A cookie, basically a buttery shortbread, combined with crushed pretzels and dulche de leche.

I have been baking a lot less in the last few years and I am trying to get back to my kitchen roots slowly. A great motivator is a group called The Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge which is all about baking sweets. Every month we are given two required ingredients to work with. This month it is pretzels and caramel. What a salty sweet combo!

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I choose a cookie, basically a buttery shortbread, with crushed pretzels and dulce de leche.

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I found this recipe on the Food Network and pretty much followed it to the letter. Speaking of letters, I found alphabet-shaped pretzels, how cool is that. Some cookies have a full letter sticking out of them. Instead of flaky sea salt, I went with the black volcanic Hawaiian salt. Love the color contrast. Yeah, I should not probably mention this but I estimate that there are 2 teaspoons of butter per cookie!

Instead of plain caramel, I went with dulce de leche. Caramel is a melted sugar with added butter and cream, whereas dulce de leche is cooked down sweetened condensed milk. Dulce de leche is commonly used in South America.

Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge

Salted Dulche de Leche Pretzel Thumbprints

A cookie, basically a buttery shortbread, combined with crushed pretzels and dulche de leche.
Course Dessert
Servings 35 cookies


  • 11/2 cups broken thin pretzel sticks
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dulce de leche or caramel sauce
  • Sea salt for sprinkling


  • Put ¼ cup pretzels in a resealable plastic bag and crush into coarse crumbs with a rolling pin.
  • Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Whisk the egg yolks, honey, vanilla and fine salt in a medium bowl, then add to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour and pretzel crumbs and beat until just combined.
  • Put the remaining 1¼ cups pretzels in the resealable bag and roughly crush with the rolling pin; spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Drop tablespoonfuls of dough on top and roll into balls, pressing so the pretzels adhere. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  • Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange the cookies about 1½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets; make a deep indentation in each with your thumb. Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until lightly golden, 15 to 18 minutes.
  • Re-indent with the back of a teaspoon, if necessary. Let cool 3 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Fill each indentation with dulce de leche and sprinkle with sea salt.

Want more dulce de leche temptations? Check out these Argentinian Alfajores Cookies