March 2, 2024

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Thumbprint Cookies – Jo Cooks

7 min read
a few thumbprint cookies with a glass of milk.

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These Thumbprint Cookies are the perfect holiday cookies. Cookie dough balls are coated in walnuts then topped with raspberry jam. An old fashioned cookie but a classic and incredibly delicious!

a few thumbprint cookies with a glass of milk.

The Best Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

I’m already being asked for my cookies for Christmas so here I am baking pretty much for the entire month. Somehow I’m always in charge of dessert which usually is made up of a dozen different types of cookies, of which you can find the recipes for all here on the blog, and my walnut rolls which is a tradition in our family. It’s ok, I’m not complaining because I love to bake and I love these cookies.

What Are Thumbprint Cookies?

Thumbprint cookies are known as Hallongrotta which is a Swedish pastry. Translated it means “Raspberry Cave“. Thumbprint cookies are really old fashioned but a classic in my book.

There are many variations of these cookies but I love mine rolled in some toasted walnuts or pecans, however, you can use whatever nuts you prefer, but the nuts are a must. The jam is also a must. I prefer a seedless raspberry or strawberry jam, but feel free to use whatever jam you like.

thumbprint cookies on a black cooling rack.
ingredients needed to make thumbprint cookies.
  • Flour – Simple all purpose flour is all you need.
  • Salt – Just a dash is used to balance the sweetness.
  • Butter – Always use unsalted butter to control the amount of added salt.
  • Brown Sugar – It naturally has some molasses in it which complements the nuts and jam. 
  • Egg – You will need to separate the egg yolk from the white for this recipe
  • Vanilla Extract – Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
  • Walnuts – They need to be finely chopped. You can also use almonds or pecans if you prefer.
  • Raspberry Jam – I love to use seedless raspberry jam, but any type of jam will work.

These classic cookies are refined, yet take under an hour to make! The dough comes together in minutes with the help of a stand mixer. However, you can make this recipe by hand too. Just follow the easy steps and you’ll have homemade nutty fruit filled cookies in no time. 

First, preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C) so it is ready for baking once the cookie dough is ready. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to prevent the cookies from sticking.

process shots showing how to make thumbprint cookies.

To begin, combine the flour together with the salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Next, add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer and mix them together for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy using the paddle attachment. Then add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and continue mixing until well combined.

process shots showing how to make thumbprint cookies.

Finally, add the flour mixture and mix once more until fully incorporated and a dough has formed. 

It’s important to have everything ready to go before you start forming the cookies. So beat the egg white with a whisk in a small bowl until it’s frothy. Then put the finely chopped walnuts in a separate shallow bowl. 

process shots showing how to make thumbprint cookies.

Now let’s form some dough into thumbprint cookies! To start, shape the dough into 1-inch round balls that are all about the same size. The easiest way to do this is to use a cookie scoop. Next, roll each ball of dough in the egg white and then in the finely chopped walnuts. Make sure to fully coat the balls in walnuts.

process shots showing how to make thumbprint cookies.

Then place all the balls on the prepared sheet pan about 2 inches apart from each other. Now, use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each ball or you can do it like I do and use a cork.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Now carefully fill each cookie with about ¼ teaspoon of jam per cookie. Transfer the baking sheet back to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. 

When the cookies are done, remove them from the baking sheet and place them on a wire rack to cool completely before serving. 

thumbprint cookies on a black cooling rack.

Can I Use Other Types Of Jam Or Nuts?

Yes! You can use any type of jam or nuts you like. Just make sure to keep the ratios of the ingredients the same and the cookies will come out perfect. 

Can I Make GLuten-Free Thumbprint Cookies?

Probably yes, yet I’ve not tried. Just follow the same instructions, but make sure to use a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour that has xanthan gum in it, which acts as a replacement for the gluten that is naturally in all-purpose flour.

a few thumbprint cookies on a white plate.

Can I Freeze Thumbprint Cookies?

These cookies are perfect for freezing. Simply store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. I always start my cookie baking at the beginning of December and store them in the freezer until the night before serving them. Simply take out the container from the freezer and thaw them on the counter overnight.

a few thumbprint cookies with a glass of milk.

Thumbprint Cookies

Prep 20 minutes

Cook 15 minutes

Total 35 minutes

These Thumbprint Cookies are the perfect holiday cookies. Cookie dough balls are coated in walnuts then topped with raspberry jam. An old fashioned cookie but a classic and incredibly delicious!

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

  • In a medium bowl combine the flour and salt together. 

  • In the bowl of your mixer add the butter and brown sugar then mix until light and fluffy for a couple minutes. Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and continue mixing until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated. 

  • In a small bowl beat the egg white with a fork. In another shallow bowl place the finely chopped walnut.

  • Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. It might be easier to use a small cookie scoop to ensure that each ball is of equal size. Roll each ball in the egg white, then roll them in walnuts making sure to coat them well. Place the balls on the prepared cookie sheet and press a deep indentation in the center of each ball with your thumb. I find it easier to use a washed and dried wine cork. 

  • Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Now carefully fill each cookie with about ¼ teaspoon of jam per cookie. Transfer the cookie sheet back to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. 

  • Place cookies on wire racks to cool completely.

Notes

  1. If you use salted butter, there is no need to add additional salt to the recipe.
  2. This recipe will yield about 18 to 24 cookies.
  3. Feel free to add whatever jam or jelly you prefer. Pecans can also be used instead of walnuts.
  4. Room temperature ingredients. The butter needs to be soft to make the dough. And for the best texture, the large egg should be at room temperature as well so when mixed with the dry ingredients everything emulsifies properly.
  5. Use a cookie scoop. For the best results, all the cookies should be about the same size, and using a cookie scoop is the easiest way to portion them out.
  6. Rotate the pan. Most ovens have hot and cold spots. So for the most uniform baking, rotate the sheet pan halfway through the baking time.
  7. To freeze, place cookies in an airtight container and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 120kcal (6%)Carbohydrates: 13g (4%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 7g (11%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 17mg (6%)Sodium: 30mg (1%)Potassium: 41mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 6g (7%)Vitamin A: 129IU (3%)Vitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 12mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.

a few thumbprint cookies with a glass of milk.

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