Salted Butternut Squash Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
  • ⅔ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • For the Butternut Squash Caramel:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • Powdered sugar and coarse sea salt for sprinkling.
  1. For the cookies:
  2. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together, on medium speed, the sugar and butter until it’s nice and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat into the butter mixture until well incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the flour and beat until it is well combined. You should have a wet, sticky dough.
  4. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour before baking. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. When ready to bake, on parchment lined baking sheets, scoop 1 inch cookie dough balls, set 2 inches apart. Take your thumb and create an indentation in the center of each cookie.
  6. Bake the cookies for about 8-11 minutes or until the bottoms of each cookie are lightly golden brown. Take them out and set the tray on a cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before moving directly to the cooling rack.
  7. Should the cookies puff up during the baking process, take the back of a spoon and press in the center of each cookie to recreate the indentation so the caramel has a place to settle.
  8. Allow the cookies to cool completely before spooning in the caramel.
  9. For the Caramel:
  10. In a medium sauce pan combine the sugar, water and corn syrup and place on a stove burner that is on medium heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, swirling the pan around to stir as needed. Do not use a spoon to stir.
  11. Depending on how well your burner’s work, it could take anywhere from 5-15 minutes to get the caramel to that deep amber color. This is where it’s important to keep both eyes on the target as it bubbles and caramelizes. Once it starts to turn brown it goes very quickly from caramel to burnt sugar.
  12. Once browned take the caramel off the heat and immediately add the butter and cream. Using a wooden spoon, stir the foaming, bubbly caramel till completely incorporated. Add in the squash and pumpkin pie spice and stir until it’s a homogenous mixture.
  13. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. The caramel will thicken as it cools making it that perfect consistency.
  14. Spoon the caramel in the center of each cookie.
  15. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and finish with salt.
  16. ENJOY!
Recipe by janie-jean at