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Pumpkin Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: makes about 36 cookies 1x



For the Cookies

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Caramel

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • Powdered sugar and coarse sea salt for sprinkling


  1. For the cookies, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter of medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and salt and beat until combined, light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat until well incorporated, about 1 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and beat until combined. The dough will be soft and wet.
  4. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before baking. The butter needs time to rechill before it hits the oven.
  5. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Scoop 1-inch balls onto the parchment paper, leaving about 2-inches between each dough ball. Press your thumb into the center of each cookie, creating a place for the caramel. Bake for 8 to 11 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned.
  7. If the center puffs up during baking, just re-press with the back of a spoon. Allow to cool on the pans for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To make the pumpkin caramel, in a medium saucepan bring sugar, water, and corn syrup to a boil over medium heat. Just swirl the pan to stir.
  9. Boil gently, uncovered, until browned. Once browned to a medium amber color, about 5 minutes, remove front the heat.
  10. Immediately add heavy cream and butter and stir as it foams up.
  11. Stir in spice and pumpkin puree. Caramel might seem thin. That’s ok. It will thicken as it cools.
  12. Transfer to a small bowl. Cover and chill for 4 hours before assembling the cookies.
  13. Spoon the caramel in the center of each cookie.
  14. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and salt.