When it comes to holiday cookie exchanges, we’re sure thumbprint cookies rank close to the top. You’ll find all sorts of recipes but we’re partial to cream cheese dough with a sticky jam filling.
These sweet yet tart treats are especially light and tender because you keep the dough nice and cold (preferably overnight) before rolling it out.
Little bakers can easily make indentations for the filling as long as their thumbs stay clean! Otherwise, using the bottom of a rounded measuring spoon can work.
thumbprint cookies recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup fruit preserves
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond extract together until light and fluffy.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt over the butter/cream cheese mixture then mix until completely combined.
- Divide the dough in 2 and wrap each half with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled—preferably overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove only ½ of the dough from the fridge. On a well-floured surface, flour the rolling pin and the top of the dough then roll out to a thickness between ¼" and ⅜", moving the dough and re-flouring frequently to prevent sticking.
- Cut out dough using a 2" round cookie cutter. Transfer the cookies to the cookie sheet and space 1" apart. Gather the scraps into a cohesive ball and repeat until you’ve used all the dough. Use your thumb or the rounded bottom of a measuring spoon to press an indentation in the center of each cookie.
- Fill each of the indentations with at least ½ tsp of jam or fruit preserves but don’t be tempted to overfill them!
- Bake 12–13 minutes or until just slightly golden brown on the bottom and edges. Cool 2–3 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Head back to the fridge for the remaining dough then repeat the process.
Cookies can be filled with jam before or after baking. Don’t overfill them or you’ll have a sticky mess on your hands! Literally.