Basic Thumbprint Cookies

Can't decide which easy cookie recipe to make? Try several at once with this customizable Basic Thumbprint cookie recipe that showcases chocolate, citrus, fruit, and nutty variations.

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  • Makes: 30 servings
  • Serving Size: cookie
  • Makes: 30 cookies
  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Chill: 1 hr
  • Bake: 10 mins

Basic Thumbprint Cookies

Directions

  1. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat until combined scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill for about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
  2. Preheat oven to 375. Grease cookie sheets.* Shape dough into 1-inch balls. if desired, roll balls in egg whites, then in walnuts to coat. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Using your thumb, make an indentation in each dough ball.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. If cookie centers puff during baking, re-press centers with the rounded side of a measuring teaspoon. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely. Just before serving, fill centers with jam.

From the Test Kitchen

TO STORE:

Layer unfilled cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Lemon-Coconut Thumbprints

Prepare as directed for Basic Thumbprint Cookies, except 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon, lime, or orange peel to dough with egg yolks and vanilla. Omit walnuts. Roll dough balls in egg whites and then in 1 cup toasted shredded coconut. Bake as directed. Omit jam. Fill each thumbprint with 1/3 teaspoon lemon curd or lime curd.

Linzer Thumbprints

Prepare and bake as directed for Basic Thumbprint Cookies, except omit egg whites and walnuts. Place 2/3 cup powdered sugar in a large plastic bag. Add cooled cookies; shake to coat. Remove cookies from bag, shaking off excess powdered sugar. Fill each thumbprint with about 1/2 teaspoon raspberry preserves. Top preserves with toasted sliced almonds.

Creamy-Dreamy Thumbprints

Prepare as directed for Basic Thumbprint Cookies, except do not grease cookie sheets. Omit egg whites and walnuts. Roll dough balls in assorted colored nonpareils or sprinkles. Bake and cool as directed. Omit jam. Spoon 3/4 cup purchased vanilla frosting or cream cheese frosting into a decorating bag fitted with a small star tip. Pipe frosting into each thumbprint. If desired, sprinkle with additional nonpareils or sprinkles.

Almond-Cherry Thumbprints

Prepare as directed for Basic Thumbprint Cookies, except add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract with egg yolks and vanilla. Omit walnuts. Roll balls in egg whites and then in 1 cup finely chopped slivered almonds. Bake and cool as directed. Fill each thumbprint with a heaping teaspoon of cherry pie filling, placing a pie filling cherry on each cooking.

Choco-Loco Thumbprints

Prepare as directed for Basic Thumbprint Cookies, except reduce flour to 1 1/4 cups. Add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder with flour. Omit walnuts. Roll balls in egg whites and then in 1 cup chocolate flavor sprinkles (jimmies). Bake as directed. Omit jam. Immediately after removing cookies from oven, press a Kisses milk chocolate with caramel into each thumbprint. Let cool.

Festive Thumbprints

Prepare as directed for Basic Thumbprints, except add 1/2 teaspoon mint extract with egg yolks and vanilla. Do not grease cookie sheets. Omit egg whits and walnuts. Roll balls in coarse red, green, and/or white sugar. Bake as directed. Omit jam. Immediately after cookies come from oven, place a red candy coating disk in center of half of the cookies. Place green candy coating disks in centers of remaining cookies. Return cookies to oven for 1 minute. if desired, use a toothpick to slightly swirl melted candy.

PB and J Thumbprints

Prepare as directed for Basic Thumbprint Cookies, except omit walnuts. Roll dough balls in egg whites and then in 1 cup finely chopped cocktail peanuts. Bake and cool as directed. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon creamy peanut butter into each thumbprint indentation. Top the peanut butter in each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon grape jelly or strawberry jam .

*Tip

Another option, rather than greasing a cookie sheet, is to line your pan with non-stick foil.

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