Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies

Simple to bake, these cookies provide the perfect opportunity to involve your children in the baking process and to make your kitchen the center of family fun. Use different kinds of jams to fill the indentations in the dough for both color and flavor variation.

Yield: 40 cookies


  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup finely ground almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup jam


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, lemon zest, flour and salt.
  3. Shape into a ball, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Break off walnut-sized pieces, roll them into 1-inch balls. Sprinkle the ground nuts on a plate and roll the balls in the nuts. Place the balls on a baking sheet, about 1-inch apart.
  5. Push down on each ball with a thumb to make an indentation. Fill the indentation with a dab of jam.
  6. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until barely beginning to turn golden. Do not overcook. Remove to a rack to cool. To store, pack in single layers, separated by waxed paper, in an airtight container. The cookies will keep for about 1 week.
  7. Chef's tip: These are one of the easiest cookies to make, and will disappear almost as fast as you can make them. For extra color and flavor, use different kinds of jam.

Recipe courtesy of Georgeanne Brennan, Provence in California Culinary Weekends and author of the recent food memoir, "A Pig in Provence" (Harcourt 2008).