Delicious Thumbprint Cookies: A Classic Treat

by Thomas Martin
thumbprint cookies

Thumbprint cookies are a beloved classic in the world of baking. These delightful treats, characterized by their unique indentation filled with jam, chocolate, or other sweet fillings, have a special place in the hearts of cookie lovers. In this article, we’ll explore the art of making perfect thumb print cookies, share some tips for success, and suggest variations to keep your cookie jar interesting.

Ingredients and Equipment

Before we dive into the technique, let’s ensure you have everything you need:

  • Ingredients: All-purpose flour, unsalted butter, granulated sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract, salt, and your choice of filling (jam, chocolate ganache, etc.).
  • Equipment: Mixing bowls, electric mixer or whisk, baking sheet, parchment paper, and a small spoon or thumb for making indentations.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Thumbprint Cookies

1. Preparation: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Creaming Butter and Sugar: In a large bowl, beat the softened unsalted butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. This step is crucial for achieving the right texture.

3. Adding Wet Ingredients: Beat the egg yolks and vanilla extract until well combined.

4. Incorporating Dry Ingredients: Gradually mix all-purpose flour and salt until a cohesive dough forms.

5. Shaping the Cookies: Roll the dough into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Place them on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

6. Making the Thumbprints: Gently press your thumb or the back of a small spoon into the center of each dough ball to create a well. Be careful not to press too hard, or the cookies may crack.

7. Filling the Cookies: Spoon a small amount of your chosen filling into each indentation.

8. Baking: Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips for Perfect Thumbprint Cookies

  • Chilling the Dough: If the dough is too soft, chill it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before shaping the cookies. This will make it easier to handle and help prevent spreading.
  • Even Indentations: Use a measuring spoon or a small melon baller to create uniform indentations in each cookie.
  • Preventing Cracks: If the dough cracks when you make the indentations, gently press it back together with your fingers.
  • Experimenting with Fillings: While jam is traditional, feel free to experiment with other fillings, such as chocolate ganache, lemon curd, or even a small piece of candy.

Variations of Thumbprint Cookies

1. Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies: Add cocoa powder to the dough for a chocolatey twist.

2. Nutty Thumbprint Cookies: Roll the dough balls in finely chopped nuts before baking for added texture and flavor.

3. Spiced Thumbprint Cookies: Incorporate spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger into the dough for a warm, festive touch.

4. Lemon Thumbprint Cookies: For a zesty variation, use lemon zest in the dough and fill with lemon curd.


Thumbprint cookies are a versatile and delightful treat that can be customized in countless ways. Whether you stick to the classic jam-filled version or experiment with new flavors and fillings, these cookies will surely be a hit. Remember to pay attention to the details, like creaming the butter and sugar properly and making even indentations, to ensure your thumbprint cookies turn out perfectly every time.

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