Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Caramel and Sea Salt

Though sea salt and caramel has been all the rage lately, I was one of the last few to indulge in this sweet and salty combination. I'm not one for coffee, so salted caramel macchiatos were out of the question and I like my chocolates pure and simple, so salted caramel truffles weren't really tempting me either. But then I saw these incredible cookies in the latest issue of Martha Stewart living. Coconut Thumbprints with Salted Caramel. I love caramel and I am a huge of macaroons, so this seemed the perfect combination of two delightful sweets. And with a little bit of sea salt on hand, I figured I better go all the way and add the requisite saltiness on top so I could see for myself what all the fuss is about.

As usual, Martha's recipe does require a bit more work and attention to detail than seems necessary - but once you finish off these cookies with a little sprinkle of sea salt, every last minute will be totally worth it! 

The dough is simple and whisk-licking delicious (I probably ate about 4 cookies worth of dough before I even prepared my baking sheets)! Just butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla, coated in egg wash and coconut. Melted caramel and heavy cream makes the perfect filling for the cookies' thumbprint indentation and the tiny taste of sea salt really makes the caramel pop. Melting the caramel was surprisingly simple - it was forming the cookies and maintaining their shape when doused in a beaten egg and rolled through shredded coconut that proved the most challenging aspects of this recipe. I found it easiest to periodically wash my hands and clean as much excess coconut and dough from my hands between each rolling as possible. Adding a little water to the dough helped a bit as well.

The finished product is dainty and scrumptious. I was tempted to eat the cookies sans caramel because they looked so tasty after emerging from the oven. Luckily the caramel, once spooned into the little thumbprints, hardens up fairly quickly, so by the time you've finished salting the final cookie, the first one is ready to eat. Just don't wait too long to sprinkle your salt on since the caramel will harden pretty quickly!

These cookies are light, flavorful, and buttery. I was a little mislead in imagining they would taste like macaroons. There is great coconut flavor but these were much less dense than a traditional macaroon. Both the saltiness and the sweetness will keep you coming back for more, but these adorable cookies aren't heavy enough to weight you down after eating a few. And don't be alarmed by the 3 sticks of butter the recipe calls for - it yields a hefty 54 cookies. I halved the recipe myself (which was a good idea given how labor-intensive cookie-dough-shaping proved to be) and was much more pleased to be using a mere one and a half sticks of butter for my 25 cookies.

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel
from February 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • 44 small soft caramel candies (12 ounces)
  • 6 Tbsp heavy cream 
  • Large flakey sea salt, such as Maldon


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and 1/2 teaspoon table salt, and beat to combine. Press dough together in plastic wrap, then roll into 1 1/4 inch balls. Dip each ball in beaten egg, and roll in coconut. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, and press an indentation into each with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove sheets from oven, and re-press indentations. Bake cookies until golden, 9 to 10 minutes more. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.
2. Place caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Spoon into indentations in cookies, and sprinkle with sea salt. Rewarm caramel if it hardens before all cookies are filled. (Store in airtight containers for up to 2 days.)


  1. Yummo. My heart has a soft spot for coconut and caramel.ooooh what a lovely combination. I can't wait to try this.

  2. Yummm! This looks so good! I want to try this! Thanks for sharing and for your sweet comment :)

  3. If it has caramel and sea salt, I'm ALL in. Totally bookmarking this.

  4. Wow, these look fantastic! I love salted caramel, it's my absolute fave!

  5. wow, it looks sooo good.. i'm making it for valentine's day..
    would you please tell me from where to get those caramel candies in particular?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...