Chocolate Molasses Thumbprints

Recipe by Shauna Sever

These chocolate thumbprints make the perfect holiday cookies — they're a hit with chocolate lovers, spice cookie lovers, and those who are drawn to the prettiest of the cookie-tin contenders. They get a double hit of raw sugars: dark muscovado in the dough followed by a roll through turbinado sugar, which adds crunch and a naturally glittering finish. A pool of bittersweet chocolate ganache in the center completes the experience.

25 mins
15 mins
2 hrs 40 mins
4 dozen cookies
Gluten-Free Chocolate Molasses Thumbprints - select to zoom
Gluten-Free Chocolate Molasses Thumbprints - select to zoom
Gluten-Free Chocolate Molasses Thumbprints - select to zoom
Spiced Chocolate Molasses Buttons - select to zoom


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  1. To make the dough: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, and allspice.

  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until the mixture is noticeably light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until completely absorbed, then the molasses.

  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the dry ingredients. Mix until well blended. Scrape the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds until the dough is thoroughly combined.

  4. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 2 hours. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

  5. To shape and bake the cookies: Pour the turbinado sugar onto a plate. Using a teaspoon scoop, portion the dough into balls. Roll the balls in the turbinado sugar, coating them completely. Place on the prepared baking sheets.

  6. Bake the cookies until set on the edges, but still very soft in the centers, about 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven. While still hot, make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie. Return to the oven to finish baking, about 5 minutes more. Let the cookies cool on the pans on racks.

  7. To make the filling: Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Melt in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring well after each interval. Stir in the molasses.

  8. Transfer the filling to a small zip-top bag or pastry bag and work it toward the center of the bag. Snip off a tiny bit at the corner. Fill each cookie with filling, and let sit at room temperature until the ganache is firm.

  9. Storage information: Store completely cooled cookies, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Want to make this recipe gluten-free? For great results, substitute King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour for the all-purpose flour in this recipe. Be sure to bake thoroughly; gluten-free baked goods often need a bit more time in the oven.