Italian Thumbprint Cookies


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 & Spumoni Thumbprint Cookies

5 from 1 vote


  • 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. 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.
  2. 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. 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). 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. 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.
  3. *I microwave the butter on HIGH power for about 9 seconds in a cool microwave (if you have recently used your microwave it will heat the butter slightly faster so you may not need that much time) so it is still firm but not cold to the touch.
  4. **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.
  5. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy


  • Mary Timmons: Have you frozen these? If so, how did they do? November 9, 2017 at 12:05pm Reply

  • Keziah: These look amazing! I want to make them for Christmas presents. Just wondering how long will they keep for? December 14, 2013 at 2:07am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I think 2 – 3 days. I always prefer any baked goods very fresh. December 15, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

  • Jill: I remade these into Peach Pecan Thumbprints with a Brown Butter Glaze. I am excited to try the Italian version too. The ones I made were SOOOO good! Thanks so much for the recipe! December 11, 2013 at 9:08am Reply

  • Peach Pecan Thumbprints with Brown Butter Glaze: […] recipe is thanks to THESE Italian Thumbprints from Cooking Classy, one of the blogs I regularly read. I have not made the […] December 11, 2013 at 8:53am Reply

  • Fédra: First of all the cookies look like heaven! I’d like to bake these for my mum’s birthday party, but I can’t see the yield, which is really important in our big sweet-toothed family. :) So could you help me in this? May 22, 2013 at 9:37am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I wish I would have written down the yield when I made the recipe, I always forget that because we get eating them :). I’m thinking its probably about 3 dozen. May 25, 2013 at 4:34pm Reply

  • Karen Baker: Yummmmy- I made them without the chocolate drizzles, but they would be great with… milk, white or dark choc would work… it is important to make good thumbprints to contain the jam… a few of mine were a little shallow, and the jam bubbles out. Lovely buttery cookie, with nut and jam, such a great variety of textures and deliciousness. Thank you!!! Put your link on my Facebook page cos all my friends wanted the recipe. April 5, 2013 at 2:16am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you enjoyed these cookies Karen and thanks so much for sharing them too! April 9, 2013 at 6:26pm Reply

  • Elizabeth Lombardi: These are amazing! I am Italian and these remind me of cookies my grandmothers (from Italy) used to make! They always used raspberries in their cookies so I did make that one adjustment. I made these for a party (for a fellow Italian) and everyone LOVED them! Thank you for posting! February 14, 2013 at 9:11am Reply

  • Alex: We make a recipe like this in my family, though we use chopped walnuts as the coating and brightly colored frosting instead of jam! Yours look wonderful and I’ll have to try them out! January 25, 2013 at 4:44pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Alex!! January 25, 2013 at 9:45pm Reply

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