Thumbprint Cookies

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Introduction: Thumbprint Cookies

About: Angie Liew (known as Huang) is the founder and author of Huang Kitchen. Being a self taught chef, she focuses on improving cooking recipes, documenting and creating step-by-step how to guides. Her recipes span…

Thumbprint cookies are a very popular holiday cookie. The name 'thumbprint' is derived from the fact that we use our "thumb" to make an indentation in the centre of each ball of the cookie dough. The indentation is then filled with a favourite jam. These cookies are extremely buttery and crumbly from the richness of the butter, have a bit of crunch from the finely chopped walnuts and sweetness from the jam.

These easy Thumbprint Cookies are extremely easy and quick to make. They are made with a shortbread-like dough that is formed into balls (walnut size) and then rolled in finely chopped nuts with a dollop of jam in the centre. These jam-filled thumbprints get an extra touch of texture thanks to the chopped walnuts. These classic cookies always turn out pretty and delectable. Nevertheless using a good quality jam and a good quality butter is key to baking these delicious two-bite cookies.

Supplies

Ingredients

  • 113 gram butter, softened to room temperature
  • 50 gram sugar
  • 1 egg, separate into egg yolk & whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125 gram all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 80 gram walnut, toasted & finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam, or 60 gram

Step 1: Prepare Ingredients to Make the Cookies.

Have ready and measure all the ingredients needed to make these thumbprint cookies.

Notes:

If you have ready all ingredients before starting to bake, you will not miss out any ingredients needed to make the cookies.

Ensure that you have all of your ingredients at room temperature before baking, unless otherwise stated. Using room temperature ingredients will result in light and fluffy cookies. Ingredients that are at room temperature are also easier to beat, cream and combine, resulting in a smooth cookie batter. This in turn, will result in beautifully baked cookies.

Also be sure to weigh and measure all the ingredients accurately. If you are using a measuring cup to measure the dry ingredients like all-purpose flour and sugar, use a flat spatula or knife to level off the top of the measuring cup. To be accurate, always use standard size measuring spoons and not the tablespoon or dessert spoon from the kitchen drawer. If possible always weigh ingredients instead of using a measuring cup or spoon as this is more accurate measurement.

Step 2: Cut Butter Into Small Cubes.

Cut cold butter straight from the refrigerator. Cutting butter into small cubes makes combining the butter with other ingredients easier. Then leave to soften to room temperature (about 20 minutes).

Note:

Butter at room temperature is easier to beat and cream, resulting in a smooth batter.

You can use salted or unsalted butter. Suggest using unsalted butter for better flavour. Also the amount of salt in may vary quite a bit between different brands of salted butter.

Step 3: Toast the Walnuts in Preheated Oven.

To toast walnuts, first spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for 8 to 10 minutes. The nuts are done when they are light golden-brown in colour and fragrant.

Notes:

Toasting brings out the flavour of the walnuts.

You can use a variety of other nuts like pecans or almonds for this recipe. Toast them first to bring out the flavour.

Step 4: Cool the Baked Walnuts and Then Finely Chopped.

Remove the walnuts from oven and let cool completely. Then finely chopped the walnuts using a knife or place them in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Put the chopped walnuts in a shallow bowl or plate and set aside.

Notes:

For the best texture, chop nuts by hand with a large, sharp knife.

If you are using a food processor, you need to pulse the machine instead of running it continuously in order to control the texture better. Otherwise the food processor can crush and extract too much oil from the walnuts, turning them into a paste instead.

Step 5: Separate One Egg Into Yolk and White.

To separate egg white from egg yolk, you will need 2 bowls. Crack open an egg over one of the bowls. Tilt egg yolk into one side of the egg shell, disconnect the other part of the egg shell and let the egg white flow down into the bowl. Then carefully move the egg yolk to empty part of the egg shell letting the extra egg white to flow into the earlier bowl. Repeat another time until most of the egg white is in the bowl. Put the separated egg yolk in the other bowl. And we're done.

Notes:

Use cold eggs as they are easier to separate so don’t let egg warm up to room temperature before separation.

Step 6: Preheat Oven and Line Baking Tray

Before you start making the cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the wire rack in the centre of the oven. Also line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Notes:

Preheating the oven will ensure even baking of the thumbprint cookies.

Use a flat baking tray or cookie sheet with no sides for baking as it allows the heat to evenly bake the cookies. It also allows for easy removal of the baked cookies with a spatula.

Always line your baking tray with a sheet of baking (parchment) paper. This keeps the cookies off the direct heat of the baking tray. It also prevent cookies from sticking to the tray. It also allows the base of the cookies to cook to a perfectly light and golden colour and avoids over-browning.

