Thumbprint cookies are a classic Christmas cookie option for good reason: they're easy to customize, fun for kids to help make, and can easily be baked ahead and frozen.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a large bowl beat butter with a mixer on medium 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour. Chill, covered, 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

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  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a cookie sheet. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in desired coating. Place balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indent in the center of each ball.

  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. If centers puff up during baking, re-press with the round side of a measuring teaspoon. Remove cookies; let cool on a wire rack. Before serving, fill centers with desired filling. Makes 30 cookies.

COOKIE STORAGE:

Layer filled Mint Sparklers and Triple Chocolate between waxed paper in an airtight container. Layer and store all others unfilled. Store at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months. To serve, thaw (if frozen) and fill as directed.

Lemon-Coconut Thumbprints

Prepare dough as directed, except add 1 teaspoon lemon, lime, or orange zest with the egg yolks. Roll balls in egg whites then in 1 cup shredded coconut. Bake and let cool as directed. Fill each with 1/2 tsp. lemon or lime curd.

Linzer Thumbprints

Prepare dough, bake, and let cool as directed. Once cool, place 2/3 cup powdered sugar in a large plastic bag. Add cookies, a few at a time, shaking to coat. Fill each with 1/2 teaspoon raspberry preserves. Top with toasted sliced almonds.

Almond-Cherry Thumbprints

Prepare dough as directed, except add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract with the egg yolks. Roll balls in 2 lightly beaten egg whites then in 1 cup finely chopped slivered almonds. Bake and let cool as directed. Fill each with 1 tsp. cherry pie filling, placing a cherry on top.

Triple Chocolate Thumbprints

Prepare dough as directed, except reduce flour to 1 1/4 cups and add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder with the flour. Roll balls in 2 lightly beaten egg whites then in 1 cup chocolate sprinkles. Bake as directed. Immediately press a chocolate Kiss into each.

Mint Sparklers

Prepare dough as directed, except add 1/2 teaspoon mint extract with the egg yolks. Do not grease cookie sheet. Roll balls in coarse red or green sugar. Bake as directed. Immediately place a red or green candy coating disk in the center of each cookie. Bake 1 minute more. If desired, use a toothpick to swirl melted disks slightly.

PB&J Thumbprints

Prepare dough as directed, except roll balls in 2 lightly beaten egg whites then in 1 cup finely chopped peanuts. Bake and let cool as directed. Fill with 1/2 teaspoon creamy peanut butter and 1/2 teaspoon grape jelly. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Sprinkle Stars

Prepare dough as directed, except do not grease cookie sheet. Roll balls in assorted nonpareils. Bake and cool as directed. Spoon 3/4 cup canned or homemade vanilla frosting into a decorating bag fitted with a small star tip. Pipe frosting into each center.

Walnuts & Jam Thumbprints

Prepare dough as directed, except roll balls in two lightly beaten egg whites then in 1 cup finely chopped walnuts. Bake and let cool as directed. Fill each with 1/2 tsp. apricot or strawberry preserves.

Reviews (3)

43 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 26
  • 4 star values: 9
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 3
Rating: 5 stars
12/15/2018
Delicious, made sandwich style with hazelnut spread, raspberry, and gonna try few more different today or tomorrow. Highly recommended base cookie.
Rating: 5 stars
12/04/2018
Great recipe! Really quick and easy. These baked up in no time. Be sure to really chill your dough or it will spread a bit when it bakes. I make a cream cheese vanilla frosting to pip the stars on top. Next time I would definitely roll the whole ball in the non pareils as the recipe directs instead of just dipping the top like I did the first time. But other than that, I was super pleased with the results. I will definitely make these again. This recipe is a keeper.
Rating: 5.0 stars
12/03/2019
We made three of these. The Chocolate Kisses (With Marshmallow Kisses, Caramel Kisses, and Mint Kisses), the Christmas nonpareils sprinkles with stars, and the Cherry and nut version. All three baked up very well, were easy to make, and made for a simple and refreshing change on my cookie platters. I recommend chilling the dough well before baking, and if you use different kisses, find a way to decorate them that differentiates what kisses are on there.
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Rating: 4 stars
12/15/2018
This recipe was perfect as written. We made the chocolate and the nonpareil variety, but will be doing the ones with nuts and preserves next. I thought the batter might be too dry, but they aren't once you add the filling. Definitely will be adding these cookies to our holiday cookie baking tradition.