Thumbprint Cookies {Raspberry Almond Shortbread}

December 8, 2018  ·  Published December 18, 2014

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Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies are one of the most popular recipes on my blog every Christmas season! You get a buttery shortbread cookie base, a bright, vibrantly flavored raspberry jam filling and they’re finished with a sweet almond glaze. Simply put, they’re addictively delicious!

Stack of thumbprint cookies

The Best Thumbprint Cookie Recipe!

Every Christmas season these cookies need to be made at least once! They are one of my go-to cookie recipes throughout the year and people especially love them around Christmas time.

My brother who doesn’t even like dessert loves these cookies, if that doesn’t tell you something.

They are perfect for gifting, making for parties or just for an after dinner treat.

I love that they call for minimal, basic ingredients, they’re so easy to make and they don’t require hours of refrigeration.

And they’re one of the tastiest cookies I’ve ever had. Simple ingredients yet so much delicious flavor!

Watch the Thumbprint Cookies Video to See How Easy They Are!

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients for Thumbprint Cookies:

Only 7 ingredients needed for these cookies (and only 6 if you opt to leave off the glaze):

  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Almond extract
  • Seedless raspberry jam
  • Powdered sugar

How to Make Thumbprint Cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and sugar until combined (it will take a minute or two since the butter is cold.
  • Mix in almond extract then add in flour blend until mixture comes together (it will take a bit of mixing since the butter is cold, so be patient, it will seem really dry at first).

Showing how to make thumbprint cookies. Shortbread cookie dough rolled into rounds and placed on un-greased baking sheet.

  • Shape dough into 1-inch balls, about 1 Tbsp each, and place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  • Make a small indentation with thumb or forefinger in each cookie (large enough to fit 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of jam).

Showing how to make thumbprint cookies. Making indent in cookie dough balls on baking sheet.

Fill each with 1/4 – 1/2 tsp jam. Note that if jam is stiff and clumpy you may want to stir first so it spreads better.

Showing how to make thumbprint cookies. Filling indented cookie dough on baking sheet with raspberry jam.

  • Chill in refrigerator 20 minutes (or freezer for 10 minutes). Bake in preheated oven 14 – 18 minutes.
  • Cool several minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool (at this point you can add a little more jam if you’d like to, it just won’t be set like the other is).

Thumbprint cookies after baking on baking sheet. Showing them spread into nice rounds and jam in center is set.

  • Drizzle cookies with glaze when when cool. Store cookies in an airtight container.
  • For the glaze:
  • Whisk all glaze ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, adding enough water to reach desired consistency. Pour or spoon mixture into a sandwich size resealable bag, cut a small tip from one corner and drizzle over cookies.

Adding glaze to thumbprint cookies set on wire rack.

Tips for Perfect Thumbprint Cookies:

  • Only use real butter. Margarine won’t work here. It doesn’t have a great flavor and causes more spreading.
  • Use cold butter. It makes a world of difference for less spreading.
  • If cookies are cracking around edges when pressed every time, try re-rolling the balls once more then pressing again. The warmth of your hands will soften them up a bit making them crack less.
  • If jam is stiff I like to stir it first so it spreads out and fills the cookies in better.
  • If you only have one baking sheet be sure to wash and cool between batches. The fastest way to do this is to wash under cold water.
  • Sometimes I make half the glaze recipe, they really don’t need that much so it’s up to your personal preference. You can even omit it if desired.

Why are My Cookies are Spreading Too Much?

Of few people have said their cookies spread too much. Too much spread means you need a little more flour or a colder dough (so chill longer before baking) or try adding a little more flour to the dough.

Why is My Dough Crumbly?

On the opposite end a few others have said the dough their crumbly. The dough will be crumbly, keep mixing and it should come together. If it doesn’t you can add just a tiny bit of milk or butter to bring together or the next time around try a little less flour.

Thumbprint cookies close up image. Cookies are made with a shortbread cookie base and filled with a round of raspberry jam and drizzled with a criss cross pattern of almond glaze.

Is There a Substitute for Almond Extract?

For best flavor I recommend sticking with the almond extract, BUT if there is an allergy in your home, or to whom your gifting these too you can replace almond extract with vanilla extract. I recommend using 1 tsp vanilla in the dough and 1/2 tsp in the glaze so it’s not tinted too much.

I hope you love these cookies as much as I do! They totally remind my of a few of my childhood favorites, the Knott’s Berry Shortbread and the Pepperidge Farm Verona cookies but of course they’re a hundred times better!

Happy Holidays!!

More Christmas Cookie Recipes You’ll Love:

4.77 from 105 votes

Thumbprint Cookies {Raspberry Almond Shortbread}

These Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies are simply delicious and they definitely need to find a place on your holiday cookie tray!
Servings: 36 cookies
Prep30 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp (300g) all-purpose flour*
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, cold and diced into 1 Tbsp pieces
  • 2/3 cup (140g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Glaze (optional)

  • 1 cup (124g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 - 4 tsp water

Instructions

  • For the cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In a mixing bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and sugar until combined (it will take a minute or two since the butter is cold).
  • Mix in almond extract then add in flour blend until mixture comes together (it will take a bit of mixing since the butter is cold, so be patient, it will seem really dry and crumbly at first).
  • Shape dough into 1-inch balls, about 1 Tbsp each, and place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. 
  • Make a small indentation with thumb or forefinger in each cookie (large enough to fit 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of jam). Fill each with 1/4 - 1/2 tsp jam. 
  • Chill in refrigerator 20 minutes (or freezer for 10 minutes). Bake in preheated oven 14 - 18 minutes.
  • Cool several minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • For the glaze: Whisk all glaze ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, adding enough water to reach desired consistency. 
  • Pour or spoon mixture into a sandwich size resealable bag, cut a small tip from one corner and drizzle over cool cookies. Let set at room temperature then store in an airtight container.

Notes

  • *To measure flour scoop with measuring cup and level with a butter knife. Don't whisk or sift first and don't spoon into the measuring cup.
  • Recipe adapted from Land O Lakes and Allrecipes.com
Nutrition Facts
Thumbprint Cookies {Raspberry Almond Shortbread}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 117 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 18mg1%
Potassium 14mg0%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Sugar 9g10%
Vitamin A 155IU3%
Vitamin C 0.4mg0%
Calcium 4mg0%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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420 Comments

  • Craig B

    Absolutely simple & superb short bread cookie! I did make the following adjustments to my own liking, particularly as I’m not a big fan of almond extract. Rather, I bought raw slivered almonds and skillet toasted them, tossing frequently, until the edges are golden and you smell the toasted almond aroma (about 3/4 cup) and then quick chopped them into a course texture – almost like coarse salt. Incorporate these into the flour and salt mix and work into dry flour with your fingers. To help bind the flour/almond mixture with the butter mix, before adding the dry ingredients I beat in 1 egg with 1/2 tspn vanilla and then folded in the flour mix, several additions. The rest is as written – and yes, your cookie dough must be quite cold to form the balls easily and to eliminate them ‘melting’ in the oven. The taste is complex – nutty and a bit crunchy while still able to get the hint of salt through. As mentioned, your favorite jam – thicker the better but room temp – with authentic flavor make the most delicious cookies – just a touch of sweet/tart against the beautiful cookie texture and flavor. Made these a few times so far and for accurate oven temps,
    17 minutes set them perfectly, turning tray(s) once, front to back, mid bake.

  • Robin

    These were over the top delicious! Have been wanting to make these forever. Super easy. Great thorough directions. I omitted the almond extract and subbed in vanilla extract. Otherwise followed exact recipe. Addictive shortbread. Keeper! Thank you. Yum! Lol