I have been intimidated to make thumbprints. I don’t really know why. I guess I thought they looked so ‘perfect’ that they must be difficult. I was wrong.

They aren’t difficult at all though: Make the dough, roll the dough, bake the cookies, fill the cookies with jam, bake the filled cookies, eat the cookies. See, easy. They are VERY pretty too, when you make them correctly :/ Which I didn’t’ with the first batch. I got a little too excited and filled the cookies with the jam BEFORE I baked them the first time. Which makes for a cookie that looks like this:

See, not nearly as pretty as this:

After a taste test, or 5, I concluded that they are basically a shortbread cookie with a jam center, which is an INSANE flavor combo. Oh gosh is it good! Simple flavors that come together to make a flavor explosion in your mouth. Ok, I’m sold on thumbprints. My only problem with them is storing them. The jam can stay a little sticky, so they don’t stack nicely like other cookies. But after I cooled them for an entire day, the jam became less sticky and I could stack them without them sticking together.

A few tips to note BEFORE you start baking:
1. there are 2 steps in the baking process: 1. bake the cookies without the jam. 2. THEN fill the cookies with the jam and bake some more.

2. Allow the cookies to cool COMPLETELY and they jam will loose some of it’s ‘stickiness.’

3. Try using a filling other then just jam: pumpkin butter, lemon curd, nutella, cream cheese. I made some with pumpkin butter too and they were DELISH!

Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Adapted from Playing House

3/4 cup strawberry (or any other variety) jam
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 oz (6 tbsp) cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Fill a small Ziploc bag (Amy’s note: I used my pastry bag, makes it easy if you have one!) with the jam. Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in the cream cheese, egg, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beater(s) as necessary.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds.

4. Working with 1 1/2 tsp of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Make an indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb.
*If you find your thumb sticking to the cookies, wet it a bit with water.

5. Bake the cookies until they are just beginning to set and are lightly browned around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and, working quickly, gently reshape the indentation with the bottom of a teaspoon measure. Snip a small corner off the bag of jam (or get your pastry bag ready) and carefully fill each indentation with about 1/2 tsp of the jam. Put the cookies back in the oven and continue to bake until lightly golden, 12-14 minutes.
*I just used a a spoon to fill each cookie with jam, so you don’t NEED a pastry bag, but if you have one, go for it!

6. Let the cookies cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes, before serving.