Thumbprint Cookies

$2.69 recipe / $0.17 each
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 4 votes
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These jam thumbprint cookies have to be one of my favorite Christmas cookies ever. Do I say that about all the cookies? Maybe. But how could they not be my favorite with that snow-ball-like coconut coating and the little jewel-like dots jam in the center? But they’re not just pretty! These little show-stoppers are every bit as delicious as they are nice to look at. Plus, they’re SO easy, so make sure they’re on your cookie platter this year!

thumbprint cookies lined up closely on a wire cooling rack.

What is a Thumbprint Cookie?

Thumbprint cookies are made with a rich shortbread dough that is shaped into small balls with small depressions, or “thumbprints,” in the center filled with jam or other sweet treats. The slightly salty shortbread is the perfect contrast to the sweet jam center and together they make beautiful little jewel-like additions to a cookie platter or afternoon tea.

Coconut or no Coconut?

If you’re not into coconut, you can absolutely make these thumbprint cookies without the coconut coating. Simply skip dipping the cookie in egg whites and rolling in the coconut, and continue with the rest of the directions as usual. Another great option is to roll the cookie in granulated or powdered sugar for an icy or snow-like finish!

Close up of a jam thumbprint cookie with the rest of the cookies in the background.

What Kind of Jam to Use

This is where these cookies get fun. You can use any flavor of jam you’d like, so this recipe is a great way to use up the odds and ends of jam jars in your fridge. We used a combination of raspberry, strawberry, and orange marmalade for the cookies in the photos. You can also fill them with other spreads, like lemon curd, caramel, Nutella, or even candies like Rolos or chocolate kisses.

How to Store Thumbprint cookies

Make sure to the thumbprint cookies to cool completely to room temperature before storage. Once fully cooled, keep them in an air-tight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. For longer storage, the cookies can be frozen. Thaw the frozen thumbprint cookies at room temperature before enjoying.

Overhead view of a pile of jam thumbprint cookies.
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Thumbprint Cookies

5 from 4 votes
Jam Thumbprint Cookies are a Christmas cookie classic made with a shortbread dough, sweet fruit jam, and a nutty coconut coating.
Overhead view of a pile of jam thumbprint cookies.
Servings 16 cookies
Prep 25 mins
Cook 15 mins
Chill time 30 mins
Total 1 hr 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 8 Tbsp salted butter, room temperature ($1.00)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar ($0.11)
  • 1 large egg, separated ($0.21)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract ($0.14)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour ($0.12)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut ($0.83)
  • 8 tsp fruit jam ($0.26)

Instructions 

  • Add the room-temperature butter and sugar to a bowl. Use a mixer to cream the sugar and butter together on high speed until the mixture is light in color and creamy in texture.
  • Separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Add the egg yolk and vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture and mix to combine. Set the egg white aside for later.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the four and salt until evenly mixed. Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl with the butter mixture, and mix on low speed until a slightly crumbly dough forms. No dry flour should remain on the bottom of the bowl.
  • Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • When you're ready to make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly whisk the reserved egg white until it's slightly runny. Place the shredded coconut in a separate bowl.
  • Divide the dough into 16 equal-sized pieces and roll each one into a ball. Dip each ball into the egg white, then roll it around in the shredded coconut to coat. Place the coated cookies on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Use the back of a round ½ tsp measuring spoon or your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Fill each indentation with about ½ tsp jam.
  • Bake the cookies for 15 minutes or just until the coconut becomes slightly golden on the edges. Allow the cookies to cool before serving.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 133kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSodium: 102mgFiber: 1g
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Side view of thumbprint cookies on a cooling rack.

How to Make Thumbprint Cookies – Step By Step Photos

Creamed butter and sugar with egg yolk and vanilla.

Use a mixer to cream together 8 Tbsp salted butter and ⅓ cup sugar until the mixture is light in color and creamy in texture. Separate one large egg and set the whites aside. Add the yolk and ¼ tsp vanilla extract to the butter and sugar and mix until light and creamy again.

flour and salt added to the cookie batter.

In a separate bowl, stir together 1 cup of all-purpose flour and ¼ tsp salt. Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the butter and mix on low speed until a slightly crumbly dough forms.

Cookie dough in the bowl with the mixer on the side.

The dough should be just slightly crumbly, but no dry flour should remain on the bottom of the bowl. If you squeeze the dough together in your hand, it should form a cohesive ball of dough.

Dough wrapped in plastic.

Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Dough being divided into 16 pieces.

When you’re ready to make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 16 equal-sized pieces. The easiest way to do this is to first divide it into four, then divide each of those pieces into four again.

Cookies being dipped in egg white and coconut.

Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball. Lightly whisk the reserved egg white until it is slightly runny. Place 1 cup of shredded coconut in a separate bowl. Dip each cookie ball into the egg white, then roll in the coconut to coat. Place the coated cookies on the prepared baking sheet.

Making indentations in the cookies.

Use the back of a round ½ tsp measuring spoon or your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

Cookies filled with jam on the baking sheet.

Fill each indentation with ½ tsp of your favorite jam (we used raspberry, strawberry, and orange marmalade).

baked thumbprint cookies on the baking sheet.

Bake the thumbprint cookies in the preheated 350ºF oven for 15 minutes, or just until the coconut becomes golden brown on the edges.

A pile of jam thumbprint cookies with different colors of jam.

Allow those beautiful little cookies to cool before serving! 😍

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Comments

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  1. Absolutely fantastic! These were very moist, buttery, and the coconut added an amazing flavor (we used unsweetened coconut and it was perfect). We used apple butter, elderberry jam, and cherry butter as fillings.

  2. If you want to make them without the coconut, can you just add the entire egg vs separating the yolk and white? I’m looking forward to trying it!

    1. Hi, K! Beth explains exactly what to do in the blog post if you want to skip the coconut under the header “Coconut or no Coconut?” You could also substitute the coconut with finely chopped nuts. ~Marion :)

  3. I’ve never seen thumbprint cookies with coconut. My family always made them with nuts. Thanks for sharing all your budget ideas.