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Brown Sugar Shortbread Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Brown Sugar Shortbread Caramel Thumbprint Cookies: brown sugar makes the shortbread extra rich with a soft caramel centre.

Brown Sugar Shortbread Caramel Thumbprint Cookies: The brown sugar makes the shortbread cookie rich and the oozy, gooey caramel centres are perfect.

These brown sugar shortbread cookies, are lovely and rich and crisp, buttery treat.  Adding homemade caramel sauce to the centre takes these cookies to the next level.  The perfect addition to your Christmas Cookie collection and sure to become a favorite. They’re so delicious with a cup of coffee any time of year.   

I’m so excited to begin our Christmas Cookie Week, with today’s cookie recipe.  I’ll be sharing a different favourite cookie recipe everyday this week.

Brown Sugar vs. White Sugar Shortbread

The brown sugar adds an amazing depth of flavor that makes it even better than your average shortbread cookie recipe.  The brown sugar contains some molasses, and adds a real depth of flavor to this shortbread.  This easy brown sugar shortbread gets even better with the addition of homemade caramel centers.  Next time you’re wanting a shortbread cookie, give this brown sugar shortbread cookie dough a try.

Christmas Cookie Week recipes

We love Christmas cookies.  I have such happy memories of my Grandma and her Christmas cookies.  In the days before stand mixers, dishwashers, and convection ovens she’d bake Christmas cookies for a week.  Through the Christmas season she’d always have a holiday cookie tray to offer us when we visited her.  This brown sugar shortbread cookie recipe is perfect for Christmas time and the addition of the homemade caramel center makes it extra special.

Brown Sugar Shortbread Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

This brown sugar shortbread recipe is so delicious.  The brown sugar adds a richness to the shortbread base, and the caramel stays perfectly oozy and soft.  This addition of brown sugar and caramel makes this one of these most delicious recipes, and perfect to try for the holidays.  If you love traditional Scottish shortbread, you’ll love this amped up version.

Traditional shortbread is one of the easiest cookies to make.  These ones have the added step of the caramel, but it’s so worth the extra effort.  The brown sugar shortbread cookies recipe itself is simple to make.  No rolling pin, cookie cutters, or cookie stamp required.  For this recipe just make easy dough balls, and bake cookies.

how to make Brown Sugar Shortbread Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Yield: 4 Dozen

Brown Sugar Shortbread Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Brown Sugar Shortbread Caramel Shortbread Cookies: The brown sugar makes the shortbread cookie rich and the oozy, gooey caramel centres are perfect.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes



  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups all purpose flour

Caramel Filling

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream (35%)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp salt


For the Dough:

  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until fluffy and light.
  2. Add in flour, and combine until the dough comes together. Take care not to over mix.
  3. Roll 1 tbsp of cookie dough into a ball, and use a spoon handle or your thumb to create the thumbprint in the centre of each cookie. Bake on a baking sheet at 350F for 12-14 minutes until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack before filling..

Caramel Filling

  1. In a pan combine sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat without stirring. Use a pastry brush dipped in cold water to brush down the sides of the pan with cold water to help prevent crystallization. Boil 4 to5 minutes until the caramel is dark amber.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the whipping cream, butter, vanilla and salt. The caramel will bubble, so take care with this step. Next, return the pan to a medium-high heat and cook while stirring until the caramel thickens slightly. Let cool for 5 minutes. (If the caramel becomes to cool and stiff to work with reheat.)
  3. Spoon the warm caramel into the cookies. Let set at least 5 minutes. Optional, sprinkle the cookies with edible glitter

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 Servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 159Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 107mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 1g
adding caramel to Brown Sugar Shortbread cookies

We’ve sprinkled our cookies with a little edible glitter to dress them up for  Christmas, because at Christmas everyone needs a little sparkle. 😉

Store these cookies in an airtight container, with parchment paper separating them, so that they don’t stick together

Brown Sugar Shortbread Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Tips For Great Shortbread

Make sure you start with room temperature butter, that isn’t cold.  Creaming the butter and sugar together very well is very important, and you must have room temperature butter to do it well.  You also don’t want the butter to be melted, again it won’t cream probably.  Room temperature is much better than trying to soften it in the microwave because you run the risk of it melting.

The biggest tip for making wonderful shortbread is to not overmix the dough.  Over mixing the dough can result in a tough cookie.  You want to cream the butter and sugar very well, and there is no danger of overdoing it at the creaming stage.  As soon as you add the flour to the butter mixture, it becomes dough, and at that point you have to be cautious about how much you mix it.  Mix it well, until it’s fully combined, but as soon as the dough is well combined, and it’s fully come together, then stop mixing it.

These cookies are just the first we’ll be sharing with you for Christmas Cookie Week.  They make such a great addition to a holiday cookie plate or buffet. 😉

Christmas Cookie buffet table

More Ideas

These cookies are especially perfect for the caramel lover.  And if you have a chocolate lover too, these would be great with a  drizzle of melted chocolate over them also.  White chocolate would also be great too.

Another great option is to add a sprinkle of salt for the salted caramel option.

Brown Sugar Shortbread Caramel Thumbprint Cookies: The brown sugar makes the shortbread rich and the oozy, gooey caramel centres are perfect.Brown Sugar Shortbread Caramel Thumbprint Cookies recipe With Brown Sugar Shortbread Caramel Thumbprints, life really is a party!

More Cookie Inspiration

Check out the rest of our Christmas Cookie Week Cookies:

Toblerone Shortbread with Browned Flour

Toblerone Shortbread with Browned Flour -The "Famous Phipps Shortbread" with roasted flour, and Toblerone chocolate bar chunks.

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies: Grandma's tested and true recipe will become your go-to recipe for soft and tender cut out sugar cookies you can decorate with icing.

And our Mincemeat Pinwheels.

Mincemeat Pinwheels: This quick and easy recipe uses jarred mincemeat and frozen puff pastry for a delicious addition to any Christmas dessert tray.

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