When it comes to classic, homemade Thumbprint Cookies, this easy, no-chill shortbread dough is the way to go. The shortbread cookie base comes together in less than 10 minutes and bakes up thick, tender, and ultra buttery for a cookie you can’t help but want to sink your teeth into! Use any one of your favorite jams to brighten up the cookie center.
These edible little gems prove to be both rusticly beautiful and absolutely irresistible. Not to mention, they’re perfect for any and every occasion: Teatime, snack time, and, of course, the holidays!
Thumbprint Cookies with Jam the ultimate cookie recipe for holiday gift-giving and the perfect addition to the Christmas dessert table.
If you’re looking for more delicious holiday cookies to make, be sure to add these simple (yet festive) Cinnamon Cookies to your baking lineup!
HOW TO MAKE THUMBPRINT COOKIE
- Mix Dry Ingredients – Whisk together the flour and salt in a small mixing bowl.
- Mix Wet Ingredients – In a large bowl, combine room temperature butter, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla. Then, mix on medium-high speed until well-combined.
- Form Dough – To make the dough, add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix. Mix on low until the dough comes together. The mixture will be fairly thick.
- Scoop and Indent – Scoop out small rounds of dough and place the dough balls on a baking sheet.
- Indent and Fill – Indent the center of the cookie and fill with your favorite jam or jelly.
- Bake – Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes
HOW TO MAKE THE THUMBPRINT IN THUMBPRINT COOKIES
The easiest way to make the “thumbprint” in Thumbprint Cookies is to use a 1/2-teaspoon measuring spoon. Gently press it into the dough to create a divet in the center of the dough ball and you’re done!
If you’d like, you could also just use your thumb — it is where these cookies got their name after all! The cookie wells won’t be as symmetrical, but it’ll do the trick.
WHEN DO I ADD THE JAM?
The jam should go into your thumbprint cookies before you bake them. If you were to add it afterwards, the jam center wouldn’t stay put.
PRO TIP: To make jam or jelly easier to slide into that teeny tiny crevice, transfer 1 cup of jam or jelly to a microwave-safe dish and microwave for about 20 seconds, just until it has slightly warmed and loosened up. This will make it so much easier to add the filling to your cookie!
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOUR COOKIES ARE DONE?
When the bottom edges of your cookies are tinging with a golden brown, they are done!
- Flour | This cookie recipe was developed with all-purpose flour. For best results, do not use any other types of flour in its place.
- Butter | Thumbprint Cookies are just as much about the butter as they are the jam. Make sure you are using a good, quality butter and that it is at room temperature before you begin baking. You’ll also want to take care to use unsalted butter. If you were to sub in salted butter, your cookies will come out far too salty.
- Egg Yolks | Egg yolks are made up of mostly fat, and they have the ability to add an unsurpassable richness to baked goods. They add a good deal to both the flavor and texture of these cookies, and while separating egg yolks from the egg whites does indeed add a step to the recipe, you’ll find the end results well, well worth it.
- Sugar | Granulated sugar works well in Thumbprint Cookie recipes, as it adds sweetness and moisture, but still allows the flavor of the butter to shine!
- Vanilla | While you only need a single teaspoon, the importance of pure vanilla extract should not be overlooked or forgotten! Vanilla will enhance all of the other flavors in the cookie and makes a massive difference in how delicious they turn out!
- Jam or Jelly | You can use any flavor of fruit jam or jelly you like for these Thumbprint Cookies. Our personal favorites were strawberry and raspberry jam for both the beautiful pop of color they added to the cookie, as well as their tartly, sweet flavor profile.
JAM, JELLIES, AND PRESERVES — WHICH IS BEST FOR THUMBPRINT COOKIES?
Before we get into which filling is best for your Thumbprint Cookies, let’s first talk about what they are!
Jam is made with mashed fruit that has been cooked down with sugar. Jelly is made the same way, except it is solely made up of those strained fruit juices. Preserves have larger pieces of fruit suspended within them.
Because you’ll be filling a small, 1/2-teaspoon-sized cookie crevice, you’ll definitely want to steer clear of preserves, as those larger fruit pieces will prove a nuisance while filling your cookies!
Both jam and jelly will be easier to work with, with jelly probably being the easiest to add to the cookies.
Thumbprint Cookies With Jam are a classic American holiday cookie, but did you know this cookie’s origin can actually be traced back to Sweden? The cookie was originally known as Hallongrotta, which translates to “raspberry cave.”
WANT TO ADD NUTS?
If you want to add nuts to your Thumbprint Cookies, after you’ve made the indention, brush the dough ball lightly with a whisked egg white and roll it in very finely chopped walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds. Then, fill with jam, and bake as directed!
HOW TO STORE THUMBPRINT COOKIES
If you have extra Thumbprint Cookies on hand, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. If you’d like to keep them fresh for any longer than this, freeze them!
HOW TO FREEZE THUMBPRINT COOKIES
You can freeze leftover cookies for up to 3 months. To freeze them, allow the jam center to set completely, then transfer the cookies to an airtight, freezer-safe container or a freezer-safe zip-top, gallon-sized bag.
CAN I MAKE THUMBPRINT COOKIES IN ADVANCE?
Yes! These miraculously delicious cookies taste just as good thawed from the freezer as they do fresh out of the oven. Make them up to 3 months in advance and freeze them until ready to use. They’ll thaw at room temperature on the counter in 30 minutes or less.
HOW TO FREEZE UNBAKED THUMBPRINT COOKIES
If you’d like to make the dough in advance, bake the cookies and serve them fresh — no problem! Just make the cookie dough as directed, divet the center, and then transfer to a snug, freezer-safe, airtight container. Separate each layer with sheets of wax paper, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Set out at room temperature about 30 minutes before baking, then add the jam and bake as directed. Depending on how firm/frozen the dough is going into the oven, you may need to add 2-3 minutes to the total bake time.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST THUMBPRINT COOKIES
- Scoop small! Don’t make the cookies too big. They’re supposed to be dainty and small so you get the perfect jam-to-cookie ration.
- Use the tip of a small spoon to scoop jam and slide into the center of cookies.
- Don’t use too much jam, or your cookies will bleed!
- Use a 1/2 teaspoon measure to make uniform divets in the center of all the cookies!
- Don’t overbake them. You wont them to be buttery, soft. Pull the Thumbprint Cookies from the oven as soon as the bottom edges tinge golden brown.
5 MORE COOKIE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Haystack Cookies
- Red Velvet Cookies
- Chocolate Drop Cookies
- Texas Sheet Cake Cookies
The best Thumbprint Cookies made with a no-chill shortbread dough that comes together in just 10 minutes! Use any one of your favorite jams to brighten up the cookie center.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup jam or jelly
Preheat the oven to 375°F and have ready a cookie sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt and set aside until ready to use.
Combine the butter, egg yolks, granulated sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and mix on medium-high speed until well combined.
Add the flour to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. The dough will take about a minute or so to come together and you should expect it to be fairly thick.
Scoop scant tablespoon-sized mounds of dough, roll it into balls and place them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.
Use a 1/2-teaspoon measuring spoon to gently press into the dough create a divet in the center of the dough ball. Gently shape up dough by making an 'ok' shape with your hand, cupping the dough ball, and gently squeezing together, if needed.
Add a scant 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite jam to the well in the cookie and bake for 15-16 minutes, just until the bottom edges are tinging golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest on the baking sheet 5-10 minutes before serving.