Fourteenth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Caramel Peanut Butter Thumbprints

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Welcome to the 14th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies!

DAY 1: Caramel Peanut Butter Thumbprints

A soft peanut butter cookie, filled with homemade caramel, drizzled with dark chocolate, and then sprinkled with chopped peanuts.

If you like Snickers candy bars, you will love these cookies!

Caramel Peanut Butter Thumbprints 3

The homemade caramel filling makes more caramel than you will need for 1 batch of cookies. Once I open a can of sweetened condensed milk, I like to use the whole thing, so I always make a full batch of the caramel filling. You could halve the caramel recipe or make 2 batches of the peanut butter cookie dough, but I usually use part of the caramel in this recipe and the rest to make Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints. It is also great drizzled over ice cream or pie.

Caramel Peanut Butter Thumbprints 4

While we are cooking and baking this Christmas season, I hope that you will also remember that in addition to needing cookies, The World Needs Your Light!

What Is #LightTheWorld? | Light the World 2021



Caramel Peanut Butter Thumbprints

  • Servings: Makes about 4 dozen small cookies
  • Print

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Peanut Butter Cookies:
1 cup butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Caramel Filling (recipe below)
Chocolate Glaze (recipe below)

½ cup chopped salted peanuts

Prepare Caramel Filling before making cookies. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and eggs. Add flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until no lumps remain. Roll dough into very small balls (I use a level small cookie scoop to measure and then roll dough into balls). Place balls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350°F for 9-10 minutes.

While cookies are still warm, press the back of a round 1 tsp measuring spoon into each cookie to make an indentation. Spoon 1 tsp of the Caramel Filling into the center of each cookie. Place filled cookies onto wire racks to cool completely.

Prepare Chocolate Glaze. Drizzle cooled cookies with about half of the warm glaze. While glaze is still wet, sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Optional: drizzle cookies again with any remaining chocolate glaze. Let glaze harden before storing cookies.


Caramel Filling:
1 cup unsalted butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbs heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt

Combine butter, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, corn syrup, and heavy cream in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium low, maintaining a low but continuous simmer, until caramel reaches 235°F (soft ball stage), stirring occasionally. This will take about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

Chocolate Glaze:
½ cup chocolate chips (I use bittersweet chips)
1 Tbs heavy cream
2 tsp coconut oil

Combine glaze ingredients in a Pyrex measuring cup. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Heat for an additional 15 seconds, if needed, until melted. Add up to an additional ½ tsp coconut oil, if needed, until glaze can be drizzled.

-The homemade caramel filling recipe makes more caramel than you will need for 1 batch of cookies. I usually use part of the caramel in this recipe and the rest to make Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints. It is also great drizzled over ice cream or pie.
-For a simpler caramel filling, melt (unwrapped) Kraft caramels with a little bit of heavy cream
-To drizzle the glaze, I use a skewer to poke a small hole in the corner of a quart or sandwich sized Ziploc bag, then add the warm glaze to the bag and seal shut.
-To store cookies in the freezer: Freeze cookies in a single layer until firm, then place frozen cookies in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper. Return to freezer.


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