Our annual holiday cookie baking marathon wouldn’t be complete without one very “retro” recipe to add to our cookie collection. Here’s my updated take a childhood favourite: Classic Thumbprint Cookies. What I’ve always liked about this recipe is its relatively low sugar content before filling. In the photos on this post, you’ll see my walnut-dappled cookies filled with a mix of homemade Chunky Caramel Apple Jam and store-bought St. Dalfour strawberry jam [sweetened with fruit juice instead of sugar]. The nuts add a lovely flavour, but feel free to swap those out with coconut or sprinkles, or just leave plain! You can also fill your cookies with any jam, jelly, curd, or chocolate kiss your heart desires. See the recipe notes for even more ideas!
Classic Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs separated
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or other nuts, coconut, sprinkles [or leave plain]
- 1+ cup Jam or jelly, lemon curd, or 40-48 maraschino cherry halves or wholes, or 40-48 chocolate kisses
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, line cookie sheets with parchment, and make sure your eggs are separated.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl with a hand blender or whisk, mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and the 2 egg yolks, and mix until combined.
- Mix in the flour and salt until a malleable dough forms.
- Gather the dough by the heaping teaspoons and form into 1-inch balls.
- Whisk the egg-whites with a fork.
- Dip each ball of dough into the egg-whites [unless you plan on leaving them plain] and then roll in the bowl of nuts [or other toppings]
- Place the balls about 1-inch apart from one another on the parchment-lined cookie sheets.
- Press your thumb deeply into the centre of each ball to form a well. [If you're going to be filling your cookies with chocolate kisses, you might want to use a kiss or the back of similarly sized measuring spoon to ensure your well is large enough.]
- Bake 11-12 minutes, until the cookies are just beginning to brown.
- If the centres of the cookies have risen a bit after baking, press down into the wells with a teaspoon.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for a minute before removing to racks to cool completely.
- Fill the thumbprints with about a teaspoon of jam, jelly, or curd, or with a cherry [whole or half] or chocolate kiss.
- Cookies may be layered in waxed paper and stored in an airtight container for several days. Freeze unfilled baked thumbprints for up to 3 months!