Nutella Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies taste like cheesecake in cookie form! Chewy cookie, filled with Nutella, and topped with crushed hazelnuts is the next best thing in dessert world.
What are thumbprint cookies?
Thumbprint cookies are very similar to shortbread cookies because they require butter, sugar, and flour as their main ingredients. Once the dough is prepared, they are rolled into balls then in the center of each ball, they have an indent that is filled with preserved of your choice. The indent in the center has traditionally been formed using your thumb, giving them the name-“thumbprint cookies.”
While very popular in the United States during the holiday season, thumbprint cookies actually originated in Sweden. These cookies are called Rosenmunnar in Swedish, meaning “strawberry cave.”
This recipe, however, is not for a basic thumbprint cookie. These Nutella Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies resemble the taste of a cheesecake, giving them an American twist.
Making the dough for the Nutella Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies:
This dough for Nutella Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies comes together very quickly. The main ingredients in these are the cream cheese, butter, sugar and all purpose flour. The lemon zest and vanilla extract are for extra flavor that makes these cookies incredibly flavorful.
Preparing the dough is simple. Start with creaming together the cream cheese and butter. They should be room temperature before you start so that they cream smoothly and will leave you with a light, airy, and creamy texture. Next add the sugar to your creamy butter and cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer again until the mixture is smooth.
Once your cream cheese, butter, and sugar are creamed together, add the lemon zest and granulated sugar and mix again. The last ingredient in these cheesecake thumbprint cookies will be the flour. Add the flour about a quarter cup at a time and mix until just combined. It is important to mix the ingredients just until they are combined. Be careful not to over mix the dough. Over mixing causes more air bubbles to get inside the dough which will in turn leave your cookies flatter instead of puffier when baked.
Shaping the Nutella Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies:
Shape the cookies while the dough is at room temperature– this will make is much easier since they dough gets harder once it is refrigerated. Using a small cookies scoop or a tablespoon, scoop out about one tablespoon of dough for each cookie and roll it into a smooth ball. Once the dough is formed into a ball, using your thumb, lightly press the center of the cookies to make an indent. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Filling the thumbprint cookies:
Once the cookies have been shaped, it’s time to fill them with Nutella and top them with crushed hazelnuts. A couple of things to remember here:
- Do not overfill with Nutella. This is to prevent Nutella from melting down the cookies when baking.
- Press the crushed hazelnuts in the Nutella. The hazelnuts add a slightly crunchy texture to the cookie but also act as a protective barrier for the Nutella.
Why is refrigerating this dough required:
Trust me-I know you are probably as impatient as I was to try these Nutella Cheesecake Thumbprint cookies but this dough requires refrigeration. The butter and cream cheese should be solidified so that once baked, your cookies do not over spread. Nutella Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies cookies should be thick and soft instead of flat and crispy. For this recipe, I recommend 1-2 hours of refrigeration and while 2 hours will give the best results, refrigeration of at least one hour will definitely put you in the safe zone. I recommend shaping the Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies prior to refrigerating them so that they are easier to work with. The dough will harden once it is refrigerated, making it more difficult to roll out.
Baking these Nutella Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies does not take a long time. In fact, it only takes about 11-13 minutes. One important tip to remember is to preheat your oven to 375F, 30 minutes prior to baking them. This is to make sure that the temperature of the oven has reached 375 Fahrenheit prior to placing your cookies inside of the oven. If the oven has not reached that temperature, the cookies will soften before they actually bake, resulting in more spreading.
Nutella Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies
- 4 oz cream cheese softened at room temperature
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup flour
- ⅓ cup Nutella plus more for optional topping
- ½ cup Hazelnuts crushed
- ¼ tsp salt
- In a medium mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.
- Add the sugar, lemon zest and vanilla, and beat until all ingredients are mixed together.
- Sift in flour and salt just until all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Do not overman.
- On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper scoop out 1 tablespoon sized balls of dough, roll them into smooth balls , and place them on the cookie sheet.
- Lightly press your thumb in the center of each ball of dough and fill each thumb press with about 1/2 teaspoon of Nutella. Do not overflow the cookie with Nutella.
- Top the Nutella part of the cookie with crushed hazelnuts and lightly press them in the Nutella. If desired, lightly sprinkle salt top of the crushed hazelnuts.
- Cover cookies with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Once oven has preheated, place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 12-13 minutes, or just until light golden around d the edges. They will look undone and still be very soft when you take them out.
- Allow them to cool on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes then transfer them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
If you enjoyed these cookies, check out my Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies. These are the same type of cheesecake cookie, but are filled with preserves or your choice!