Who doesn’t like thumbprints? Not me, my kids, my hubby, nor Santa (the thumbprints were always gone from Santa’s cookie plate on Christmas morning).  While perusing the internet for holiday cookie recipes I came across the blog, Chew Out Loud.  Their most requested cookie recipe (hands down winner)  is for Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies. Really, is it so surprising?  A buttery meltingly tender cookie filled with a “thumbleful” (get it? thumb + thimble) of sweet jam in the center, finished with a dusting of powder sugar.  Heavenly.

So of course I included thumbprints in this year’s 12 Days of Cookies.    My favorite recipe comes from an old copy of Ladie’s Home  Journal (yes, I am that old).  I have made these every year for as long as I have been baking Christmas cookies.  The addition of ground walnuts to the dough gives these cookies a nutty edge and a slightly sandier texture.  I like filling the centers with raspberry jam, its rich ruby red color playing off the surrounding cookie. The sweet and tart flavor of the jam compliments the cookie perfectly.  You can substitute pecans for the walnuts although I prefer walnuts which have a bit of a bite that works really well.   Did I mention they are super easy to make?  Run, don’t walk to your kitchen and make these cookies now.

Over the years I have found little tricks that help when making cookies.  Ice cream scoops are the secret to uniform sized cookies and definitely speed up the process of scooping out the dough.  I make the indentation for the jam with my wine opener (nifty huh) and creates the perfect sized circle in the middle of the cookie, much better than my thumb!

You can use any flavor jam you like.  Put jam in a squeeze bottle and shoot approximately 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation made. As the cookies are cooling, you can add a spot more jam in the center if you wish.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  I use a wire mesh tea strainer for my powdered sugar, works like a charm.


And for your listening pleasure the King-Blue Christmas

Walnut Thumbprints Day 2: 12 Days of Cookies

15 minutes

24 hours


    Ladies' Home Journal 12/93
    Prep time: 20 minutes
    Baking time: 10-12 minutes
  • 1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves
  • Powdered sugar
  • Dash of salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Chop nuts in food processor until very fine.
  • Beat butter, nuts and granulated sugar in mixer bowl until light.
  • Beat in flour into blended.
  • Shape dough into 1 inch balls.
  • Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets and flatten to 1 1/2 inch circle.
  • Press into centers with a fingertip or wine opener.
  • Fill each indentation with 1/4 teaspoon preserves.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden.
  • Cool.
  • Sift confectioner's sugar over cookies.
  • Makes 6 dozens.
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Thanks for reading, comments welcomed!