HEALTH

Thumbprint Cookies Recipe – Cookie and Kate

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thumbprint cookies recipe

These thumbprint cookies offer classic shortbread flavor with dazzling jam centers. Using almond flour makes them gluten free and extra delicious! They’re tender and buttery with a pop of sweetness in the center. Make these irresistible cookies for any special occasion, or just because.

This thumbprint cookie recipe is honestly so easy to make. You don’t need a mixer. You don’t need to wait for perfectly softened butter. You don’t need to chill the dough before baking. The dough comes together so quickly and rolls so easily that this recipe would be a fun baking project with kids. If you don’t typically bake with almond flour, this recipe is absolutely worth buying the bag.

thumbprint cookies ingredients

Thumbprint cookies are particularly fun and versatile because you can change the flavor and the color of the centers by your choice of jam. These treats are perfect for the holidays, like Valentine’s Day (I suggest raspberry or strawberry filling), Easter (try several jams for a fun color mix), Independence Day (perhaps raspberry and blueberry), and Christmas (anything red).

For those with special diet considerations, I’ll point out that this recipe happens to be gluten free and egg free. You can make it dairy free and vegan by substituting coconut oil for the butter (see recipe notes). It’s also partially naturally sweetened with maple syrup. Of course, the recipe is not nut free due to the almond flour, but it might be just the cookie you’ve been searching for.

I’ve been perfecting this recipe over the past couple of months. I’m just so excited to share it with you! I hope it becomes a go-to recipe for you, too.

how to make thumbprint cookies

Thumbprint Cookie Ingredients

Almond Flour

Use fine blanched almond flour for this recipe. Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur and Whole Foods 365 brands yield great results for these cookies. Almond flour or meal made with whole almonds (not blanched/including the skins) will yield a more rustic texture with untraditional flavor. I don’t recommend those types.

To measure your almond flour, use a kitchen scale if you have it! I’ve included gram measurements in the recipe below. I strongly recommend weighing almond flour versus using measuring cups. Even when using the same scooping technique (spooned and leveled), we’ve found big differences between measurements—even more so than with regular wheat flour.

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, whisk your flour in the bag before measuring to smooth out any lumps. Then, use a big spoon to spoon flour into the cups, leveling off the top with a knife.

Butter

We’ll use unsalted butter to maintain full control over the salt level. Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove, just until it’s melted (not excessively hot).

Maple Syrup

This cookie dough is naturally sweetened with maple syrup, which imparts very subtle maple flavor. Always use real maple syrup, not the artificial kind.

Vanilla Extract & Salt

A little bit of vanilla lends some additional flavor to this cookie recipe. If you want to lean into the almond flavor, you could also add up to 1 teaspoon almond extract. Fine salt enhances all of the flavors.

Sugar

Rolling the dough balls in granulated sugar does two things. First, it offers some light sweetness in each bite. Second, it offers some additional texture, which is especially welcome on days two and three after baking since the cookies soften a bit with time. You can omit the sugar here, but I recommend it for cookies that really taste like a treat! (They are still not too sweet.)

Jam or Preserves

Use jam or preserves of your choice. Any fruity flavor should taste good. Consider that the color of the jam will become slightly darker during baking. I used Bonne Maman’s Raspberry Preserves, which yields amazing flavor and a beautiful color. You could use more than one variety of jam, alternating between cookies, for different colors and flavors within one batch! Here’s a fun Bonne Maman four-pack of jams or cute mini sampler pack—both would leave you with a lot of extra jam.

thumbprint cookies before baking

Thumbprint Cookie Tips

Here are a few tips and an instructional video!

This recipe is easy to make, especially when you have the right tools. You can bake the full batch of cookies at once on this large baking sheet (affiliate link)—I use these half sheets all the time for roasting vegetables, too. The rim is helpful so the cookies don’t slide off.

To scoop the cookies, use your smallest cookie scoop or measure about 2 teaspoons’ worth of dough with measuring spoons (that’s two-thirds of one tablespoon). If you make your cookies any larger than specified, your yield will be reduced and the cookies will need a little more time in the oven.

Gently roll the cookies between your palms to minimize any lines or cracks in the dough. Roll them both before and after you roll the dough balls in sugar. This dough is very easy to work with.

Use a small, round measuring spoon or your thumb to slowly press downward and make a well for the jam. Contrary to the name of the cookies, I have better luck with the measuring spoon than my thumb!

Stir your jam well before using. If the jam is too firm to work with, gently warm it in the microwave for a few seconds, just until it’s easy to stir.

Then, fill the well with no more than 1/2 teaspoon jam. Too much, and the jam might seep over the edge during baking. Baking the cookies with the jam in place helps dehydrate the jam a bit, which concentrates the flavor and helps the jam set even further.

Lastly, spend a minute smoothing any cracks around the edges of the cookies before baking, which is quick and easy to do with your finger. The cracks will become more pronounced during baking, so it’s best to minimize them beforehand.

Watch How to Make Thumbprint Cookies

thumbprint cookies on pan

More Cookies & Treats to Try

Gluten-Free Cookies

Here are a few more cookie recipes that just happen to be gluten free.

Almond Flour Treats

If you’re enjoying almond flour like I am, try these almond flour recipes.

Please let me know how your recipe turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.

two thumbprint cookies on plate

Print

Thumbprint Cookies

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 14 minutes
  • Total Time: 34 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookie
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 11 reviews

These thumbprint cookies offer classic shortbread flavor with dazzling jam centers. Almond flour makes them gluten free and extra delicious! Recipe yields 22 to 24 small cookies.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups (191 grams) fine blanched almond flour, spooned and leveled
  • 6 tablespoons (80 grams) unsalted butter, melted but not overly hot
  • ¼ cup (80 grams) maple syrup 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, for rolling 
  • 6 tablespoons jam or preserves of choice (raspberry recommended), well stirred

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to ensure that the cookies don’t stick to the pan.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until the dough is uniformly blended and smooth.
  3. Pour the sugar into a small bowl and set it aside. Use a small cookie scoop (size 70 portioner) or scoop 2 teaspoons of the dough with measuring spoons. Gently roll the dough into a ball between your palms. Drop the ball into the bowl of sugar and roll it around until lightly coated all around. Gently roll it into a ball once more and place it on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, keeping the balls about 2 inches apart.
  4. To make indentions for the jam, use the rounded back of a teaspoon or your thumb to gently press an indentation in the center of each cookie dough ball. If the dough cracks around the edges, take the time to gently smooth it back together. Fill each indentation with a level ½ teaspoon of jam (no more!). If the jam is too firm to work with, gently warm it in the microwave for a few seconds, just until it’s easy to stir.
  5. Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes, until they start to turn lightly golden around the edges.
  6. Remove the cookies from the oven. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature, ideally in a single layer, for up to 7 days. They become a little more tender as time goes on, so I wouldn’t suggest shipping these.

Notes

Make it dairy free/vegan: Replace the butter with an equal amount of just-melted coconut oil. Unrefined coconut flavor will impart some coconut flavor; use refined coconut oil if you don’t want to taste coconut. If you are following a vegan diet, be sure to choose vegan sugar and jam.

▸ Nutrition Information

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

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