December 4: Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies


Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies



  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, plus ¼ cup more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup fruit preserves


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, blend butter and sugar until fluffy and light, 2 minutes. Add vanilla and salt, scraping down bowl as needed. Switch to low and gently mix in flour, just until combined. Don’t over mix.
  3. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets. Press down the center of each ball with a spoon (or your thumb!) making a slight depression.
  4. Fill cookie centers with a teaspoonful of preserves. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and puffy, but take care not to overbake. Let cool a few minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to finish cooling on wire rack.
  5. When cookies are completely cooled, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cookies can be kept in airtight container at room temp for a few days.

When I was a kid, the kind of cookie I always reached for had something in the middle. Whether it was a maraschino cherry, or some sort of custard filling, I liked sweets that had something going on in the center. So when I make these, I think about kids that also like cookies with center pizazz.

It’s a pretty simple recipe, and at the end, you can use whatever kind of jam or preserves you want. (Don’t use jelly. I made that mistake one year. It looks like a crime scene.)

Well, I like to push the envelope a little. Remember a few days ago when I said I went to the cool international grocery store near my house? I picked up something cool.


I’d never seen it before, nor do I actually know why one needs rose preserves, but I had a cookie in mind.

In my first batch, I had half apricot preserves and then half rose preserves. They baked as expected. When they cooled, I put powdered sugar on them and tried one of my rose-flavored specimen.

The lighter colored ones near the top are the rose ones.

Have you ever been to Crabtree and Evelyn? My grandmother liked to go, as did my aunt, and they’d have all sorts of fancy soaps at their houses from here. Truth be told, I like that store too (and if anyone out there wants to get me some Gardner’s Hand Therapy, I’d be a happy little baker). However, while I like that store and can reminisce about times with Grandma and Aunt Barbara with their soaps and lotions, I draw the line at eating cookies that taste like fancy soaps smell. And unfortunately, like most things in my life, I learned that one the hard way.

But once that lesson was learned, my apricot — and then later — strawberry jam thumbprint cookies did not disappoint.

I’ll leave the flower flavors to other dishes. Though I’m still not sure what!

(But seriously, if you know what rose preserves are used for, please comment and let me know!)