Butter and Jam Thumbprints

A simple butter cookie with jam filling.

Source: Food Network Kitchens

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

The thumbprint cookie has always seemed like something of a staple of Americana to me.  A butter cookie filled with jam; what could be nicer?  Nevertheless, today was my first time ever making them.  I can’t even say why this is, but I blame my family.  I don’t remember ever having thumbprint cookies at my house, or my grandparents homes, or even the homes of close friends.  Maybe they just weren’t popular in my neighborhood.

So I thought it was about time I tried them, and I was very pleased at the results.  I got this recipe from the Food Network site, which is a treasure trove for cookie-bakers.  There are creative recipes of all kinds there, although this one falls in the more basic category, for me.

Start by whipping the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy.  This takes about 5 minutes.  The butter will lighten in color during this process.

Once you have properly fluffed the butter and sugar, add in the egg and vanilla.  Food Network Kitchens recommends lightly beating the egg and vanilla together before adding to the butter mixture.  You then add in your dry ingredients, making sure not to mix more than absolutely necessary.  I actually hand mixed the flour in with a wooden spoon, because it wasn’t coming together easily in the stand mixer, and I didn’t want to over-mix it.

Now comes the fun part.  Roll the dough into balls, and roll those balls in some sugar.  Place the balls on the cookie sheet and use your thumb to press an indentation into the dough.  It should look something like this:

I tried using some tools to make nice, even indents, but honestly, nothing worked as well as my thumb.  Call me a control freak.

Finally, fill the dents with jam.  This was the part where I started to think that these cookies were a lot of work.  Then I remembered that I do not have to frost them, and I quickly changed my mind.

They should bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Mine needed the entire 15 minutes, too.  They should have golden edges when they come out.  Let them cool, and enjoy!  They can stay in a container for a few days, but the batch I made will never last that long.  The junior high boys at my house asked for seconds, so they must be pretty good!

Personally, I love the simplicity of these cookies.  They would be great for a summer picnic or family get-together, served with lemonade.

Update: I made these again with my homemade plum jam, and I was supremely disappointed.  I should have expected it, because my jam never did quite set up properly, and it was pretty thin and runny before baking.  The baking made it run all over and they did not look very pretty coming out.  It was a sad day for me.  On the bright side, though, they still taste okay.  My son generously offered to “eat them anyway,” and my husband commented, “That’s too bad!  You’ll just have to make them again!”  Well… they are his favorite.

Butter and Jam Thumbprints
Cook time
Total time
A simple buttery cookie filled with jam.
Serves: 3 dozen
  • 1¾ cup flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup sugar, + more for rolling
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ⅓ cup raspberry, cherry, or strawberry jam
  1. Whip the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well.
  3. Gently mix in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated.
  4. Roll dough into balls, and roll in sugar to coat.
  5. Place on baking sheet. Use thumb to make an indent in the dough. Fill the dough indents with jam.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes

8 thoughts on “Butter and Jam Thumbprints

  1. em!

    i am totally trying this recipe. ryan has been crying to me all week that i never bake cookies for him.
    is it me, or is blogging about cooking expensive?

  2. Jen Post author

    Not just you. Hey, if you use the button on the right to donate to my blog, I could afford to make the apricot nut cookie recipe I just found. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share them with you, because I can’t afford to mail them.

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