Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints are a family favorite with a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture and subtle almond flavor. These little gems are especially pretty on a holiday cookie plate or with a cup of tea on a cold afternoon. And the recipe is a classic from Land O Lakes (not sponsored).
Every fall, the U.S. consumption of butter has to go up given the amount of baking that takes place in preparation for the holidays. And no matter what holiday you celebrate, there's a cookie that goes with it. Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints is that cookie. Quintessentially Christmas with a super subtle almond flavor —once you make it, there'll be major demands for it year after year.
Jam cookies or thumbprints
Thumbprint cookies come to us from Sweden. Known there as hallongrotta, the name literally means "raspberry cave". Scary sounding, right? Although hiding in a cave with a few of these cookies in tow wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. They're also known as jam cookies (syltkakor) but maybe that's for those times that you don't use raspberry jam? Just call them good.
a one-bowl cookie
Not a classic shortbread cookie, these thumbprints add a little salt and almond extract to jazz things up a bit. Here's what's in the dough:
- almond extract
The best thing about these cookies is they are made in one bowl. Sure, they take a little time in the fridge to hang out (the perfect time for you to watch part of a Christmas movie).
Start by creaming the butter, sugar and almond extract together in a mixer until fluffy. It'll change color and lighten up but don't worry if it kind of smooshes up a bit on the side of the mixer. Just stop the mixer and scrape down the sides.
Next, add the flour and the salt while the mixer is on low. The ingredients will slowly come together and it should look like this (guessing your bowl will be neater than mine.) Scrape down the sides, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. You can even let it sit overnight if you want. The dough will be stiffer but it'll soften as you roll the cookies.
After at least an hour has passed, remove the dough from the fridge and roll out 1" balls on to a cookie sheet. FYI - you can put down parchment paper. But please do not use any cooking spray with this recipe. It'll cause the cookies to spread and lose their shape - no bueno.
Now the fun part - take your clean thumb and gently press in the center of each cookie ball. The cookies might crack on the edge - it's ok. Just smoosh them back together a bit. They'll be beautiful when they're done - I promise! Just don't press too hard so that you go through to the cookie sheet.
Raspberry almond thumbprint success
Once the whole tray is thumb printed, get a small spoon - I have found little baby cereal spoons work best. (Somebody in my house decided we didn't need them anymore and got rid of ours, but I digress.) Take that small spoon and spoon about ½ teaspoon of jam into the center of each thumbprint.
After you finish loading those babies up with jam, it's time for the oven. Bake them for about 9 minutes - keep an eye on them - once the edges start to lightly brown, take them out. Let them cool for a few minutes before removing to a rack.
Back to that baking, butter AND sugar consumption. If you add in some watching of Hallmark Christmas movies with those three, that's a chart that would be pretty scary. Confession: I've become quite good at watching Hallmark while cooking but baking requires a tad more concentration. So don't look too closely - there might be a few raspberry almond thumbprints that are sportin' a tan.
While the cookies are baking, mix up the glaze to a drizzle consistency. You can do whatever pattern you like - I prefer a crosshatch design but have at it. It's your cookie. Tuck a piece of parchment under your rack to save a mess on the counter.
Try to resist a bite - or if you're like me - look for a few sad looking cookies that won't make the cut (I spy a few here and there). If your house is like mine where they're eating them before they're even filled, you might have to make them a couple of times over a holiday season! Or just make a double batch.
For a crowd or for a few: Make a double batch of dough. Bake ½ of it and save the rest if you have a small group or bake off both batches for a big gathering.
one more thumbprint cookie
Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp almond extract
- ½ cup raspberry jam, seedless
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tsp water
- 1 ½ tsp almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350° Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a light pass swipe of butter. Do not use cooking spray.
- Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer at medium until fluffy about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl. .
- Add salt and flour on medium-low until incorporated and dough comes together. Then add in extract and mix briefly until incorporated.
- Scrape down sides again and cover bowl with plastic. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours. Dough can be frozen at this point.
- After the time has passed, remove cookies from the fridge and begin rolling dough into 1" balls. Place on cookie sheet about 4 cookies across.
- Using your thumb, gently make an indentation into the center of the cookie being careful not to go all the way through to the cookie sheet.
- Fill cookies with approximately ¼-1/2 tsp of raspberry jam.
- Bake for 8-9 minutes keeping a close eye on the edges. You want the cookie to be light on top.
For the glaze:
- While cookies are baking, mix powdered sugar and almond extract in a small bowl with a fork. Add water as needed to get a smooth, drizzling consistency.
- Remove cookies from oven and let rest for a couple of minutes and remove to a wire rack until cool.
- Drizzle glaze over cookies with a fork in desired pattern.
- Do not use baking spray on the cookie sheet with these cookies. Parchment paper is best - if you need to use anything.
- Use any flavor of jam you like as long as its seedless.
- Cookies can be frozen once jam has set. Parchment paper or wax paper is best for protecting the jam when layering.