Thumbs up for our NUTTY THUMBPRINT COOKIES recipe!
This scrumptious cookie recipe is a perennial favourite and is especially enjoyed as an essential holiday treat. One thing worth mentioning at the outset: although they’re fun and festive, we’re sure your friends and family will love them throughout the year.
Also known as tea cookies, butterballs, jam drops, Mexican wedding cookies, and bird’s nest cookies, this essential cookie recipe is a classic butter cookie dough rolled in two kinds of nuts and finished with a tiny dollop of jam. They are always well received; in fact, they might become one of your most requested!
Here are a few tips to help you make NUTTY THUMBPRINT COOKIES like a pro.
Looking at the ingredients we used to craft these delicious homemade cookies, we’re hoping the word “easy” comes to mind. Why? Because we bet you already have most of them in your pantry. All will be available at your local grocery store, so simply add any missing items to your weekly shopping list and you’ll be good to go.
Making the cookie dough for this recipe is also simple thanks to our stand mixer. For best results, make sure the butter is at room temperature before you begin. This helps it cream with the sugars, vanilla and egg yolk. Although I’ve never made this cookie dough by hand, you can bring the dough together using a hand mixer instead. If you don’t have one, I’ve provided links below to purchase.
Don’t miss our directions to refrigerate the cookie dough for 30 minutes after making it. This gives the gluten a chance to relax before shaping the dough into balls. For smaller batches, you can divide the dough into two portions and bake the second portion within 3 – 5 days, keeping the dough in the fridge until then. You can also keep this cookie dough in the freezer for up to two months, a great idea if you’re making cookies for the holidays.
PECANS & ALMONDS
Although we used both pecans and almonds for this recipe, feel free to use just one or the other if you wish. Finely chopped walnuts are also an option if you’d like to experiment with a variation. For best results, don’t chop the nuts so finely that they become powdery, and if using both varieties, mix well before rolling the dough balls in the mix. Very important: make sure you’re using fresh nuts. Check those expiration dates when purchasing.
If you can, try to make these cookies with your favourite homemade jam, be it raspberry jam, strawberry, peach, apricot or orange marmalade. We found homemade jam more flavourful than store-bought varieties, and it also added a pleasing sweetness that paired perfectly with the nuts and buttery shortbread. We have seen a variation where some folks craft peanut butter thumbprint cookies, and honestly, we are not fans of them. The peanut butter makes them too dry. We’ve also tried the recipe with jelly; don’t. The jelly melts in the oven and bleeds into the cookies.
Shaping the dough balls is simple, and you’ll be able to eyeball the portion size after you shape a few. We wrote the recipe suggesting the ball be 1-1/4 inches, about the size of a walnut. Anything larger and the interior won’t be baked, anything smaller and the bottom will burn. This reminds me, of a heads-up if you’re making this type of cookie for the first time: stay close to the oven while they bake as they can go from golden to burnt fast.
The nut coating sticks to the dough as it’s rolled through thanks to the foamy egg white and water mixture. To dip the dough in the egg coating, we tested the recipe using tongs, a fork and a spoon to assist, but dipping them by hand ended up working best. That said, follow our lead and use one hand to dip the dough balls in the egg mixture and the other to roll the balls in the nut coating. This method is less messy than the others we tried.
Adding the thumbprint to the centre of each ball is the hallmark of this homemade cookie recipe. Those of you with large thumbs should push gently to avoid imprinting cracks in the dough, while you small-thumbed cookie makers (think: kids) may need to press twice to make a good impression. Good to note that if you have kids or grandkids in your midst, this is a great recipe for them to take part in.
Last step before we bake the cookies in the oven is to add a dollop of jam into the thumbprint. Don’t overdo it; a little dab is all you need.
We’re saying the bake time for these cookies is 20 minutes, but as every oven is different, best to check doneness at the 15-minute mark. The goal is a slightly golden cookie that flattens out a tiny bit during the bake.
The final touch on this essential and classic cookie recipe is presenting them for everyone to enjoy. They work on their own on a fancy Christmas cookie plate or add them with others on a baking tray. They’re also a welcome addition to any holiday cookie exchange.
These cookies are included in our HOLIDAY BAKING & CONFECTIONS COLLECTION. Click HERE to see all of the recipes we’ve deemed holiday-worthy, but truth be told, these cookies and sweets will still be well received no matter what time of year they’re served. So make and enjoy them anytime!
Because these cookies are so tasty, we suggest you PIN the recipe to a favourite dessert or baking board on PINTEREST or BOOKMARK this tab for easy access. SHARE it with friends so they can make it too. We’d also appreciate seeing pics of all the scrumptious baking you’re making these days. Use #weekendatthecottage when you post those pics on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks!
Perfect for the holiday, or any day for that matter, enjoy our NUTTY THUMBPRINT COOKIES!