Chocolate-Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies: Fussy but Fearless

Chocolate-Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

I’ve got good news! My one and only food allergy seem to have been chucked into the gutter like an empty purse. I’ve been allergic to fussy cookies for as long as I’ve been baking. Cookies with frosting give me hives. Sprinkles or lacy details make my throat constrict tighter than a skeeter’s ass in a nose dive. Food dyes make me nauseous (and worried about stains to my tea towels). Please don’t get me started on cookies with flowers or any kind of lettering. My doctor says I could go into anaphylactic shock if I even come in contact with such a cookie. Naturally, all types of animal-shaped cookie cutters are banned from my house. I’d hate to know what a pink and white shortbread penguin with Red Hots for eyeballs might do to my ability to have children.

While other cooks merrily roll, sprinkle and frost (while making cute cooing sounds) I find myself cowering in the corner suffering through horrifying hallucinations of sticky counters lined in neat piles of cookies tied up in pretty bows.

With a medical history like mine its no wonder I’ve avoided thumbprint cookies. Thumbprint cookies require the baker to roll tiny little balls of cookie dough, then delicately press identical little indentations into each one of them. My thumbs shake just thinking about it.

Which isn’t to say I don’t admire the handiwork that goes into fussy little cookies. I’m always impressed by cooks who can find the inner peace that routine repetition requires. In fact, I’ve been yearning to try Martha Stewart’s Chocolate-Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies since I first saw them in her magazine way back in 2006. Despite my admiration for these little cookies, I knew my particular malady meant Chocolate-Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies could never find their way into my oven.

Still, I continued to pray for a miracle. I even began to present more and more desserts here on this blog. In fact, it was this blog that first gave me the hope that my allergy had begun to abate. Not so long ago I made a very fussy White Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Curls. In the past, I’ve had the same reaction to fussy cakes as I do to fussy cookies – yet somehow I managed to pull this cake off without breaking into a rash. That got me thinking about Martha’s fussy little Chocolate-Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies. Could I? Should I? Dare I?

Chocolate-Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

Well there was only one way to find out. So I did it! I stuck my thumb into some tiny little cookies recently. I even filled that thumbprint with sweetened cream cheese and the cutest little cubes of meticulously diced strawberries – and look, I suffered no ill effects.

I know it’s not the same as frosted cookies, but I’m still proud of myself. It makes me wonder what might be next. Would gingerbread hoot owls with candy corn beaks be hoping for too large a miracle? GREG

making cookiesChocolate-Strawberry Thumbprint CookiesChocolate-Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate-Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 36Source Martha Stewart LivingPublished

I found 3/4‑inch balls to be too tedious to make. I rolled the dough into1-inch balls that weighed about 10 grams each. I got 24 cookies. There was no need to adjust the cooking time, 15 minutes in a convection oven was perfect.

Chocolate-Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (at room temperature )
  • ¼ cup plus 6 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar (divided)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 ounce cream cheese (at room temperature )
  • 2 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 5–6 fresh strawberries (washed, stemmed and finely diced)


Sift flour, cocoa, and salt into a bowl; set aside. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth; set aside to cool.

Put butter and ¼ cup granulated sugar into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in yolk, vanilla, and chocolate. Reduce speed to low. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put 6 teaspoons granulated sugar into a small bowl. Form dough into 3/4‑inch balls; roll in sugar to coat. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Press center of each ball with your thumb. Bake 10 minutes. Press centers again with end of a wooden spoon, making 3/4‑inch indentations. Bake until slightly cracked and set, about 5 minutes more. Cool completely on racks. Unfilled cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 3 days.

Stir cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Toss berries with remaining ½ teaspoon granulated sugar in another bowl. Spoon cream cheese mixture into center of cookies; top with sugared berries, dividing evenly.

Chocolate-Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies