Thumbprint Cookies

These were another cookie that was added to my holiday trays this year to fulfill a request. They are a classic holiday cookie so they made a beautiful addition to my trays. The dough for these bakes up into a tart-like cookie that is filled with jam or preserves of your choice. There is almond flour in the dough which I had not heard of using in these before so I was very intrigued. It is essentially ground almonds so you can imagine it lends a wonderful nutty flavor and texture to these cookies. I decided to use my own Spiced Plum Cherry Preserves as the filling, which I also gave as gifts to a few people so it seemed like a “cute” thing to do. (Sorry you didn’t get any mom, I was worried it would break in the box during shipping and get all over everything!)


For some reason in the past I have had very bad luck making thumbprint cookies. I don’t know why that is but it feels like a curse. I feel like I’ve either over-cooked them making them like little rocks or under-cooked them, leaving them tasting of flour. This year they came out quite tasty yes I still encountered some difficulty in making them. This was due in no way to the recipe but rather because my tablespoon cookie scoop decided to break after forming only about 5 of these. A metal piece that was welded on the inside of one of the handles broke off, taking with it the spring, rendering the device useless. Brand new cookie scoop. Needless to say, it got taken back and exchanged for a new one but not until after I went through the rest of this dough, free-forming it into balls with my hands. And so I will blame the broken cookie scoop on my forming these cookies too large and a bit irregularly. They were still delicious but the ratio of cookie to filling was definitely off. I will use the recipe again but I suggest making the cookies on the smaller side so that the thumbprint leaves only a thin ring of dough around it. That way you get preserves or jam (whatever you fill these with) in every bite.

This is another recipe adapted out of King Arthur’s Flour: Cookie Companion. You can use whatever kindof preserves, jam or jelly you like. Raspberry is a classic flavor for these, which goes wonderfully with the almond flavor. I loved, and received complements on my pairing of the spiced plum cherry with these as well though. You also have a choice on what you coat the outside of the cookies with. I did some with finely chopped almonds and some with shredded coconut. I’m not sure I have a preference between the two but it was nice to have a variety. You could use any kind of finely chopped nuts you like. The almond flour in the dough may be replaced with hazelnut flour or pecan meal. The almond flour I bought was actually labelled almond meal but it is basically the same thing. You can also make your own nut flour at home: process shelled nuts in your food processor until they are finely ground. Just be careful not to take the grinding too far because there is a fine line between nut flour and paste. It will become oily and pasty if you process it too long. I keep my unused almond meal/flour in the freezer to prevent the oil from going rancid.



Thumbprint Cookies

(Adapted from King Arthur’s Flour: Cookie Companion)


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
  • ½ tsp. fine salt
  • ½ cup (1 5/8 ounces) almond flour or meal
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • ½ cups finely chopped nuts or shredded sweetened coconut
  • ¾ cup jam, jelly or preserves of your choice



  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy
  • Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla, almond and salt
  • Add the almond flour and 2 ½ cups of the flour, mixing until well blended. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour to make it workable
  • Cover and chill dough for 1 hour
  • While the dough chills, cover the egg whites and leave them out to warm to room temperature
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F with rack in the center position
  • Prepare two half-sheet trays by lining with silicone mats or parchment paper
  • In a small bowl, whip the egg whites until they’re foamy
  • Place the chopped nuts or shredded coconut into a shallow bowl or dish
  • Break off pieces of the dough with a tablespoon cookie scoop and roll them between your palms to form 1-inch balls
  • Dip the balls in the egg white, the roll in the nuts or coconut
  • Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets
Again closer together because I am preparing these for freezing so I can bake them later! (Make the dough well ahead of the holiday to make your life easier!)

Again closer together because I am preparing these for freezing so I can bake them later! (Make the dough well ahead of the holiday to make your life easier!)


  • Make a deep thumbprint in the center of each cookie
  • Fill the thumbprints with jam or preserves, using about ½ tsp. for each (this can also be done afterwards but I feel that it “sets” the jam in the cookies more firmly by baking with the cookie)
  • Bake the cookies for 12-16 minutes, until they’re golden brown
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool



7 responses to “Thumbprint Cookies

  1. Pingback: Featured Recipe Thursday- Lintzer Cookies | Kouzounas Kitchen·

  2. Pingback: Holiday Cookie Trays 2013 | therapy bread·

  3. Pingback: Almond Madeleines | therapy bread·

  4. My Mom used to make these cookies and they always went fast. She wasn’t the best cook, but her baked goods were something to behold…and gobble up. I appreciate your blog. Your talent, innovation and creativity show through. Thanks for sharing with us. Hope to see more soon!

    • Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Life has been such a whirlwind for me lately! Good things are in the works, hopefully I’ll have more info on that to share on here soon!

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