Thumb Print Cookies with Plum and Strawberry Jam

The perfect cookies to make on cold winter days, this is a bright and cheerful shortbread cookie with fruity jam that will surely make anyone smile.

About the recipe

My daughter Anjali made a batch of thumbprint cookies for Christmas from a recipe on NYTimes cooking section . We must admit the recipe looked long and intimidating but in reading the instructions Anjali decided the steps were easy and decided to give it a try anyway. The result were outstanding cookies!

What made them so good was a delicious cookie base combined with bright colorful jam. The shortbread was buttery, soft and not too sweet with just the right amount of cookie crumble. And then it gets stuffed with a tangy sweet fruity jam! Really a perfect cookie.

Cook’s Notes:

The first time Anjali made the cookies she followed the recipe exactly, and as you will see in the recipe below there are multiple steps. But after making the first batch she realized there was a better way to make them with the same excellent results. Here’s how she changed the process so it goes by easier.

  • Make the dough as instructed and chill.
  • Take out of refrigerator, on a floured surface roll the dough out slightly.
  • Here Anjali combined three steps into one. Start taking 1 tbsp size chunks of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten them and place them on a baking sheet. Then press down on each cookie to make a thumbprint. Place the jam in the well. Then bake for 15-17 minutes. **No need to to do a double bake (the original recipe asks you to bake the cookie for 6 minutes then take out of the oven, make a well and bake again for 8 more minutes, then take out of the oven, and then put the jam in the cookie at the end).
  • The cookies are good even if you put the jam first and then bake the cookies. We just increased the baking time to 15 -17 minutes total.

Thumb print cookies with plum and strawerry jam
makes 3 dozen cookies

Recipe from NYtimes by Susan Spungen with a few modifications


  • 3 ounces/85 grams whole hazelnuts (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons), whole pecans (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons), or whole pistachios (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 ¼ cups/290 grams all-purpose flour, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • ⅔ cup/135 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup jam for filling


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Make the dough:
  • Spread the hazelnuts or pecans out on a small baking sheet and cook in oven, shaking several times, until toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. If using hazelnuts, transfer to a bowl to cool, cover with a folded dish towel, then rub off the skins. (No need to toast the pistachios.) Once cooled, transfer the nuts to a food processor, preferably a mini one. Add 2 teaspoons flour and pulse just until nuts are finely ground, being careful not to over process.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bowl as needed. Add egg yolks and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl a few times as needed.
  • Add 1/2 cup ground nuts, the salt and the remaining 2 1/4 cups flour; beat on low speed just until combined, then increase speed and beat until dough starts to clump together. Scrape the bowl and fold a few times to make sure everything is well mixed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, flatten into a disk, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour..
  • Make the cookies
  • Pinch off small pieces of dough the size of a rounded tablespoon (about 20 grams each) and roll the top half of each one in the remaining ground nuts. Place a few inches apart on parchment- or silicone mat-lined baking sheets. Make a thumbprint in each cookie then chill in the freezer until firm, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the freezer and place spoon full of jam in each well. Then bake for 15-17 minutes until cookies is golden brown on the bottom, and nuts are looking toasty but not burned.
  • Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheets and transfer to wire racks to cool further.

You can be miserable before you eat a cookie, and you can be miserable after you eat a cookie, but you can never be miserable while you’re eating a cookie.” Ina Garten

2 thoughts on “Thumb Print Cookies with Plum and Strawberry Jam”

Leave a Reply