Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies
Buttery almond and vanilla shortbread cookies filled with raspberry jam and drizzled with glaze.
Shortbread thumbprint cookies. Buttery, melt-in-your mouth, sugary bites of bliss. I have never attempted shortbread before, but as per the usual – I am always up for a challenge.
I’ve made these shortbread thumbprints twice in the past 5 days.
A trial recipe on Saturday, which turned out to be quite good but not as buttery (and much too sweet) as shortbread should be. Kevin’s parents seemed to love them though! I made batch #2 on the day we had a gorgeous snowfall.
I don’t know which is more beautiful. Today’s cookies or this breathtaking scene.
Shortbread cookies are a classic Scottish dessert. I’m Scottish. (Any Scottish readers out there?) So, it’s about time I made shortbread from scratch.
Typical shortbread cookies are made up of one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. Some recipes have eggs, some don’t. Some recipes have chemical leavening agents, some don’t.
My shortbread cookie dough is just pure sugar-butter-flour with almond and vanilla extracts. I took my shortbread cookie dough and made thumbprint cookies. However, this shortbread cookie dough can be molded into any shapes! After chilling, roll it out and make your favorite shortbread recipes using this dough. It’s quite easy to work with and I’m already dreaming up new shortbread cookie recipes using it.
I have step-by-step photos for you today. Visual guides are always helpful when I’m making something new, so hopefully you won’t mind all the photos in this post.
To start, make sure you have enough time. Shortbread cookie dough typically needs to chill for a very long time. My cookie dough will need to chill for at least 2 hours (the longer it chills, the puffier the cookie and more time the flavors have to meld with one another into the dough). You also need the cookies to cool for 30 minutes after baked before glazing, so plan accordingly.
After you mix up the dough, it will be quite soft and buttery. Shortbread cookies are supposed to be buttery, so if your dough feels extra buttery – you’re on the right track. Press the dough down to compact it into the bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap to chill until firm. 4 hours, at least! The longer, the better– trust me.
Once the shortbread cookie dough has chilled and firmed up, preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Please use an oven thermometer to test your oven temperature. My oven runs hot and I have ruined many (MANY!) cookies because my temperature was inaccurate. A thermometer is very inexpensive and will be one of the most important tools you have in your kitchen.
Shape the cookie dough into balls. Mine were about 1 Tablespoon of dough per ball. Make sure they’re nice and smooth. Then, make an indentation with your thumb into each ball.
The dough may crack slightly when you press your thumb into it. Simply smooth it out with your hands if you can. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to have a few cracks.
Fill with 1/2 teaspoon of raspberry jam. You can certainly use any flavor jam you like best! Strawberry, blueberry, mixed berry, apricot, peach, boysenberry. Whatever you like best. Raspberry is my favorite and pairs beautifully with the almond/vanilla flavored dough.
Bake the shortbread thumbprint cookies for 14-15 minutes, or until very lightly browned on the edges. The cookies will puff up and spread slightly. Do not overbake these! In fact, I only baked mine for 13-14 minutes. I prefer them a little soft.
Now… the sweet, creamy glaze! A simple glaze made from cream and confectioners’ sugar. If you don’t have cream, no worries. Use milk instead. Feel free to add a bit of almond extract to the glaze as well. I left it out. Drizzle the glaze onto each cookie. Watch as it glistens over the gorgeous red filling and buttery cookies.
They’re buttery, sweet, glazed, fruity, and will absolutely melt in your mouth – just as shortbread should!
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Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup (134g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups + 2 Tablespoons (264g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)1
- 1/2 cup (160g) raspberry jam2
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners' sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) cream or milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)
- This cookie dough requires at least 4 hours for chilling and cookies must cool before glazing. Don't forget to plan ahead!
- Make the cookies: Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Switch mixer to medium speed and add the the sugar, vanilla, and almond extracts. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed. Turn the mixer off and pour the flour into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and slowly beat until a very soft dough is formed. Press the dough down to compact it and tightly cover with plastic wrap to chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (silicone mats preferred to reduce spreading). Shape the cookie dough into balls. Mine were about 1 Tablespoon of dough per ball. Make sure they're nice and smooth. If you find that the balls of dough are sticky and/or have gotten a little soft after rolling- place the balls of dough back into the refrigerator to firm up. You absolutely DO NOT want soft dough.3 Make an indentation with your thumb into each ball. The dough may crack slightly when you press your thumb into it. Simply smooth it out with your fingers if you can. Otherwise, it's perfectly fine to have a few cracks. Fill each with a scant 1/2 teaspoon of jam. (Or however much it can hold.)
- Bake the shortbread thumbprint cookies for 14-15 minutes, or until very lightly browned on the edges. The cookies will puff up and spread slightly. Do not overbake. In fact, I only baked mine for 13-14 minutes. I prefer them a little soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before glazing.
- Make the glaze: Whisk the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Add more liquid to thin out or add more confectioners' sugar to thicken to your desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Glaze will set within a couple hours.
Make ahead and storing: Store cookies covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 6 days. Shortbread cookie dough can be frozen up to 2 months; baked cookies (without glaze) may be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- 2 Tablespoons of flour added to the recipe. I make my cookies with only 2 cups of flour, however I suggest readers add 2 extra Tablespoons to prevent extra spreading.
- Get creative with jam flavors! Any flavor you love works.
- Make sure the cookie dough is cold and firm at all times. If it's not firm and cold, put back into the refrigerator to chill. When working in batches, keep the unused dough chilled in the refrigerator. You may roll, print, and fill batch #2 and stick in the fridge while batch #1 bakes.
This shortbread cookie dough can be used to cut into your favorite shortbread cookie shapes.
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
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