Thumbprint cookies are a classic Christmas treat. Make this version by adding chocolate to the cookie dough and rolling them in chopped pistachios for a festive touch.
For more Christmas baking ideas take a look at our holiday recipe collection.
Holiday cookie recipes are coming thick and fast and I hope you are ready. There is no other time of the year when eating cookies any time of the day is not only allowed but encouraged! We need a good variety to keep those near and dear to us happy and satisfied.
This year I teamed up with my daughter to bring you even more cookies recipes than I usually do at Christmas, so there is something for everyone.
Thumbprints are a Christmas cookie staple in most households. And while the classic version is delicious, I wanted to update it for the chocolate lovers in your family.
What are Thumbprint Cookies?
Round buttery cookies with little pools of fruit jam in the middle are known as thumbprint cookies. They could be vanilla flavoured or chocolate.
Supposedly a baker presses little dough balls with a thumb to make an indentations and later fills them with delicious jam. I personally use a teaspoon instead of my thumb but that’s the origin of the name and it’s a cute one!
Some people roll them in almonds, walnuts or simply in sugar. I love using pistachios at Christmas time for their gorgeous green colour. Needless to say, you can fill them with any jam flavour you like or happen to have at home.
I used homemade strawberry and blackberry jam this year but they are also delicious when filled with chocolate ganache!
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Make sure you cream room temperature butter with the sugar and cocoa powder until the mix is very light in texture. If the butter is not sufficiently whipped, the dough will be dry.
- If you melt the chocolate in a microwave, make sure to do so in short 30 second spurts to avoid burning.
- Even though the cookies are called thumbprint, I actually find it easier to make the indentation with a teaspoon. Because of the delicate texture of these cookies, you will partially lose the wells you created in the process of baking. I recommend taking the cookies out after 10 minutes and pressing lightly on the centre one more time.
- These cookies are very buttery, and therefore fragile. If you plan to transport them, freeze them first to preserve the shape and flavour.
Store at room temperature for a week in an airtight container.
Or freeze for up to three months, especially useful if you want to get your Christmas baking done early! Use parchment paper between layers of cookies to keep them from freezing together.
More Christmas cookies to try
- White Chocolate Matcha Cookies
- Lemon Ricotta Cookies
- Honey Cinnamon Walnut Rugelach
- Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- 100g/1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 30g/1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 250g/1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg large
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 45g/1/4 cup dark chocolate chopped
- 280g/2 cups plain flour/all purpose flour
- 150g/1 ⅓ cup unsalted pistachios chopped
- 125ml/1/2 cup blackberry or strawberry jam I used both
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F. In a large bowl cream butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, add in an egg, vanilla and mix well.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave in a few 30 second spurts as it burns very quickly. Check after each time, stir and put it back in the microwave for 30 seconds longer until the chocolate is runny.
- Beat in the melted chocolate into the mixture until combined, then add the flour and mix until dough forms.
- Form cookies by scooping little pieces of dough with a spoon or a small cookie scoop and rolling them in your hands into a ball. Then roll each ball in finely chopped pistachios. (I fine it easier to do if pistachios are in a small bowl.)
- Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and make an indentation in the centre of each ball with your thumb or a teaspoon. (I prefer using a teaspoon.) Bake for 10 minutes, then take the cookies out of the oven and check if the thumbprints on your cookies have become too shallow. If that is the case, gently push on them with a teaspoon and fill with the jam, put back in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes longer.
- Take the cookies out of the oven and carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Repeat the process until all dough is gone.