Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

5 from 1 vote

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Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies are soft and buttery, made with toasted nuts and Nutella. Italian inspired cookie recipe perfect for Christmas, mailing, freezing, and using for any dessert tray.
Closer view of Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies spread out on a white counter.

These soft and buttery Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies are made with toasted hazelnuts and filled with the popular chocolate hazelnut spread.

Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies on two small plates on a counter with more cookies and nuts around them.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

I am a huge fan of Italian cookies and love making them for the holidays, such as my Spumoni Sugar Cookies and Chocolate Chip Biscotti!

With this recipe, the classic thumbprint cookie recipe is elevated with Italian flavors of chocolate and hazelnut.

The cookie is made from toasted hazelnuts with a soft and buttery texture, and then filled with the popular chocolate hazelnut spread for a creamy center.

These Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies are perfect for your Christmas cookie exchange or any dessert platter.

Ingredients

You can find full quantities in the recipe card below.

These are the ingredients you need for this cookie recipe:

Hazelnuts

All Purpose Flour

Granulated Sugar

Unsalted Butter

Large Egg Yolk

Vanilla Extract

Salt

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread – such as Nutella

Closer view of Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies spread out on a white counter.

Instruction Overview

You can find more information on the ingredients and instructions in the recipe card below. Here I share more information about how these Italian cookies are made!

First toast your nuts and rub off most of the skins.

Use a food processor to blend the nuts with flour, sugar, and the salt.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar over medium high speed.

Add the egg yolk and vanilla, and blend to combine.

On low speed, slowly add the nut mixture until well combined.

Scoop out the dough in portions approximately 1 Tablespoon large.

Roll each piece of cookie dough into a ball.

Use a round half teaspoon, or something similar like the back of a wood spoon, and press indentations into the center of each dough ball.

Bake for about 10 minutes until just starting to set.

Remove from the oven and re-press the indentation into each cookie as they will have puffed up some.

Gently warm the chocolate spread so that it is easier to pour.

Fill each hole with the chocolate spread.

Finish baking and let cool before storing in an air tight container.

Modifications and Substitutions

Hazelnuts are the perfect pairing with chocolate, but you can also use almonds, walnuts, or pecans if desired.

Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies spread out on a counter, looking down on them, surrounded by whole hazelnuts.

Kim’s Tips

Making sure the dough is fully mixed is key. Dry pockets will cause excessive cracking and crumbling. I make sure to knead each portion in my hands a couple times before shaping to make sure it is mixed well.

Toasting your hazelnuts is a key step to really get a great nut flavor.

FAQs

Why did my thumbprint cookies flatten?

This can happen if there is too much butter.

Should thumbprint cookies be refrigerated?

There is no need to refrigerate thumbprint cookies.

Do thumbprint cookies mail well?

Yes, thumbprints mail well. Firmer and sturdy cookies are great to mail.

Where did thumbprint cookies originate?

Thumbprint cookies are the result of an Americanized version of a Swedish cookie recipe.

Can you freeze baked thumbprint cookies?

Yes, thumbprint cookies can be frozen but it is recommended to not add their filling until after freezing. You could do this without baking the filling inside the cookie and they will still taste great.

Two small white plates full of Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies with extra cookies and nuts scattered around them.
Pin of Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies on a small plate on a counter with title at top.

More Italian Cookies

Italian Cookies

Closer view of Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies spread out on a white counter.

Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies are soft and buttery, made with toasted nuts and Nutella. Italian inspired cookie recipe perfect for Christmas, mailing, freezing, and using for any dessert tray.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate Save Recipe
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: International
Keyword: Holiday, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 22 cookies
Calories: 137kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup hazelnuts
  • 5 ounces all purpose flour (1 cup)
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened (1 stick, 1/2 cup)
  • 2 ⅓ ounces granulated sugar (1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • pinch salt
  • ½ cup chocolate hazelnut spread more or less as needed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350℉ (177℃) with racks in the middle upper and middle lower positions.
  • Put your hazelnuts on a baking sheet. When the oven is hot, bake to toast for 7 minutes on the lower rack. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave the oven on at 350℉.
    ¾ cup hazelnuts
  • Rub the hazelnuts to remove most of the skins. Some left is fine. Discard the skins.
  • In a food processor, combine the toasted hazelnuts, flour, and salt. Process until coarsely ground, approximately 15-20 seconds. (See note 1).
    5 ounces all purpose flour, pinch salt
  • Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or large bowl with hand mixer). Beat on medium high speed until soft and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
    8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 ⅓ ounces granulated sugar
  • Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract to the butter. Beat until well combined.
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 large egg yolk
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the nut mixture to the butter. Mix until well incorporated.
  • Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  • Scoop out dough into 1 Tablespoon portions (I use a measuring spoon to do this). Press the dough together to make sure it is well combined, and shape into a ball.
  • Place each dough ball on the baking sheets approximately 1-2 inches apart. They will spread out a little but not much.
  • Use the back, rounded end of a half teaspoon to press a hole in the middle of each dough ball. If it sticks, spray the back of the spoon with some cooking spray.
  • Bake at 350℉ (177℃) for 10 minutes, until they are just setting.
  • Remove the trays from the oven and re-press the half teaspoon into each cookie to reshape the indentations.
  • Heat the chocolate hazelnut spread in the microwave for 30 seconds. It is easier to spoon and use when it is warm.
    ½ cup chocolate hazelnut spread
  • Pour a little of the spread into each cookie indentation until it is full. If desired, flatten any peaks you get (it does not flatten out on its own).
  • Put the cookie sheets back in the oven, rotating which one was on top, and bake another 8 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

  1. A coarse grind of the nuts gives you a little texture and a beautiful speckled effect. If desired, you can finely ground instead.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 139IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
By on November 8th, 2023

About Kim

Kim has grown up with a passion for cooking good food! You can find her in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, making dog treats, and eating Italian food!

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