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Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies

These easy Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies are so pretty and so deliciously irresistible, I’ll bet you can’t eat just one! They’re a classic that are perfect for the holidays or any time of the year!

I will admit that I am not a huge baker of Christmas cookies, but I do always make sure to bake at least a couple of batches of these festive thumbprints that are soft and buttery, lightly sweet with a hint of almond (or vanilla), and filled with fruity jam.

I’ve been baking them for years, and they’re always a hit!

Growing up, there was a time when my mom made dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies each year to have on hand for all the visits from relatives and friends over the holiday season. I can remember her staying up and baking until all hours of the night. It was a lot of effort on her part!

Me? I just don’t have the motivation to do all of that baking, mostly because I’m more cook than baker, and so I focus on all the other yummy holiday food…the drinks, the appetizers and snacks, and dinner.

BUT you have to have some cookies at Christmas, right? So, these little gems are my go-to cookies of choice – first because they are so pretty and delicious and second because they are super easy to make!

Heck, you don’t even need to lug out the mixer for these babies. Just mix the cookie dough together in a bowl, roll it into balls, place on cookie sheets, make a well in the center of each one, fill it with jam, bake, and cool.

Then take a moment to admire your beautiful little cookies because they will be gone before you know it!

jam filled thumbprint cookies on a wire cooling rack

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED:

  • Salted butter
  • Sugar
  • Egg yolks
  • Almond extract (or vanilla extract)
  • Flour (all-purpose)
  • Jam (your choice of flavor – or flavors)

I like to use a couple of different types of jam because it looks so nice to have the different colors. For the photos today, I used blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, and apricot. Use whatever you’ve got or whatever you like!

My easy homemade Strawberry Refrigerator Jam is absolutely delicious in these cookies!

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE JAM-FILLED THUMBPRINT COOKIES:

three images showing steps to make jam filled thumbprint cookies
three images showing steps to make jam filled thumbprint cookies

three images showing how to make jam filled thumbprint cookies
three images showing how to make jam filled thumbprint cookies

TIPS & TIDBITS:

  • The dough will seem dry and crumbly when you first start mixing, but just keep on mixing, and it will come together. This is a relatively firm dough, but it should also be smooth and soft.
  • Sometimes the dough will crack when you make the well for the jam. If it happens, don’t let it upset you. Try to fix the cracks as best as you can with your fingers, especially any big ones. Trust me, the cookies are still going to taste damn good. Embrace their imperfection and just call them jam-filled thumbprint crinkle cookies! Here are a few tips, though, to help prevent your dough from cracking:
    • Make sure to correctly measure your flour by scooping it into your measuring cup and then leveling it off with a knife. Too much flour will make your dough drier, and it will crack much easier.
    • Roll the balls until they are very, very smooth.
    • When making the well in the dough, press very gently.
    • You can also very gently flatten the dough ball just a bit with your fingers before making the well.
    • Make the well in each cookie as you roll it rather than waiting to do them all at once (less time exposed to the air so less chance of drying a bit and causing cracks).
jam filled butter cookies on a white plate

TIPS & TIDBITS (CONTINUED):

  • If you don’t have parchment paper, you can just put the cookie dough directly on ungreased cookie sheets. I like to use parchment paper for easy clean-up and so that my cookies always come off the baking sheet easily.
  • To ensure soft cookies, be careful not to over-bake them. The bottoms should be lightly golden brown, and the tops should have no color at all.
  • If you only have one baking sheet and need to bake these in two batches, make sure that your baking sheet has cooled completely before adding the second batch of dough. If the pan is hot, your cookies will probably spread too much.
  • You can freeze these cookies up to 3 months if you’d like to make them ahead of time. When they’re completely cooled, place them in freezer bags or freezer containers. Just make sure to put a piece of wax paper between each layer of cookies so they don’t stick together.
jam filled thumbprint cookies on a white plate with one cookie that has a bit taken out of it

If you’re looking for an easy and delicious cookie recipe that everyone is sure to love this holiday season, add these cookies to your baking list – and also be sure to try my thick, bakery-style Chocolate Chip Cookies and Welsh Cookies too!

I hope you try this recipe for Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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jam filled thumbprint cookies on a white plate

Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies

These easy Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies are so pretty and so deliciously irresistible, I'll bet you can't eat just one! They're a classic that are perfect for the holidays or any time of the year!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Cooling Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes
Servings: 26 cookies (approximately)
Estimated Calories: 107

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup salted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, or vanilla extract
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup jam, any flavor or combination of flavors

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, egg yolks, and almond (or vanilla) extract until well combined.
  • Add the flour and mix until a dough forms. It will be dry and crumbly as you first start mixing it, but keep on mixing, and it will come together. This is a relatively firm dough, but it should also be smooth and soft.
  • Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. A level tablespoon-sized measuring spoon will give you the right size dough ball. To help prevent your cookies from cracking, make sure you roll the balls until they are very smooth.
  • Very gently make a well in the center of each ball with the back of a ½-teaspoon measuring spoon (you could also use your thumb, but I like to use the measuring spoon because it makes a more consistent well in each cookie, and it's the perfect size for the ½ teaspoon of jam you're going to put in). If your dough cracks when you do this, don't despair! Use your fingers to gently repair the cracks as best as you can, especially any large ones. To prevent cracking, in addition to rolling the balls until they are very smooth, you can try making the wells as you finish rolling each ball rather than rolling them all and then making the wells. You can also try gently flattening each ball just a bit with your fingers before making the well to see if that helps.
  • Fill each well with ½ teaspoon of jam.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly golden brown. The tops should not have any color at all.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for one minute after removing them from the oven, and then remove them to wire racks to cool completely.

Notes

  • If you don’t have parchment paper, you can place the dough directly on ungreased cookie sheets. 
  • If you only have one baking sheet and have to bake the cookies in two batches, be sure to wait until your baking sheet has cooled completely before baking the second batch. Putting the dough on a hot baking sheet will cause them to spread too much.
  • Store cookies in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
  • These cookies can be made ahead and frozen up to 3 months. Place the cooled cookies in freezer bags or freezer containers, making sure to put wax paper between layers so that the cookies don’t stick together. 
  • Estimated calories is for 1 cookie.
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Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.

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