Nutty Jam Thumbprints

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These Nutty Jam Thumbprints could win a cookie contest on looks alone, but they’re just as delicious as they are pretty.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

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.

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.

What you’ll need to make Nutty Jam Thumbprints

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

How to make the Cookies

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.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Next, add the flour, salt, and pecans.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Process the mixture until the nuts are finely ground.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Add the butter.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Then pulse until the mixture comes together.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Transfer the dough to a bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

Roll the dough into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

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).

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

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

Now, for the fillings. You can use any jam or jelly you like. I love Bonne Maman strawberry, raspberry, four fruit or apricot. For kids or chocolate lovers, try Nutella or chocolate ganache. Fill the cookies using a tiny spoon or the tips of teaspoon handles.

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

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

how to make jam thumbprint cookies

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Nutty Jam Thumbprints

These Nutty Jam Thumbprints could win a cookie contest on looks alone, but they’re just as delicious as they are pretty.

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°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheets 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 (twist slightly to release; if the handle sticks, dip it in flour). Bake for 22 to 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.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The Cookie Dough can be Frozen for up to 3 Months: Roll the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To Freeze After Baking: Let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature. (For best results, add the jam after defrosting.)

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 26 mg
  • Cholesterol: 10 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Delicious! I didn’t add the jam and ate the cookies with just the powdered sugar. Not overly sweet, and was a soft/crumbly cookie!

    • — Jay on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are so tasty! The perfect cookie for a cookie exchange or holiday plate. I recommend cooking them at the lower end of the suggested time, although they are also delicious when a little overdone.

    • — Sarah on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’m sad. I was going to use these for part of my holiday goodie boxes but they didn’t turn out great. Tasted good but a few things went wrong somehow. I used an amazing mixed berry jam that looked purple in jar but looked black once in cookie… so they looked like eye balls. I will say that’s user error. Just a caution warning. But then a moist circle ring became visible around the jam circles overnight. Not pretty. Also the cookie turned a grayish color not the light color in pics and I didn’t use whole wheat flour. They crumble apart when you take a bite. I didn’t see any instructions on how long you can keep them and if they need to be refrigerated. I would say this recipe is extremely finicky. Be careful maybe use a scale because I followed it to a T and I’m super bummed.

    • — AH on December 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I don’t have a food processor. Could I just substitute equal additional flour for the ground pecans?

    • — Natalia on December 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • These look so pretty and festive. Could almond flour be substituted for the ground nuts?

    • — Stella on December 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • I haven’t tried, it, but I think it should work. Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    If I start with superfine sugar, what would the measurement be?

    Thanks,
    Deborah

    • — Deborah on December 13, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Deborah, I think you can use the same amount of granulated sugar that’s called for. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I’ve made jam thumbprints for many years but your recipe is the best. They’re delicious and beautiful to look at. They’ll definitely be on my holiday table this year and they’ll be included in care packages for the kids and grandkids…. provided my husband doesn’t eat them all!
    Thanks again for your wonderful recipes.

    • — Liz McLean on December 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • They are so good! I’ve been searching for thumbprint cookies in Latin/Hispanic websites trying to find recipes under “polvorones” or “mantecaditos” -as we call them in Puerto Rico, and I tried several, but all of them turned out awful. I have no idea why I didn’t look at your site in the first place. Your cookies are delicious! I used almonds instead of pecans to make them “true to Spanish taste”, everything else I followed to a tee.
    I have spent this time learning to cook, and I was lucky enough to find your site. Your recipes are so appetizing and so easy I CAN COOK! Next thing on my list is your cookbook.

    Another good recipe I can’t seem to find is the “arroz con leche”, sort of a rice and milk pudding. Do you have one you could recommend? Even better, could you make one? I am sure it will be excellent.
    Thank you Jen, I believe you are a wonderful chef and a wonderful teacher.

    • — Eugenia Behar on July 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Eugenia, Glad you like the recipes and that they are helping you improve your skills in the kitchen! I don’t have a rice pudding recipe of my own — sorry! I will add it to my list of recipes to potentially develop. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 12, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    Baked a batch of these biscuits this afternoon. They turned out perfectly and are so delicious.
    The rest I have frozen according to the directions. I also used lemon curd as an extra filling.
    Thank you for another winning recipe.

    • — Sharon on April 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • made these at Christmas time… impossible to place “thumb print” with any utensil or thumb…. dough just crumbled ….not at all sure what happened. flavor wonderful but not fun to make at all.

    • — mary alice grieco on January 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sorry you had a problem with these, Mary Alice! Based on what you described, I suspect the dough was probably too cold. Next time, work it a bit with your hands to warm it up.

      • — Jenn on January 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    Your recipes are like a cooking bible to me:) Every single recipe I tried so far worked out very well!
    Anyways, can I substitute the pecans to walnuts? I just want to avoid another visit to a supermarket. Would it work with walnuts??

    • — Sirena on December 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yep, walnuts will work, Sirena. So happy you like the recipes! ❤️

      • — Jenn on December 28, 2019
      • Reply
  • I usually love your recipes and recommend to everyone! I have tried several of your cookie recipes and all turned out delicious! However, this recipe I was super disappointed with. As the previous commenter posted mine also cracked and I followed the recipe to a T. After putting the dough in the fridge (only for a few hours) it was super hard. They went in looking like yours so I’m not sure what happened. As soon as I went to make the ident for the jam they cracked. Smoother them out but still cracked badly in the oven. They did taste good still!

    • — Brittany on December 24, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Brittany, I’m so sorry you had trouble with these! Were the nuts finely ground?

      • — Jenn on December 27, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I am trying to figure out why my cookies cracked in the oven. They looked just like yours when I put them in. If the granulated sugar was not fine enough – powdery- would that impact the results?

    • — Liz on December 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Liz, I don’t think it was the sugar…did you by chance make any substitutions?

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2019
      • Reply

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