Miso Caramel Cardamom Thumbprints

published Dec 3, 2021
Miso Caramel Cardamom Thumbprints Recipe

Miso steals the show in this brimming-with-flavor thrumprint cookie.

Makes25 (1 1/2-inch) cookies

Prep50 minutes to 1 hour

Cook25 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

This recipe is from our Cookie Time Machine — a trip through the most iconic cookies of the past 10 decades, paired with 10 fresh twists for right now. Click here to see the most important cookies of the 1920s through today — and gaze forward with our Cookie of the Future!

Miso may just be my new favorite baking ingredient. I mean, an old-school salted caramel thumbprint cookie is spectacular any day of the week (or hour of the night), but by skipping the flaky salt and adding umami-rich (and salty in its own right) white miso to the caramel, you are in for a uniquely special thumbprint experience.

To gussy up the cookie, I flavored the dough with fragrant, floral cardamom and then rolled the dough balls in cinnamon-cardamom sugar pre-bake for a snickerdoodle-ish vibe. And although I highly recommend combining the miso caramel with the chewy, buttery, spicy cookies, guess what? They are each fantastic on their own. This caramel drizzled over vanilla ice cream (or, who are we kidding, eaten by the spoonful from the fridge) is the stuff of dreams, as are these cookies baked up sans the divots made by your digits.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

A word of advice re: baking (and cooking, for that matter) with miso. It’s full of texture and quite grainy and benefits immeasurably from being strained in this application. Pressing the caramel through a fine-mesh sieve after adding the miso will help remove some of the solid bits. It might not end up perfectly smooth, but it will be a whole lot smoother than if you skip this step. Using your thumb to make the indentation in each cookie, not only makes these “true” thumbprint cookies, but also helps you control the size of the indentation. A half-inch dimple is kind of ideal, as it is just big enough to hold a dollop of caramel, but not so big that you lose out on those delish, lightly spiced cookie edges.

The Classic

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: JoJo Li

For the classic 2010s cookie recipe, check out the Classic Salted Caramel Thumbprints.

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Before you preheat the oven, gear up with these cookie-making essentials.

  • The Sheet Pan Every Kitchn Editor Owns: This sturdy, won’t-ever-warp pan is great for cranking out a ton of picture-perfect sweets. Bonus: It comes in great colors, which makes baking even more fun.
  • Our Tried-and-Tested Favorite Cooling Rack: We love these racks for their criss-cross design, which adds stability, makes sure your precious treats won’t slip though, and prevents the rack from wobbling or warping.
  • The Little Spatula That Every Baker Needs: This thin-but-sturdy spatula is great for gently loosening your cookies from the pan and transferring them to the cooling rack. It’s particularly handy for moving small or delicate treats.

Miso Caramel Cardamom Thumbprints Recipe

Miso steals the show in this brimming-with-flavor thrumprint cookie.

Prep time 50 minutes to 1 hour

Cook time 25 minutes

Makes 25 (1 1/2-inch) cookies

Nutritional Info


For the cookies:

  • 1 1/2 sticks

    (6 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cardamom, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1

    large egg

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

For the caramel:

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup


  • 1/2 cup

    heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup

    white miso paste

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract


  1. Place 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Let sit at room temperature until softened. Meanwhile, make the caramel.

Make the caramel:

  1. Place 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small, deep saucepan over medium-high heat and cook without stirring until the mixture changes to a medium to dark amber color (swirl the pan occasionally if it is not cooking evenly), 9 to 10 minutes. About 5 minutes into cooking, place 1/2 cup heavy cream in a microwave-safe measuring cup or small bowl and microwave on high until warm, about 30 seconds. Cover to keep warm.

  2. When the sugar mixture is ready, remove the pan from the heat. Add the warm cream (be very careful, as the cream will likely cause the caramel to bubble up dramatically) and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. If the cream has caused the caramel to harden, return the pan to medium heat and cook until melted again, then remove the pan from the heat.

  3. Add 1/4 cup white miso paste, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and stir and smash against the bottom of the pan until incorporated. Transfer the mixture into a fine-mesh strainer and press through the strainer into a small bowl. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes, or speed it up by refrigerating and stirring periodically.

Make the cookies:

  1. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Add 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of the ground cardamom, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to the bowl of butter. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until lightened in color and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed with a flexible spatula, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add 1 large egg and beat on medium speed until combined. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add 2 cups all-purpose flour and beat until just a few streaks of flour remain. Finish mixing by hand with a flexible spatula until the flour is just incorporated.

  4. Place 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and the remaining 1 teaspoon ground cardamom in a wide, shallow bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Scoop the dough out by level tablespoons and roll each into a ball. Roll each ball in the cardamom sugar and place on the baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart. Make an indentation about 1/2-inch deep with your thumb into each ball.

  5. Bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the cookies take on a tiny bit of color (they don’t really brown) and are dry to the touch, 5 to 7 minutes more. If the indentations have lost their shape, remake them with the handle end of a wooden spoon. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets.

  6. Fill each cookie indentation with the cooled caramel. Let sit until the caramel sets slightly, about 20 minutes, before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The caramel can be made up to 1 week ahead, cooled, and refrigerated in an airtight container. Let come to room temperature before using.

Storage: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.