Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies with Jam

Just as a warning, these cookies are unbelievably addicting. They have a soft, buttery crumb that melts in your mouth. And that sweet, fruity center! The combination is a perfectly tart cookie that I dare you to eat just one of.

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My mom, sister and I made these cookies to give out as Christmas gifts for our co-workers. I think the final count after the bake-off was around 90 cookies. Well, it’s possible that I got a little carried away. Of my share of the bake (30 cookies), I may or may not have eaten 24.

That’s okay, though! Because the only thing that makes these cookies better than their taste is how easy they are to make! No eggs, no milk–the most extravagant ingredient (and I use that term loosely) is the jam for the center.

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Even the jam isn’t that set in stone. My mom used orange jam, my sister preferred strawberry, and I used raspberry. I have even seen people use melted chocolate and drizzle in caramel to make Twix cookies. Honestly, the possibilities go on and on!

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As I said, making these cookies was a family affair, which I highly recommend to you, friends. Since these cookies just need to be balled and pinched, it’s the perfect project for little helpers. If you’re worried about the mess they’ll make, then don’t sweat it! The dough is not that sticky (unless it’s overheated, in which case, pop it in the fridge for a minute to chill) and won’t gunk up tiny fingers. Did your helpers sneak a taste? Again, that’s okay because there are no raw products in the dough.

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1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract (I prefer vanilla)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup jam, any flavor (seeds will not affect the recipe)


1/2 cup powdered sugar

3/4 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

1 teaspoon milk or water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Mix in extract. Mix in flour just until dough comes together. Be careful not to over-mix the dough. It will make your cookies tough.

Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on un-greased cookie sheets. Using your thumb and forefinger, make small pockets in the center of each ball, being careful not to scrape through the bottom of the cookie. Fill each hole with preserves, but be careful not to overfill. It’ll make a sticky mess in the oven!

Bake for 14-18 minutes until they just crisp. It’s important that they don’t get golden-brown on the bottom; these cookies are supposed to be a snowy white. Thickness of your cookie sheets will determine the length of time they go in the oven. (Keep in mind, you can always pop them back in the oven later if they aren’t as done as you’d like.)

Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, but don’t leave the cookie sheet on top of the oven! The heat will continue to bake these sensitive cookies.

For the glaze, in a medium bowl, mix together powdered sugar, extract and milk until smooth. Put glaze in a sandwich bag and carefully snip a tiny section off one of the corners. Drizzle lightly over still warm cookies.

Now try not to eat all of these little beauties, but who am I to talk? If you need me, I’ll be over here eating these cookies for breakfast. And lunch.

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