Jam Thumbprint Cookies
These jam thumbprint cookies are so soft they practically melt in your mouth! A tender cream cheese cookie topped with a dollop of sweet & fruity jam.
I didn’t mention this last time, but I’m actually in Ireland this week! On the trip of a lifetime, where I’ve teamed up with some amazing partners to cover all the best this beautiful country has to offer!
I’ve always wanted to see this land where my ancestors came from, and I can’t wait to share more with you over the coming weeks!
But for now, I hope you’re staying cozy and are ready for Superbowl this weekend. I’ve done my best to get you all the best game-day recipes for your party! If you missed them, be sure to click here: Appetizers & Snacks.
So now let’s switch gears and talk about Valentine’s Day.
Do you like to bake for your loved ones every Valentine’s? I definitely do. It’s especially fun when you have little ones and you can bring treats to their class parties.
In past years, I’ve made peanut butter blossoms (with a chocolate kiss on top!), chocolate-covered strawberries, and red velvet cupcakes. All so fun and festive!
And today I’m bringing you these fun and easy jam thumbprint cookies.
Have you ever had these before? They’re a total classic.
Honestly when it comes to desserts, most of the time I’m all about chocolate. But these are an exception! I love them so much!
The cookie itself is so soft and tender it practically melts in your mouth. It’s made with cream cheese so it’s got a creamy quality to it that (along with plenty of butter) feels so rich and indulgent. And the spoonful of sweet jam is a perfect compliment.
This recipe was given to me decades ago by a dear family friend, and I’ve adapted it into a few different and unique iterations over the years.
But today I’m sharing this simple, traditional method that is so beloved. It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or really any occasion.
I hope you love this thumbprint cookie recipe as much as I do!
WHAT ARE THUMBPRINT COOKIES?
Thumbprint cookies are a classic cookie recipe that is loved the world over.
They’re made by forming a sweet, vanilla-infused dough into a little ball, pressing a well into the center, and then filling the well with jam.
The idea originated in Sweden, where these are called “Hallongrotta,” which translates to “raspberry cave.” Very descriptive, don’t you think?
HOW TO MAKE PERFECT THUMBPRINT COOKIES
To make this classic recipe, start by creaming butter, cream cheese, and sugar together until very pale and fluffy. This takes about 5 minutes with an electric mixer on medium-high speed.
Stir in the vanilla, then add flour and salt.
It’s not a typo, there really isn’t any egg, baking powder, or baking soda in this cookie recipe! I promise, they come out amazing with just these few ingredients.
Mix the dough just until it comes together. If you overwork it, your cookies could come out tough or they might not spread properly.
Now portion out the dough into little balls. Aim for 1 tablespoon of dough per ball. This will give you the perfect ratio of cookie to jam.
Then create the wells. You can use your thumb (as the name suggests), but it can come out a little asymmetrical if you do.
For really pretty jam thumbprints I like to press the back of a measuring spoon into the center of the dough. It’s the perfect size and shape.
Next, fill the well with jam. Pro tip: stir the jam to loosen it up a little first. This way as it bakes it will melt into a shimmering pool of jammy goodness.
Bake the thumbprint cookies just until set around the edges. You don’t really want these to get brown, so don’t worry if they still look a bit pale. That’s totally ok!
When they’re still hot from the oven, they will be extremely tender, so don’t try to take them off the baking sheet until they’re completely cool. If you do, they could fall apart!
VARIATIONS ON THE JAM THUMBPRINT
For the thumbrint cookies you see here, I used strawberry jam. I was after a more vibrant, jewel-like color and strawberry is perfect for that.
But in the past, I’ve always used raspberry, which is darker but also incredibly delicious.
Apricot jam is also traditional.
- Lemon Curd
- Caramel Sauce or Dulce de Leche
Or any other type of seasonal jam, jelly or preserves! Cherry, blueberry, or cranberry would all be fantastic, and so would peanut butter, cookie butter, or Nutella.
TROUBLESHOOTING: WHY DO MY THUMBPRINT COOKIES SPREAD?
If you’re noticing that your thumbprints are spreading more than you’d like, you can try a couple of things:
- Chill the dough for about an hour before forming the cookies, then pop them into the freezer for 20 minutes before filling and baking them.
- Add a little more flour to the dough. I’m talking like a couple of tablespoons. If you overdo it, you’ll lose that soft, pillowy quality these cookies have, and that would just be heartbreaking!
But in my experience, with this recipe you won’t have this problem. The ratio of ingredients is dead-on, and it spreads just right, while still keeping its shape.
CAN THESE BE MADE AHEAD?
These jam thumbprints are great for making ahead.
They’ll keep at room temperature for about 5 to 7 days. Just keep them wrapped so they don’t dry out or become stale.
You can also make the dough ahead and keep it chilled until you’re ready to use it. Wrap it tightly so it doesn’t dry out, and it will keep for about a week in the fridge; a couple of months in the freezer.
HOW TO STORE THUMBPRINT COOKIES
To store these cookies, place them in a single layer in an airtight container. Layer parchment or wax paper on top, and then stack the next layer and repeat. The paper in between will prevent the jam from staining the bottoms of the cookies above.
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Jam Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, (2 sticks), softened
- 6 ounces (170.1 g) cream cheese
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups (281.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces (340.2 g) jam, (such as strawberry, raspberry, or apricot)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and line baking sheets with parchment.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar together on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
- Beat in the vanilla until incorporated.
- Add the flour and salt, mixing together on low speed until just barely combined.
- Scoop the dough by tablespoons, rolling each into a smooth ball and placing on the prepared baking sheets.
- Use the back of a measuring spoon to press a well into the center of each ball of dough.
- Fill the wells with jam, and bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until set around the edges but still quite pale in color.
YOHOHOOOOO ,Toping mine with some Gravlox. and some with hot pepper homage jelly. YUMMMMMM
First time making these and were very easy with a photo finished product. Only a couple had small cracked edges. I used a plastic 1tsp measuring spoon for depressions and used 1/2 tsp measuring spoon for filling.
Thank you for great recipe. Will be in my Christmas baking every year.
I love to hear that. Thank you so much for the great feedback <3
Should my cream cheese be softened before creaming it with the butter and sugar? Or does it go in straight from the fridge?
I usually go straight from the fridge, but the butter should be room temp. Hope that helps!
Can granulated sugar be replaced with caster sugar?
Yes! I believe they are the same thing!
Could this dough be rolled out and used with cookie stamps? I have beautiful cookie stamps that make a well in the center for fillings.
It’s a very soft dough so if the design is intricate you might lose some detail. If it only produces a thumbprint like what you see here, then I would think it should work. Good luck!
Bummer kept cooking these and they never hard Ed. Lack of a leavened? Not sure. Dough is delicious but too soft to lift.
Hoping they harden up a little.
They are not meant to be hard- this is a soft cookie. Lift them carefully from the baking sheet once they’ve cooled completely. They will be very tender while still hot.
I would like to know your 5secrets for baking soft cookies….I found some new recipes and are going to try them for Christmas…
Can I replace the jam with chocolate in the thumbprintcookies I want to use chocolate not nutella thanks in advance
You can fill these with anything you like.
Wow! Hope you’re having a great time in Ireland, Allie! I can’t wait to hear more about your trip! And, these thumbprint cookies look delicious! I love cookies that have cream cheese in the dough, as it really boosts the flavor and texture to a whole new level 🙂
Agreed! Thanks so much Erin, the trip was fantastic and I can’t wait to share more about it!