Step 7: ​Start by Making the Cookie Dough.

To make the cookies, start by making the cookie dough.

First beat the softened butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until nice, creamy and smooth.

Then, add in sugar and beat until its light and fluffy (2 - 3 minutes). This is to give it a lighter texture cookie.

Next, add in the egg yolk.

Also, add in vanilla extract and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl as needed.

Notes:

The egg yolk in the cookie dough helps to keep the cookies soft and not too crunchy.

Use a pure vanilla extract for better flavour.

Step 8: Mix Together Flour and Salt. Then Add Into Batter.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour and salt. Add the flour mixture into the batter and beat until just combined. Scape down the sides. And we're done with the cookie dough.

Note:

The flour is mixed in at the very end of the cookie dough making process. Do not over mix.

Mixing batter until just combined means that you should stop mixing as soon as you no longer see the flour in the batter. Otherwise the gluten in the flour will form elastic gluten strands – resulting in a more dense and unpleasantly chewy texture.

Step 9: Cover the Cookie Dough and Chill in Refrigerator.

As this batter is quite soft, put the cookie dough in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (Just to get it firm enough to roll easily).

Note:

This is just to ensure the cookie dough can be easily rolled into balls.

Step 10: Weigh and Roll Cookie Dough Into Balls.

Using a tablespoon, weight each dough to 15g and roll into balls. You will have 20 dough balls.

Notes:

It is important to note that no matter what size of cookies we are baking, the important thing is to ensure that all of the cookies on the baking tray are of the same size. Cookie dough balls that are uniform in shape and size will cook evenly, resulting in perfectly baked cookies.

You can also use a one tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoon to measure out the cookie dough if you do not have a weighing scale.

Step 11: Coating the Cookie Dough.

Put the egg white in a large bowl and whisk it until it's nice and frothy. Then pour the frothy egg white into another shallow bowl or plate.

Roll each dough ball in egg white, then in chopped walnuts. Roll to ensure the chopped walnuts fully covers the cookie dough balls.

Note:

The egg white acts like a glue so that the walnut will adhere to the cookie dough balls.

Take one ball of dough at a time, first roll it in the egg white and then roll in the chopped walnut.

Step 12: Now, Make Thumbprint Cookies.

Put the rolled cookie dough balls on the lined baking sheet. Continue to do the same for the rest of the dough balls. Evenly space them on the baking sheet.

Next, using your thumb or something round, make an indentation into the centre of each cookie dough.

Fill each indentation with the raspberry jam using a small spoon or a filled piping bag. Do not overfill, just a little above the indentation so it will not flow over the sides when baked.

Continue to pipe until all the cookies are filled with jam.

Notes:

Place the cookie dough balls on the prepared baking tray spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

Pipe or spoon in about 1/2 tsp jam into the centre of the cookies.

You can use any flavour of jam or preserves for the cookie's filling. If you decide to use preserves, just make sure to strain the preserves first to remove any large pieces of fruit.

if you want to store the cookies for a few days then it is best to only fill the centre of cookies with jam after they are baked. This is because the jam does soften the cookies over time.

Step 13: Bake for 12-15 Minutes.

Bake the thumbprint cookies in the oven preheated to 180 degree C (350 degree F) for 12 to 15 minutes or till just set. Bake until the edges of the cookies turn golden in colour and the chopped walnut have browned. Just touch the cookies and they should be firm when done.

Notes:

When baking the cookies, place the baking tray in the centre of the oven for even cooking.

Bake one tray of cookies at a time.

Check the cookies about 5 minutes before done.

Avoid opening the oven door too many times during baking as the heat will escape. Ensure you close the door quickly if you do open the oven.

Do not overcook the cookies. They should still be soft when removed from the oven but will firm up on cooling. Do not attempt to bake them till firm. Otherwise they will turn out hard and dry.

Step 14: Remove the Baked Cookies From Oven to Cool.

Remove the baking tray from oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 5 to 10 minutes.

Then transfer the thumbprint cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. And we're done!

Note:

Always place the baking tray on wire rack to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes after removed from oven. Then carefully transfer the thumbprint cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely before keeping in airtight containers. The cookies will be easier to transfer as they firm up upon cooling.

Step 15: They Are an All Time Favourite for the Holiday Season.

These impressive-looking thumbprint cookies are a welcome addition to any cookie baking collections. They make such delightful treats so much so that adults and children alike will love creating these fun and colourful cookies. These are seriously good cookies so you may want to double this recipe as you may need more as they may not last till the next baking. Yes, they are simply gorgeous and are as tasty as they are festive.

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