I don’t have enough peanut butter on this site and it’s something I plan to change, starting with these Caramel Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies.

One cookie stacked on an angle on top of another.

This soft peanut butter cookie recipe is absolutely wonderful on it’s own, let alone the delicious toppings. They’re crisp on the outside with a slight crunch of granulated sugar and soft and chewy on the inside and they don’t need any chill time.

The toppings are what make these extra special. A simple caramel (made using store-bought caramels) and melted chocolate top them off. Or use Hersheys kisses to make the best peanut butter kisses ever.

The easy pb cookies

These pb cookies really are easy to make – just a handful of everyday ingredients mixed together, rolled into balls, then rolled in granulated sugar before baking.

These cookies bake for just 10-11 minutes and stay nice and soft on the inside while the outside turns crisp.

A cookie with a bite taken out to show the caramel inside.

I like to add the thumbprint before baking then, as soon as they come out of the oven, use a spoon to deepen the dents a little. The reason I do this is to give them a nice big thumbprint so we can add as much filling as possible. They also crack less meaning that luscious filling won’t escape.

If you prefer firmer cookies, just bake them for a few minutes longer.

How to make peanut butter thumbprint cookies

A collage of 5 images showing how to make caramel peanut butter thurmbprint cookies.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Dry ingredients: Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Wet ingredients: Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy with an electric mixer, then mix in the peanut butter (photo 1) and remaining wet ingredients.
  3. Combine: Combine flour mixture with the wet mixture (photo 2) until you have a thick cookie dough. Shape dough into balls, coat in granulated sugar then place on a baking sheet. Press your thumb down into each to create a dent (photo 3), then bake.
  4. Caramel: Make the super easy caramel then fill the indents on the baked cookies (photo 4).
  5. Top: Top each one with a little melted chocolate or a Hershey’s kiss (photo 5) and let them cool and set.

The easy caramel filling

This caramel ‘recipe’ is one I use a lot. I’ve made caramel from scratch a number of times and I love making candy but even I sometimes have issues with my caramel not working and end up wasting ingredients. This simple filling is great, because someone else (thanks Werthers) has done all the hard work for you.

I use 250g / 8.8oz of Werthers chewy caramels and add ¼ cup of cream, then just melt it together in a saucepan over low heat. Once the mixture is smooth it’s ready to use.

This caramel filling has everything going for it – quick and easy to make, it works every time and tastes amazing.

A thumbprint cookie with a hersheys kiss on top.

Cooks tips

  • Butter: It should be soft enough to make a dent when you gently press it but not for your fingers to go straight through.
  • Peanut Butter: I use natural peanut butter in my cookies since that’s what I keep in the pantry but regular peanut butter will work fine too. If the mixture isn’t soft enough, just add a tablespoon of milk.
  • Cookie scoop: I use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough, so they are all evenly sized but if you don’t have one, just use roughly 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie.
  • Granulated sugar: this is an optional step but does add a nice crunch to the outside of the cookies.
  • Baking time: If you want soft cookies, just cook them for 10 minutes. Of course, everyone’s oven will vary a little so see my notes at the end of the recipe card about that.

Variations

  • Salted: you could use salted butter OR add ¼ to ½ a teaspoon of salt to the caramel.
  • Peanuts: add a crunch by sprinkling some peanuts over the top at the end.
  • No fillings: you can use this peanut butter cookie recipe on it’s own without making them thumbprint cookies and filling them. Just scoop and roll, then place straight on the trays. If you like you can use a fork to make the classic criss cross pattern on top.
  • Peanut butter and jelly thumbprint cookies: You can leave off the chocolate and caramel and add some raspberry jam or strawberry jam to the center of each cookie instead. The classic pb&j flavour.
Balls of cookie dough on a sheet press with a fork to create a pattern on top.

Storing instructions for pb cookies

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature for 7-10 days. If it’s very hot where you are, consider keeping them in the fridge so the chocolate doesn’t melt.

The cookies (unfilled) can be frozen, then thawed at room temperature before filling.

The cookie dough can be frozen too. Wrap it twice in plastic wrap and then store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. If you like, you can shape the cookies first, then freeze them on a baking tray until firm. Once firm wrap and place in an airtight container.

A batch of caramel peanut butter thumbprint cookies on a sheet of baking paper.

IF YOU TRY THIS peanut butter thumbprints recipe, please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you, and it helps other readers too!

A stack of 3 thumbprint cookies with the top one with a hersheys kiss on top.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies

4.7 from 16 votes – Rate this recipe!
These Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies start with a peanut butter thumbprint cookie, filled with chewy caramel, then topped with chocolate. You could almost call them snickers cookies.

Ingredients

  • 113 g unsalted butter, softened (½ cup / 1 stick)
  • cup light brown sugar (100g / 3.5oz)
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter (120g)
  • 1 large egg
  • 195 g plain flour (all purpose flour) (1 ½ cups / 7oz)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • granulated sugar for rolling

FOR THE CARAMEL

  • 250 g store-bought chewy caramels (8.8oz)
  • ¼ cup thickened cream (heavy cream)

FOR THE CHOCOLATE

  • 100 g chocolate for topping (milk or dark or some of each)
  • or 32 Hersheys kisses

Equipment

Instructions
 

FOR THE PB COOKIES

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced and line 2 large cookie sheets with baking paper.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • Beat together the butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Add the peanut butter and beat to combine, then the egg and beat to combine.
  • Add the flour and beat until fully incorporated into a soft dough..
  • Use a small cookie scoop to scoop out balls of dough (or about 1 tablespoon worth, if you don’t have a cookie scoop) and roll them into smooth balls.
  • Roll them in granulated sugar then sit on baking trays at least 1-2 inches apart.
  • Use your thumb to slowly and gently make a deep indent in each cookie making sure not to push a hole through the bottom. The edges of the cookies may crack a little but that’s ok. Push any large cracks back together.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then let them cool on the tray for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

FOR THE CARAMEL

  • Combine the caramels and cream in a small saucepan, then heat over low heat while stirring until melted and smooth.
  • Fill the thumbprint of each cookie with caramel then let it cool for 5 minutes before proceeding.
  • Melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring well between each, then spoon a little over the caramel of each cookie.
  • OR press a Hersheys kiss into the caramel gently on each cookie.
  • Please take a moment to rate this recipe. I helps me to keep creating free recipes and helps other readers too.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. All ovens vary – always test for doneness 3-5 minutes before the recipe suggests
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