The easiest thumbprint cookies you’ll ever make! Lightly sweet, shortbread cookie style dough filled with your favorite jam. These cookies are melt in your mouth delicious and the icing on top is completely optional. My jam filled thimble cookies require just 6 ingredients and ridiculously easy to make!
Hi guys! Welcome to the second installment of cookie week here on Little Spice Jar. Posting on a Tuesday is completely out of the norm for me but there’s a first for everything and cookies are a darn good reason to do so!
Shortbread thumbprint cookies. Buttery, melt-in-your mouth, lightly sweet and perfect little bites of heaven. I don’t think there’s anyone that could resist these. Shortbread cookies are always welcome at our house and they fly off the place in 2.5 seconds every. single. time.
I’ve been making shortbread thumbprint cookies since high school, which was *gulp* 10 years ago. My family recipe for thimble cookies call for these yummy shortbreads to be dipped into egg whites and then into chopped walnuts. I absolutely love them, but sometimes you want a little icing and don’t really want the nuts. *Gasp* I know, right?
Batch #1 was what I made 3 weeks ago and posted on Instagram, let’s just summarize and say they look flat. Like an elephant happily planted it’s bummy upon my cookie. No thank you. It’s not suppose to be a bum-print cookie. It took some time to recover from this catastrophe, but I found my way back into the cookie making business. Back to the drawing board we go!
The second time around, with a little recipe tweaking I had major success! I shared these cookies with neighbors and my parents and they were a complete hit all around! Shortbread cookies from scratch, you can’t get me that easily!
Shortbread cookies start with a few simple ingredients – sugar, butter, and flour. It’s a simple 1, 2, 3. 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3 parts flour. Some recipes use leavening agents, while others don’t. Some use eggs, some don’t. My recipe doesn’t use any leavening agents at all and as for the egg, we’re using only the yolk to make sure we get the perfect cookie, without spread. Also, it contain a slightly higher flour content than what’s considered ‘traditional’. I feel it gives these cookies more of a shaggy, buttery texture.
Let’s talk about a few important factors about shortbread cookie making. I have a step-by-step guide for you today because I know that a lot of people find shortbread thumbprint cookies kind of daunting. Fear not, we’re going to walk through everything together.
Make sure you have some time set aside to make these cookies. Shortbread cookie dough is quick to pull together but needs it’s ‘sweet’ (hehe) time to chill. My shortbread cookie dough recipe needs about 2 1/2 hours to chill but the longer you chill them the better it is. I like to make my cookie dough one day ahead of time so it has time to chill overnight. Also, there is a 30 minute cool time between baking and icing, so don’t forget that either!
After the shortbread dough has been mixed up it’s going to look quite soft and buttery. It’s shaggy and almost crumbly to the touch, fear not – you’re doing it right.
Shape the shortbread cookie dough out into balls. If your dough is super hard, just let it relax on the counter for 10-15 minutes prior to shaping. I used about 1 tablespoon of dough per thimble cookie ball. Try to make them as smooth as possible. Now, here’s a trick that the other recipes don’t share with you, making an indentation with your thumb causes these cookies to have cracks on the side. It’s hard to smooth them, at least with my sugar cookie dough recipe. I bake my cookies for 2-3 minutes until they just start to get soft and perfect to fill with jelly. Also, I make my indentation using the back of a small melon baller instead of my thumb. The melon baller is more practical and evenly distributes the jam. But, you can use your thumb if you’d like.
Fill each cookie with 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon of raspberry or apricot jam. You could really use any jam of choice – strawberry, boysenberry, blackberry, blueberry, peach, or even apple. Whatever jam or jelly you like best. I like my thumbprint cookies with raspberry jam and the apricot gives them a nice flavor too.
I bake my cookies for 12-15 minutes or until they start to get lightly brown around the edges. This is not including the pre-baking we did of 3 minutes. Let them cool for 30 minutes before even thinking about glazing them. You’ll get a river of sweet icing everywhere.
My glaze is a simple combination of half and half, confectioners sugar, and a hint of vanilla extract. If you don’t have half and half, regular milk can be substituted in it’s place. I drizzled the glaze on each cookie using a small baggie with the corner snipped.
These shortbread cookies will become a favorite of yours. Everyone that I shared them with came back and said they were delicious! Thumbprint cookies are so simple to make with just 6 ingredients. The results however are phenomenal!
- For the shortbread:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup raspberry or apricot jam (you can use any flavor, really)
- For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
- 1/2 tablespoons half and half or milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together on high speed until completely creamy and whipped, about 1-2 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium low, and add the egg yolk. Allow the egg yolk to mix in completely before adding the vanilla extract. Once mixed, scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Turn the mixer off, add the flour to the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and slowly allow the flour to mix in and form a soft dough. Once the dough is completely mixed, place it in a container, press down, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 1/2 hours. I prefer overnight (about 8 hours).
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat (the mats will cause less spreading). Shape the cookie dough into balls. I used 1 tablespoon dough per ball. Bake the balls for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and using the back of a small melon baller or your thumb make an indentation in the dough. Fill each thumbprint with 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
- Bake the shortbread cookies for 12-15 minutes or until very lightly browned on the edges. Mine took exactly 12 minutes on the dot. Do not over-bake. Allow cookies to cool for 30 minutes in total before glazing.
- In a small bowl, combine the confectioners sugar, half and half, and vanilla extract. You make need a little bit more liquid to get the desired consistency. Drizzle over the cookies or use a small baggie that’s been snipped in the corner to drizzle. Glaze will take a few minutes to set.[br][br]
- Cookies should be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5.