Thumbprint Cookies

Recipe by Susan Reid

These thumbprint cookies are crisp, buttery, nut-studded, and can cradle all kinds of imaginative fillings in the depression in their tops. You can fill them with festively colored icings for the Fourth of July, or reach for the jam at holiday time. Other delectable choices include soft caramel, or melted chocolate. Find all those three-quarters-empty jam jars on the refrigerator door, and put them to good use. Oh, and did we mention a simple dab of honey-sweetened peanut butter?

1 hr
12 to 14 mins
2 hrs 42 mins
5 dozen cookies
Thumbprint Cookies - select to zoom
Thumbprint Cookies - select to zoom
Thumbprint Cookies - select to zoom


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  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment, or use a non-stick baking sheet; greasing the pans isn't sufficient to prevent sticking.

  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until very light.

  3. Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt.

  4. Add the nut flour and the lesser amount of all-purpose flour, stirring until well blended. If the dough seems too sticky, add just enough additional flour to make it workable.

  5. Cover and chill the dough for an hour.

  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  7. While the dough chills, cover the egg whites and leave them out of the refrigerator to warm up to room temperature.

  8. In a small bowl, whip the egg whites until they're foamy.

  9. Break off pieces of dough and roll them between your palms to form 1" balls.

  10. Dip the balls into the egg whites, and roll them in the chopped nuts. Place the cookies about 2" apart on the prepared baking sheets.

  11. Bake the thumbprint cookies for 8 minutes, then remove them from the oven.

  12. Make a deep thumbprint in the center of each cookie.

  13. Return to the oven, and bake until they're a light, golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes.

  14. Remove the thumbprint cookies from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.

  15. Fill the thumbprint with the filling of your choice, using about 1/2 teaspoon for each. (See "tips," below for filling ideas.) Serve the thumbprint cookies at room temperature.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Customize the filling of these thumbprint cookies to your liking: jam, ganache, and sweetened nut butter all work well. You can also fill them with a simple icing, if you like.

  • Looking for a gluten-free version of this recipe? Find it here: Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies.