We needed an activity over the weekend and what better way to spend a snowy almost-holiday weekend than baking an epic amount of cookies?!

We made some calls to friends who would be comfortable with us doing some front porch cookie deliveries and so we began baking!

Of course, a standard sugar cookie for decorating had to be in the mix, but I also wanted to come up with something new this year. I’ve been wanting to try to make dulce de leche in a pressure cooker (who hasn’t) for awhile now so I figured I would incorporate that into a cookie and these Salted Dulce de Leche Thumbprints were born!

Yay cookies!

How to Make Salted Dulce de Leche Thumbprints

First, you will need an elf helper obviously.

Cookie helper

The dough I used for my thumbprint recipe is a really standard shortbread cookie recipe I found on the Delish website. It worked great but if you have a thumbprint recipe you like, you can use it!

Onto the dulce de leche! I love this stuff and it’s hard to find in America, but easy to make! If you’ve never had it before it’s close to a caramel sauce but not quite as sweet.

Turns out making it in an instant pot (or any pressure cooker) is really easy. You just start with sweetened condensed milk, wrap it tightly in foil, and then pressure cook it for like 35 minutes on high. BOOM.

Dulce de leche!

Note that the recipe I included below makes more than you will need for this recipe.

Instant Pot Dulce de Leche

Having leftover dulce de leche is not a bad thing. It is a wonderful thing. Put it on toast. Eat it with a spoon straight out of the fridge. I won’t tell you how to live your life.

Back to Cookies!

I made a test cookie just to see how these would bake up. WONDERFUL.
PS. I need a manicure.

Tester Dulce de Leche Thumbprint

Onto full cookie production mode!

I like to use about heaping tablespoon sized balls for my thumbprints. Roll out the dough into balls and then gently press down in the center to make an impression for the dulce de leche.

Ready to bake cookies

Bake these guys at 350˚F for 13-15 minutes until they are golden brown around the edges. As soon as these come out of the oven, sprinkle them with flakey salt!

Dulce de Leche Thumbprints

These turned out great and will be high on my cookie list every year now. Plus, I now have dulce de leche in my fridge!

Cookies and Cookies and Cookies

We made A LOT of cookies. The kids literally got tired of decorating them I think.

Cookie decorating

Our cookie bags included these Salted Dulce de Leche Thumbprints, plus the sugar cookies from the NY Times website and Sally’s Chocolate Crinkle Cookies!

All very good and a nice mix of cookies!

Bag of cookies!

Don’t forget to make some cookies this holiday weekend and share with whoever you feel comfortable sharing with!

Happy cookie season, y’all!

Salted Dulce de Leche Thumbprint Cookies

5 from 1 vote
Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 18 Servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
These are the perfect fancy cookie for any cookie platter. Homemade pressure cooker dulce de leche in a thumbprint cookie!


Dulce de Leche

  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Coarse salt for topping


For Dulce de Leche:

  • Open Sweetened Condensed Milk and then wrap the can completely in foil. Place the can on a rack in your pressure cooker and fill the pressure cooker with about 10 cups of water. Lock and seal the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. Then release the pressure and let the can cool. Open the can and scoop the dulce de leche into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and stir vigorously. Let the dulce de leche cool before using in cookies.

For Cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the beater attachment, mix together softened butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy, probably 5 minutes. Then slowly mix in egg and vanilla.
  • Add flour mixture slowly, mixing on low, until the flour is completely incorporated.
  • To form cookies, scoop out a heaping tablespoon-sized ball of dough and roll it into a ball. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and press your thumb about 1/2 inch into the cookie. If the dough cracks at all, press it back together. Add about a teaspoon of dulce de leche to the center of the cookie. Repeat until you run out of dough.
  • Bake the cookies at 350˚F for 13-15 minutes until they are lightly browned on the edges. Remove the cookies and immediately sprinkle with coarse flakey salt. Let cool before serving.
  • The cookies will keep fine on the counter in an airtight container for 3-4 days, but will start to get pretty stale after that.
  • Add flour mixture slowly to the creamed butter mixture, mixing slowly, until all the flour is mixed in.


Serving: 2cookies | Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 101mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 309IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American

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Tag @crunchtimekitchen