Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

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Coconut Thumbprint Cookies are the ultimate combination of macaroons and shortbread and filled with Nutella! 

After trying these Coconut Thumbprint Cookies, you’ve got to try raspberry-almond Thumbprint Cookies, these perfect Shortbread Cookies, or these delicious Macaroons!

Photo of a stack of Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

Welcome to Day #3 of Christmas cookie recipes and my personal favorite: Coconut Thumbprint Cookies. These cookies are insanely good — soft, buttery, coconutty, and filled to the brim with Nutella®. What more could you ask for in a bite of a cookie?!

While these cookies are a bit time consuming to make, they are simple to make and well worth the effort. These cookies are definitely unique and would make the perfect addition to a Christmas cookie exchange!

Process shots: making the dough for Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

How to make these cookies:

  • Start with the cookie base: Beat together the butter and sugars until creamy and light (see picture above to the right). You don’t want the butter melted at all for these cookies!
  • Next, add in the egg and extracts. The secret to a super coconutty-flavored cookie? COCONUT EXTRACT! (You can find coconut extract next to other baking extracts in the store.)
  • Then we add in coconut — make sure you use sweetened coconut flakes for these cookies. Add in salt and cornstarch. The cornstarch keeps these cookies soft and chewy!
  • Then we add in flour and the dough is done! The trick here is to SPOON AND LEVEL the flour measurement. 
    • Instead of pressing a measuring cup into a bag/container of flour (which PACKS in the flour giving you too much), use another measuring cup to spoon flour into your measuring cup. Use the back of a butter knife to scrape the measurement to the top of the measuring cup. This ensures you get the right amount of flour.
  • Measure cookie balls by using a tablespoon measuring spoon — gently pack in the dough, level it off, and that is how much dough you need per cookie. Roll that dough in a ball and chill for at least one hour.
  • Bake the cookies being careful to not overbake (this makes all the difference in a soft and chewy cookie) and then press in the center with a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon
  • Let the cookies cool and fill them up with Nutella!

QUICK TIP

Even though these cookies are called thumbprint cookies, using your thumb to make the indentation doesn’t work nearly well as using a measuring spoon. Your thumb will cause too much spreading. Use a light touch with the measuring spoon for the perfect-sized divots that will hold that delicious Nutella filling!

Process shots: adding coconut, salt and corn starch to the cookie dough.

Tips for making these Coconut Thumbprint Cookies:

  • As with all cookies that rely heavily on butter, make sure to use high-quality butter (no margarine or butter spreads!).
  • Room temperature ingredients are important for these cookies; don’t melt the butter or the texture and consistency will be off.
  • Use a fresh bag of coconut. If you have a bag that’s been sitting in your pantry for a bit and the coconut isn’t super soft, your cookies won’t be nearly as soft or flavorful. Use a new bag and make sure the coconut is super soft.

Process shots: scooping dough to make cookie balls

Making these cookies nut free:

Nutella is made from hazelnuts so to replace that, you can use a chocolate spread (like this Cadbury® milk chocolate spread) or make your own chocolate filling to add to these cookies.

To make your own chocolate filling: Combine 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter with 3/4 cup of chocolate (Use your favorite–dark, milk, or semi-sweet; I like milk chocolate best!) in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave mixture in bursts of 15 seconds, stirring in between each burst for 10 seconds until melted and smooth. Use this in place of the Nutella!

Process shots: making an indentation and filling it with Nutella

Storing these Coconut Thumbprint Cookies:

These cookies are best eaten within 1-2 days of being made. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Baked cookies don’t freeze as well, but the unbaked dough freezes beautifully! TO FREEZE: Drop the tablespoon-sized cookie dough balls on a large sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the frozen cookie dough balls to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. TO BAKE: You can bake straight from the freezer; just add 1-3 minutes onto the cooking time. Alternatively, thaw the dough in the fridge and bake according to directions.

A stack of Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

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Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies are the ultimate combination of macaroons and shortbread and filled with Nutella! 
Print Recipe

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies are the ultimate combination of macaroons and shortbread and filled with Nutella! 
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Coconut Thumbprint Cookies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Chilling Dough 1 hour
Total Time 38 minutes
Servings 50 small thumbprint cookies
Calories 108kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract (find near other baking extracts)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (make sure your coconut is fresh and SOFT)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 and 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour, measured by spooning and leveling (see post)
  • Nutella (about 1/2 cup depending on how full you fill the thumbprints!)

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, beat together the room temperature butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Beat in the egg, egg yolk, coconut extract, and vanilla extract until just combined.
  • Add in the sweetened flaked coconut, sea salt, and cornstarch. Beat to combine. Finally, add in the flour and mix until JUST combined.
  • Lightly pack a one-tablespoon measuring spoon and level it off. This is the exact size of the dough you need! Roll that dough into a ball and place it on a parchment paper-lined tray or plate. Cover and chill for one hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove from the fridge and place 1 inch apart on a parchment or Silpat-lined tray. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until no longer glossy on top and very lightly browned on the edges. Be careful to not overbake, as you'll lose texture and flavor.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 minute. Press a 1/4-teaspoon measuring spoon into the center of each cookie. Remove cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  • Transfer a few tablespoons (at a time) of Nutella into a small plastic bag. Seal the bag and cut off the tip with scissors. "Pipe" the Nutella into the center of each cookie.
  • Enjoy cookies within 1-2 days of making. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Nut-free chocolate filling: Nutella contains hazelnuts. If you'd like to make your own nut-free chocolate filling: Combine 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter with 3/4 cup of chocolate (Use your favorite--dark, milk, or semi-sweet; I like milk chocolate best!) in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave mixture in bursts of 15 seconds, stirring in between each burst for 10 seconds until melted and smooth. Use this in place of the Nutella!

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 35mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 122IU | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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