Italian Thumbprint Cookies

January 22, 2013

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The flavors of classic Italian foods always inspire me. Italian dishes are often full of gorgeous colors and deliciously fresh, mouth watering appeal (I often think of reds – the tomato it’s a given, and greens – fresh herbs and pistachios). All it takes is one split second, longing glance and I want it, I suddenly must have it (or so my stubborn mind says).

I also love the classic Italian color combination of red, white and green and I wanted to use it to go with some of the flavors I think of when I think of Italian food (specifically gelato, yum!).

italian thumbprints

These cookies have become a weakness to me to say the least. Yes, it’s nearly midnight and even after two they are still calling my name. Their flavor combination is decadently dreamy.

The buttery cookie base is generously layered with vanilla bean seeds throughout and it’s rolled in a coating of silky pistachios, then they are given the classic thumbprint pressing and filled with sweet strawberry preserves.

And no it doesn’t end there, it is then drizzled with that ingredient we can never get enough of, melted chocolate, and to finish it’s topped with a glistening diamond studded crown, or at least I imagine it to be =). Cookie royalty, it exists in my book. Enjoy!

italian thumbprint cookies2

italian thumbprint cookies4

Italian Thumbprint Cookies

5 from 2 votes

Tender buttery thumbprints rolled in nutty pistachios and filled with sweet raspberry jam.

Servings: 36
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup salted butter , firm but not cold
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • seeds of 1 vanilla bean (1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract could be substituted)
  • 2 large eggs , yolks and whites divided
  • 1 cup unsalted pistachios , finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
  • 4 oz melted white chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate*


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set on medium-high speed, whip together butter, granulated sugar and vanilla bean seeds until mixture pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  2.  Blend in egg yolks (setting egg whites aside in a small bowl). With mixer set on low speed, slowly pour in flour and mix until combine (mixture will seem dry at first but will start to come together). Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Whisk egg whites with 2 tsp water until frothy. Place chopped pistachios in a small bowl. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator and scoop dough up 1 tbsp at a time and shape into balls. 
  4. Drop each ball into egg white mixture and toss to evenly coat, then immediately transfer to bowl with chopped pistachios and roll to evenly coat sides and bottom with pistachios (I just left a circle on top uncoated for indenting). 
  5. Transfer cookie dough balls to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets (fitting 15 per sheet). Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie and fill each indentation with a heaping 1/2 tsp of jam. Bake in preheated oven 14 - 16 minutes. 
  6. Allow to rest on baking dish several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool cookies then fill a piping bag or small Ziploc bag with melted chocolate and cut a small tip off corner and drizzle with melted chocolate. Store cookies in an airtight container.
  7. *White candy coating can also be used or semi-sweet chocolate chips mixed with 1 1/2 tsp shortening . To melt, place chocolate in a heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted or place in microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave on 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Thumbprint Cookies
Author: Jaclyn