Nutty Jam Thumbprints

nutty-thumbprints

These Nutty Jam Thumbprints could win a cookie contest on looks alone, but they’re just as delicious as they are pretty. The cookie is actually a Mexican Wedding Cake, also known as a Russian Tea Cake, Viennese Crescent or Snowball. Delicate, nutty and not-too-sweet, these cookies make the perfect shortbread-like base for a dollop of luscious fruit preserves. The recipe is adapted from Alice Medrich’s award-winning cookie book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy.

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The most tender wedding cookies are made with superfine sugar, so begin by pulsing the granulated sugar in a food processor until it is fine and powdery.

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Next, add the flour, salt and pecans.

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Process the mixture until the nuts are finely ground.

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Add the butter in small pieces.

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Then pulse until the mixture comes together.

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Transfer the dough to a bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. Roll the dough into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to press an indentation about 3/4 of the way down into the center of each ball (you could also use your thumb but a wooden spoon works much better).

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Bake for 22-24 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack. Let the cookies cool slightly, then dust them generously with powdered sugar.

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Now, for the fillings. You can use any jam or jelly you like. I love Bonne Maman Raspberry, Four Fruit or Apricot. For kids or chocolate lovers, try Nutella or chocolate ganache.

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Fill the cookies using a tiny spoon or the tips of teaspoon handles.

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That’s all there is to it. Such beauties!

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Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Adapted with modifications from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich

Nutty Jam Thumbprints

Print Recipe
Servings: 48 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut unto 1-inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • 1/2 cup favorite jam, jelly or preserves (best quality, such as Bonne Maman)

Instructions

  1. Put the granulated sugar in the food processor and process until it is fine and powdery, about 30 seconds. (Be sure to cover the feed tube so the powder doesn’t float out.)
  2. Add the flour, salt and pecans and pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
  3. Add the butter and vanilla and process until the mixture looks damp and comes together. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.
  4. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheets about about 2 inches apart. Use the tip of a wooden spoon handle to press an indentation about 3/4 of the way down into the center of each ball. Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until lightly colored on top and golden brown on the bottom. (If your oven cooks unevenly, rotate cookies from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through baking time.)
  6. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Using a sieve, dust cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Use a tiny spoon or the tip of a teaspoon handle to fill with jam, jelly or preserves.
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  • Graziana

    I love your blog and recipes! Could these be made without pecans? My children are allergic to nuts.

  • I have been looking for a good recipe for these – YUM! By the way – thanks for your nice message to me last week….I enjoy commenting on your stuff because it’s all so delicious-looking! I have made a lot of your recipes and loved them all…

  • Christian

    I was just thinking of your cookie contest last year, and all of the yummy entries! These look great and I can’t wait to try them.

  • Amy

    Yum! These are going to the family Christmas gathering this year!! Thanks for yet another awesome recipe!

  • Judy Claggett

    Made these beauties yesterday–they are just simply awesome–easy to make–beautiful and delicious. I used strawberry on half and blackberry on the rest. Yummmmmm!!!! Thanks for another outstanding recipe.

  • Crystal Soto

    I made these over the holidays, they were such a hit! Everyone was asking for the recipe. Thank you!

  • Sherri

    These are amazing! I just finished making them tonight. They melt in your mouth!

  • Grace

    I made something similar this past weekend, adding cocoa powder in with the flour, and making a salted stout caramel for the filling! Delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  • Janice Nunez

    I absolutely loved these cookies .Not only were they beautiful and delicious,they were so easy to make.I will definitely be making these again.

  • Sherri

    I love the way they have that subtle crunch yet they melt in your mouth. I love these cookies!

  • I had my mom pick from your Dessert recipes for a Mothers Day gift of her choice and she picked the Nutty Jam Thumbprints. They came out perfect! The whole family enjoyed them after dinner. I made the dough day before and then put in oven right after our dinner. They were a hit! Sent 4 home with Mom and she called the next day to say she ate them all without sharing with my Dad!

  • Sherri

    OMG these cookies melt in your mouth and taste amazing two thumbs up.

  • TJ

    My mother always made these with frosting in the middle–I’m going to try jam for something different.

  • Cameron

    Thanks for the recipe. I tried these out and they were fun and pretty. Be sure you make your dimples more like pits because we found ourselves wanting more and more of the preserves in the center.

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