel mixture had the perfect hard to almost hallow gooey inside the caramel–that’s why I knew I added too much whipping cream. What I should’ve done, and will do next time, if the mixture seems too thick, and I add too much whipping cream, I can always add a few more caramels to melt–but bare in mind this will impact the melting process

    THESE ARE DELICIOUS! I’m making them again this weekend!
    :) THANKS!!

  18. says

    Made these tonight in preparation for Valentine’s Day! They were super, super yummy. The dough was really crumbly before rolling them into balls, so I had to be extra careful when printing my thumb. (Upon second printing, I used the back of a 1/2 tsp. and it worked like a dream!) Thanks for posting!

  19. Hillary says

    I made these cookies for Valentine’s day and brought them to work -so I didn’t devour them all myself. I ended up splitting the dough and froze half so it’s ready to go for the next time I have sweet craving. My co-workers loved them and it is definitely a recipe to hang on to!

  20. Connie says

    I made these cookies last February while house sitting and I had access to a beautiful KitchenAid mixer. They are very likely my favorite thing ever! There were so many but somehow my boyfriend and another friend and I managed to eat them all in days. Thinking about trying them again soon but I don’t have a mixer so it will be interesting to do it by hand this time.

  21. Heylady0515 says

    I don’t know what I did wrong but my dough seemed to not cook. I left it in a bit longer but the dough seemed raw

  22. L_ashleem says

    So I just made these… very high maintenance cookie! Took about 4 hours from start to finish with very few breaks… and also I added about 10 tsp of milk because the dough does get very crumbly at about 3 cups of flour. Otherwise a pretty good cookie! Not sure i’d say it was worth quite that much work but good none the less.

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