Soft chocolate thumbprint cookies filled with a classic German chocolate frosting filling and drizzled with chocolate. These German chocolate cookies are totally irresistible and a family favorite!
Why you'll love it
This is, hands down, one of the most requested cookie recipes from readers. I've been asked if I have a recipe for German chocolate cookies for years and I have finally made one that everyone in the family loves and is so easy for the kids to help with too.
We start with a super soft chocolate thumbprint cookie that is easy to work with and tastes kind of like a brownie. I wanted a cookie that was deeply chocolaty without being crumbly and held its shape when baked. After extensive recipe testing, I finally found the perfect chocolate cookie base.
The cookie base stays soft, but doesn't get so soft it can't hold its structure or the filling inside. It's just chocolaty enough without overpowering the filling and when paired together tastes almost exactly like you are having German chocolate cake in cookie form.
They are then filled with something that resembled the filling and frosting of a german chocolate cake. It is sweet, slightly sticky, with lots of coconut and pecans. It is then finished with a melted chocolate drizzle.
Making these German chocolate cake cookies require a few important ingredients beyond the pantry staples (don't worry, you can still find everything at your local grocery store) that we need to review as to why they are important to making these delicious cookies and if there are any substitutions. Use the recipe card below for the measurements and full ingredient list.
- Cocoa powder - I like to use Dutch-processed cocoa powder for its smoother, yet more bold chocolate flavor. You can use unsweetened natural cocoa powder also. We are able to interchange the type of cocoa powder we use because there is no leavening agent in the cookie base to affect the cocoa powder.
- Sugar - I like using a mix of granulated and brown sugar to make these chewy chocolate cookies perfectly sweetened.
- Evaporated milk - We use this to add that creaminess we associate with our favorite cake. I do not recommend using regular milk as it won't be thick enough or rich enough. Sweetened condensed milk is too thick and we cannot control the amount of sweetness.
- Coconut - You should use unsweetened shredded coconut flakes, but if all you can find is sweetened coconut, that will work, too.
- Pecans - It is important to use chopped pecans so they aren't too big. You want them to blend beautifully with everything else in the filling. I recommend quickly toasting your pecans for added texture and to amplify their flavor.
- Eggs - We need both whole eggs and egg yolks to make this cookie. The yolks are used in the filling to help bring everything together and add richness. You can save the egg whites for other recipes.
How to Make
It's pretty easy to make chocolate thumbprint cookies. The cookie dough is thicker than most cookie dough types, because of this, it does not need to be chilled before baking. Before you begin, line your baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and preheat your oven.
- Mix together the dry ingredients for the cookie dough into a medium bowl and set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy in a stand mixer or using a large bowl and hand mixer on medium speed.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and beat until well combined.
- Mix in the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
- Scoop dough into balls that are 1 ½ tablespoons big using a cookie scoop and make a deep indentation into them. Place at least 1 ½ inches apart on the baking sheet and bake.
- Leave the cookies to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Make the filling while the cookies are baking.
- Add the evaporated milk, sugars, and yolks to a medium saucepan and set on medium heat. Stir until it thickens and begins to bubble, then remove from heat. Stir in the butter, coconut, and pecans. Set aside to thicken and cool,
- Take chocolate chips and melt them.
- Scoop the filling into the cookies and drizzle with the melted chocolate.
The most important way to ensure you get the best results is to make sure you are correctly measuring your ingredients, particularly the flour. You should fluff up the flour and then spoon it into your measuring cup then sweep of the excess. If you want to make sure you get consistent results, you can convert the recipe to metric and use a kitchen scale.
Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This is important to ensure everything combines well together.
When the cookies bake, the indentation may puff a bit, but you can push it back down again while the cookie is still warm, but not hot.
If you are filling the chocolate thumbprint cookies during the baking process, add the filling the last 5 minutes of baking. These German chocolate thumbprint cookies do not require the filling to be baked, so you add it in after the cookies are finished baking.
The filling gets made on the stove. It is a matter of simply mixing the ingredients in a saucepan and bringing it to a boil for a few minutes until thickened. It will seem pretty thin still, but it will thicken as it cools.
You will have some extra filling, but it is so good, you won't have any issues using it up in other ways! I recommend stirring it into oatmeal, adding to ice cream, or even spreading on a bagel for a quick and easy treat!
Looking for More Cookies?
You may want to check out these giant double chocolate cookies. You may also like my cookies and cream cookies and my s'mores stuffed cookies. My coconut chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon roll cookies and 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies are also very popular. You can check out all my cookie recipes here.
German Chocolate Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter [room temperature]
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder can also use natural cocoa powder
German Chocolate Filling
- 12 oz evaporated milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup shredded coconut
- ⅔ cup chopped pecans
- 2 ounces melted chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with a silicone baking pat or parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy - about 3 minutes.
- Add in the salt, egg, and vanilla, then beat for another 3 minutes.
- Add in the flour and cocoa powder, then mix until just combined.
- Roll the dough into small 1 ½ tablespoon balls, then use your thumb to create deep indentations in the middle of each ball. Use your fingers to press together any edges that crack.
- Bake the cookies for approximately 14 - 16 minutes. Use a small rubber spatula to transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
- While the cookies are baking, make the filling.
- In a saucepan, add the evaporated milk, sugars, and yolk together. Stir to combine, then heat on medium.
- Stir the mixture until it begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from heat and add in the butter, vanilla, coconut, and pecans. Allow the mixture to cool until it is just warm to the touch,
- Fill the indentations of the cookies with the filling. Pack the filling in and let it mound over a bit.
- Drizzle the tops of the cookies with the melted chocolate and allow to cool until the chocolate is hardened.