This chocolate thumbprint cookie recipe is one of my true comfort recipes, and I will adapt it to every holiday imaginable. It started as an almond Christmas cookie that I made with my mom every year, but I have since turned it into a chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookie and a Valentine’s heart thumbprint cookie – SO FAR!
And now, it gets a spooky makeover for Halloween! The pumpkins were rather simple to create, as they just use a regular thumbprint shape. For the ghosties however, I shaped the prints into a ghost shape (kinda like a comma) by pulling out a tail using the back of a spoon 🙂 Then, once I poured the ganache, I pulled it in a t-shape to create little arms! I also used black cocoa in the cookie dough this time around, so the orange and white would really pop.
The above photos show the two “thumbprint” shapes, but they are also a before/after baking shot. This recipe is specifically designed to hold its shape well in the oven, so the prints won’t disappear as the butter melts and the cookie softens.
One of my favourite things about these cookies is that they come together quickly. It saves my butt every Christmas when I am just spent from doing delicate sugar cookies and multi-stage doughs. You only need one bowl, there’s no chill time, and the decorating process really only involves dumping ganache into a crevice. Easy peasy!
Here’s a video that shows how I shaped the ghosts, and the finishing touches on the cookies:
Halloween Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
For the Cookies:
- ¾ cup softened butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder (do half black cocoa, half regular cocoa if possible – this will make the cookies extra dark and spooky!)
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Topping:
- 100 g white chocolate chips
- 50 g heavy cream 35%
- orange food colouring
- black & green sprinkles
For the Cookies:
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar together until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
- Add the egg yolk and almond extract to the butter-sugar mixture and continue beating until the mixture is smooth.
- Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix until the dough is fully combined. At first, it may appear dry, but it will come together as you mix.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheets. These cookies won’t spread much, so you can place them relatively close together.
- Use a small spoon or your thumb to press an indent into the centre of each cookie. For half of them, use the handle of a spoon to create a point at one end for the ghost’s tail.
- Bake the cookies for 8 minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool while you prepare the topping.
For the Topping:
- Microwave the heavy cream for 1 minute, or until it starts to steam.
- Add the white chocolate chips to the cream and let them sit for a few minutes to begin melting.
- Whisk the mixture until all of the chocolate is fully melted and there are no lumps. If needed, you can microwave it in 30-second increments until smooth.
- For the pumpkin cookies: Add a few drops of orange food colouring to the ganache, stirring until it reaches your desired pumpkin colour. Set aside.
- For the ghost cookies: Leave the ganache white.
- Once the cookies have cooled, spoon approximately 1/2 teaspoon of ganache into the well at the centre of each cookie.
- For the pumpkin cookies: Place one green sprinkle at the top of the orange ganache as a pumpkin stem.
- For the ghost cookies: Place two black sprinkles on top of the white ganache to make spooky ghost eyes.
- Allow the cookies to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to let the ganache set before packaging them in an airtight container for storage.