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Nutty Jam Thumbprints

5 stars based on 5 votes

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.


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.


Next, add the flour, salt and pecans.


Process the mixture until the nuts are finely ground.


Add the butter in small pieces.


Then pulse until the mixture comes together.


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).


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 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.


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


Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Adapted with modifications from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich

Nutty Jam Thumbprints

Servings: 48 cookies


  • 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)


  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.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    I made these for my visiting Grandchildren….gone in 2 hours!! I let them help make a new batch, also gone.. a little slower this time. Thank you for the fun we had with these! DELICIOUS!

    - CHRISTINE on May 11, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These cookies were a huge hit with everyone who tried them. Four people (including my husband :-)) described them as “the perfect cookie” — and I can’t imagine a better compliment than that!

    For color contrast I used Bonne Maman blueberry jam for half the batch and apricot jam for the other half. My son’s girlfriend strongly favored the blueberry jam cookies, but everyone else enjoyed both; and having at least two jam colors made for a very pretty display.

    - Marie-Jeanne on March 26, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these for a bridal shower and used raspberry jam. Let me tell you, they were a HUGE hit. Several people were asking for a recipe! Will be making again over the holiday season. The only trouble I had was with making the actual dent. I think I made it a little to deep, but they turned out great either way! Thank you! Olga

    - Olga on October 7, 2016 Reply
  • Can you help me to make one giant thumbprint cookie from this recipe? We are having a birthday celebration for our Pastor and this is his favorite cookie. I was hoping to make it his “birthday” cake. I would greatly appreciate your input (even if it’s your expert opinion that this is a bad idea). Many thanks and God bless.

    - Maria R on April 17, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Marla, Unfortunately, I don’t think that would work– sorry! You could however, arrange them in a circle, like in the shape of a cake, and stick a candle in the very center cookie :).

      - Jenn on April 18, 2016 Reply
      • Thanks so much. I appreciate your suggestion and the time you took to reply.

        - Maria R on April 18, 2016 Reply
  • Hi! These cookies are delectable! Question-how much do these cookies spread? Mine turned out pretty large considering I only rolled them in a 1 inch size. The ‘hole’ for the filling was more of a dent. I think in my fear of using too much flour I used too little. Could that be it? Thank you so much!

    - Yvonne on December 27, 2015 Reply
    • The cookies should be about 1 3/4 ” wide. It could be that maybe you needed to use just a bit more flour. And make sure when you make the hole for the filling, that you make it fairly deep- about 3/4 of the way through the ball.

      - Jenn on December 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I havent made these yet, but have been looking for a good recipe. I think this is the one! These look absolutely delicious!

    - kayla sheehan on December 22, 2015 Reply
  • This is such a great recipe !! What do you recommend using to make 1 inch balls?

    - Lisa on December 20, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Lisa, you could just eyeball them (it gets easy after a few), or you could use a mini ice cream scoop or melon baller if you have the right size.

      - Jenn on December 21, 2015 Reply
  • Would these freeze well? If so, would you recommend freezing with or without the jam? If it matters, I typically freeze in Tupperware with bubble wrap between each layer of cookies.

    - Lisa on December 12, 2015 Reply
    • Yes Lisa, I think these would freeze well. You could put the jelly on them before freezing, but I would suggest waiting until you’re about to serve them.

      - Jenn on December 12, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn-
    I baked these for the first time this morning – they replace my old recipe where you had to roll them in nuts which I hated. They are delicious but mine aren’t as pretty as yours! I chilled the dough overnight and had problems with them cracking when I made the thumbprint. I’m thinking the dough was too cold… any thoughts or suggestions?

    - Dawn C. on December 8, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Dawn, I think the dough was probably too cold. Next time, work it a bit with your hands to warm it up.

      - Jenn on December 9, 2015 Reply
  • Where is the recipe with the ingredients? All I see are the pictures of the steps but no measurements,.

    - margo hayes on December 5, 2015 Reply
  • I don`t have a food processor. Could I use my kitchen aid mixer instead?

    - joyce on June 7, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Joyce, I’m afraid a mixer won’t work in this recipe b/c you need to grind the nuts.

      - Jenn on June 11, 2015 Reply
  • I’m a new subscriber to your website and am excited to try some of these recipes. I went shopping to pick up the ingredients and bought salted butter instead of sweet butter. Can I use the salted butter and still get good results?

    - Anna on January 16, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Anna, Yes, I would just cut the salt by half. Good luck, and please come back and let me know how they turn out!

      - Jenn on January 16, 2015 Reply
  • Hi,

    Could i make these without the pecans? Or with a different nut like almonds?

    thank you!

    - Sylvia on November 26, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Sylvia, You don’t need to use pecans, but definitely substitute another nut or the recipe won’t work. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on November 26, 2014 Reply
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    - You Could Try These Out on August 28, 2014 Reply
  • 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.

    - Cameron on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • My mother always made these with frosting in the middle–I’m going to try jam for something different.

    - TJ on May 19, 2012 Reply
  • OMG these cookies melt in your mouth and taste amazing two thumbs up.

    - Sherri on May 16, 2012 Reply
  • 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!

    - Dawn Ramirez on May 16, 2012 Reply
  • I love the way they have that subtle crunch yet they melt in your mouth. I love these cookies!

    - Sherri on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • 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.

    - Janice Nunez on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • 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!

    - Grace on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • These are amazing! I just finished making them tonight. They melt in your mouth!

    - Sherri on January 3, 2012 Reply
  • I made these over the holidays, they were such a hit! Everyone was asking for the recipe. Thank you!

    - Crystal Soto on December 31, 2011 Reply
  • 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.

    - Judy Claggett on December 28, 2011 Reply
  • Yum! These are going to the family Christmas gathering this year!! Thanks for yet another awesome recipe!

    - Amy on December 22, 2011 Reply
  • 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.

    - Christian on December 22, 2011 Reply
  • 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…

    - Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes on December 22, 2011 Reply
  • I love your blog and recipes! Could these be made without pecans? My children are allergic to nuts.

    - Graziana on December 22, 2011 Reply

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