Thumb Print Cookies

When I was a child, old fashioned thumb print cookies were often served at parties.  As a youngster, I made thumb print cookies based on my mother’s old cookbook.  Over time I’ve seen so many variations of this classic cookie; it’s very popular in so many different interpretations.  It’s a great cookie any time of year, but especially during the holidays.



Carol's Christmas Kitchen



Today I’m sharing a shortbread cookie made with real butter which is not overly sweet. 2 teaspoons or a small cookie scoop of dough will make about 3 dozen cookies.  The sweetness comes from your filling. Traditionally, sweet fruit jam was used to fill the thumbprint, and this is probably the most popular filling.  A great variation is to use a cream cheese mix for a cheese cake cookie. Today I’m using  a sweet strawberry jam for my filling, but raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, apricot, and orange marmalade work well too .





One thing that sets this cookie apart is nuts. When you make your cookie balls, roll them in crushed pecans (or walnuts or almonds).  For those who cannot eat nuts, roll the balls in a cinnamon-sugar mix.  Adds a little more sweetness and cinnamon taste.


Most bakers know that you need to cream the vanilla extract into butter, sugar, and egg. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding to the wet mix.  Chill the finished dough before making balls. Roll the balls in crushed nuts.  Then allow balls to warm up to room temperature before making thumbprint.  Cold dough is more likely to crack when you press your fingerprint. I like to fill my fingerprint before baking. Some folks wait to partially bake before filling. I line the cookie sheets with parchment paper (I’m totally addicted to parchment paper.)  I bake for about 13 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.  DO NOT TOUCH THE COOKIES until cooled. Hot jam can burn your hand.


Thumb Print Cookies

Use organic when available, makes approximately 36



  • 3/4 cup softened butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup packed sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts or almonds
  • 1/2 cup fruit jam








  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
  2. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar
  4. Add vanilla and egg and beat about 3 minutes until light and fluffy
  5. In separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt
  6. Gradually add to creamed mixture, beating until well blended
  7. Cover bowl and  refrigerate for 15 minutes
  8. Make 1″ balls of dough
  9. Roll cookie balls in crushed nuts (or sugar/cinnamon)
  10. Place on prepared cookie sheets
  11. Let dough warm for 5 to 8  minutes
  12. Press thumb 1/2 ” in center of cookie ball
  13. Fill with a spoonful of jam
  14. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until cookie edges are golden
  15. Cool on cookie sheets








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I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

19 thoughts to “Thumb Print Cookies”

    1. thanks Lisa – hope your Chanukah is special this year! Do you make latkes? I love latkes and apple sauce but I have never made them.

  1. So yummy. Memories of baking with our kids! I don’t bake much any more, because “we” are supposed to be watching our sugar (and by we, I mean the other person in our house)…so I have a good excuse! But I love the memories. (And I would eat a few of those in a heartbeat if you baked them fir me )). Merry Christmas Carol!

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