Thumbprint Jam Cookies
This Thumbprint Cookie Recipe pairs salty, nutty cookies with sweet jam the way generations of Midwestern grandmas have been making. It uses a special technique of baking the cookies for a bit before making the indentation, which helps prevent the cookies from cracking quite so much.
Classic Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
My family’s classic Midwestern sour cream sugar cookie recipe got such a nice response on social media, that I’m back today sharing our thumbprint cookie recipe!
This recipe combines a salty nutty cookie with sweet jam, and it uses a special technique of baking the cookies for a bit first before making the thumbprints, which helps prevent the cookies from cracking quite so much.
What are Thumbprint Cookies?
Thumbprint cookies are a classic in the baking world, especially around Christmas!
The unique feature of these cookies is the indentation created by pressing your thumb into the center, which provides the perfect well for a delicious filling.
Types of Thumbprint Cookies
Thumbprint cookies come in various flavors and with different fillings. Sometimes, they are made with a simple sugar cookie dough, and sometimes they are nutty.
The fillings can range from jams and preserves to chocolate, caramel or even something like Nutella. My mom actually fills hers with frosting!
Why you will love these Jam Thumbprint Cookies
- If you grew up eating thumbprint cookies, there’s a good chance this recipe is very similar to your grandma’s or mom’s. Nostalgic comfort!
- These are so versatile and customizable! Swap the walnuts for a different nut, and fill them with any filling you love!
- These visually stunning cookies make a beautiful addition to a cookie tray.
Thumbprint Cookie Recipe Ingredients
- flour – the main structure of these cookies.
- kosher salt – I love a really salty cookie to pair with the sweet jam, so we’re using a full teaspoon of kosher salt here.
- eggs – adds moisture and helps bind the cookie together.
- vegetable shortening – yes, Crisco. I very rarely use it, but it’s the right choice for these cookies for the most tender and melt-in-your-mouth consistency.
- light brown sugar – adds sweetness and a hint of molasses flavor.
- vanilla – adds a warm and aromatic undertone.
- walnuts – these will need to be very finely chopped, so feel free to buy a bag of pre-chopped walnuts and then chop them some more to get the perfect consistency.
- raspberry jam or preserves – offers a burst of fruity goodness in the center!
Which jam is best for Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies?
For classic raspberry thumbprint cookies, stick to high-quality raspberry jam or preserves. The tartness of the raspberry complements the sweetness of the cookie in the best way.
How to make Thumbprint Cookies with Jam
1. PREP. In medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, then set that aside. Line 2 rimmed baking pans with parchment paper.
2. DIVIDE. Divide the eggs so that the whites and the yolks are in two separate small bowls.
3. ADD. Put the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the shortening, brown sugar and vanilla.
4. MIX. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5. FLOUR. Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl and mix on low until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
6. ROLL. This is where you preheat your oven! Then, roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place them on the prepared pans. Use the warmth of your hands to help press and form the balls together.
7. ROLL. Place the walnuts in a medium bowl. One at a time, dip each dough ball into the egg whites, allowing the excess to drip off before rolling the dough ball in the walnuts. Use your hands to gently press the walnuts onto the dough balls. Place dough balls back on prepared pans.
8. FIRST BAKE, INDENT, JAM. Transfer the balls to the oven and bake 5 minutes. Remove the balls from the oven and make an indent in each cookie using your thumb. Fill each well with jam.
9. SECOND BAKE AND COOL. Return the cookies to the oven and bake until the bottoms are light golden brown. They will be very soft when they come out of the oven, but do not overbake them. Transfer the pans to a cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool completely before serving.
Thumbprint Cookies Recipe Variations
- CHOCOLATE LOVERS – fill the centers with chocolate ganache or Nutella for an indulgent take on these thumbprints.
- CITRUS BURST – fill with lemon or orange marmalade, or lemon curd, for a refreshing citrus flavor.
- CARAMEL DELIGHT – fill with microwave caramel for a gooey center.
*for any of the variations listed above, you would fill the cookies once they are baked and cooled, instead of in step 9, like we do with jam.
Home Chef Tips for making Thumbprint Cookies with Jam
- Room temperature ingredients are important! Ensuring that the eggs and shortening are at room temperature will allow them to incorporate into the dough more smoothly.
- High-quality jam is crucial here, because the quality of the jam significantly impacts the final flavor of the cookies. Opt for a brand that you trust!
- If evenly sized cookies are important to you, and you have a kitchen scale, feel free to scale the dough. As noted in the recipe card below, each dough ball should be 22g, before rolling in nuts.
Why did my Thumbprint Cookies go flat?
Overmixing the dough can lead to flat cookies. In Step 5, be sure to mix until the flour is JUST combined, then stop.
How do I keep my Thumbprint Cookies from cracking?
My recipe is a bit unique in that you bake the cookies for 5 minutes before making the thumbprint, then finish the bake. I’ve found that this helps the cookies come out better, with less cracks.
Storing Thumbprint Jam Cookies
Store raspberry thumbprint cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Can you freeze Thumbprint Cookies?
Yes, these thumbprint cookies freeze well! Place in a single layer in a freezer-safe container, and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
More Foxes Love Lemons Favorites
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (about 4 ounces)
- Heaping 1/4 cup raspberry jam or preserves
- In medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt and set aside. Line 2 rimmed baking pans with parchment paper.
- Divide eggs so that whites and yolks are in two separate small bowls.
- Add yolks to bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add shortening, brown sugar and vanilla to mixer bowl.
- Beat at medium speed 2 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Add flour mixture to mixer bowl and mix on low until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Roll dough into 1-inch balls (about 22g of dough each if you want to scale them) and place on prepared pans. The dough will be very sandy - this is what gives the final cookies their melt-in-your-mouth texture. Press the dough back and forth between your hands a few times to warm it up before rolling gently.
- Place walnuts in medium bowl. One at a time, dip each dough ball into egg whites, allowing excess to drip off before rolling dough ball in walnuts. Use your hands to gently press walnuts onto the dough balls. Place dough balls back on prepared pans, 1 inch apart.
- Transfer to oven and bake 5 minutes.
- Remove cookies from oven. While holding outside of cookie balls gently with one hand, use the thumb of your other hand to make an indent in the middle of each cookie. You may need to slightly reshape the outside of the cookie after you do this; this is normal. Fill each well with 1/2 teaspoon jam.
- Return to oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until bottoms are light golden brown. They will be very soft when they come out of the oven. Do not overbake. Transfer pans to cooling rack and allow cookies to cool completely on pans before serving.
Foxes Love Lemons, LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and links to Amazon.com. There is no additional cost to you.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 25 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 58mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g
This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. Nutrition information does not include any optional ingredients or toppings. You should calculate the nutrition information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.