Christmas Thumbprint Cookies

24 Cookies
1 hr 15 min

Christmas Thumbprint Cookies are a staple in my family’s holiday traditions. This recipe is my grandmother’s and she made them for every Christmas I can remember. These cookie’s are easy to make, they keep for several days quite well and they are just darn festive to look at. You can mix and match icing colors and flavors and really make them your own. They are actually wonderful all year round and you can adjust the color of icing for baby showers, weddings, sporting events and parties. We just always enjoy Christmas Thumbprint Cookies at Christmastime each year. The following recipe is how to make my Mamaw’s Thumbprint exactly like she did!

Ingredients for Christmas Thumbprint Cookies:

For Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


For Icing 30 Cookies:

  • 1 Tablespoon Milk
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • dash of salt
  • A few drops of flavoring extract to taste (I’ve used almond, lemon, vanilla, orange and, maple)
  • A few drops of food coloring to achieve the desired shade of icing


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Equipment Recommendations:

  • KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer
  • Scraper Paddle Attachment (make sure to match the size of the mixer!)
  • Hand Crank Nut Chopper
  • Large, heavy sheet pans for baking
  • Cooling Rack


Instructions for Making the Dough for Christmas Thumbprint Cookies:

Step 1:

In a stand mixer bowl, cream together sugar, butter, salt and vanilla until smooth.

Step 2:

Add in flour and chopped pecans and run the mixer until well combined. I buy the pecans that area already chopped a little bit with large chunks (not ground). And I just let the mixing process take care of the rest. If you don’t like big pieces of nuts in the cookies, you can use a nut chopper or you can buy them finely chopped.

Step 3:

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough cool in the fridge for at least an hour.


Step 4:

Preheat the oven to 350*.


Step 5:

Once chilled, shape the dough into small balls. Just pinch off a little dough and roll it into a ball. Mine are usually an inch to an inch and a half wide.

Step 6:

Press thumb (or a wooden spoon handle) into the middle of the dough ball to make an indention about 3/4 of the way through the cookie.

Step 7:

Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet about an inch apart.

Step 8:

Bake for 15 minutes in 350* oven. You want the cookies to be a nice golden color on top and on bottom. Put on a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.


Icing for the Cookies:

Somehow I missed taking photos of me actually mixing the icing up in the bowl. BUT, I have all the other steps, so not to worry!


Step 1:

Put confectioner’s sugar in a glass bowl.


Step 2:

Add milk to confectioner’s sugar and stir with a whisk making sure there are no lumps. I use my Oxo Good Grips Flat Whisk for this and I LOVE it. This is hands-down my favorite kitchen tool of all time.


Step 3:

Add flavor extract to your taste (I use a few drops of almond extract as my favorite). You can play around with how strong you like the icing. I like mine pretty strong mainly because only a small amount is going on the entire cookie – so I really want to taste that flavor.


Step 4:

Add food coloring to achieve the shade of icing you want. At Christmas I use red and green!


Step 5:

If your icing is too runny at this point, add a little more confectioner’s sugar. If too think, a few drops more of milk. (It should pour easily into a zip lock bag but not so easily that it’s going to run off the cookies!)


Step 6:

Pour the icing into a small zip lock bag. I like to put my zip lock bag into a mason jar so it stays put while I pour the icing.

Step 7:

Cut a tiny part of the bottom tip of the bag off so you can just squeeze and a little icing will come out for each cookie!

Step 8:

Gently squeeze the bag and pipe the icing into the cookie thumbprint holes.

Step 9:

Let cookies stand on baking rack for several hours for icing to harden, then store in an airtight container.

Storage:

After the icing has set and is firm (several hours later), you can store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.


Recipe Variations:

There are a ton of different ways to change this recipe to make it your own! You can add jam instead of icing or NUTELLA instead of icing. OMG – yum. Or you can roll the cookie dough balls in crushed pecans for extra crunch! Get creative and find your combo you love!

  • Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies – from Love and Olive Oil
  • Nutella-Filled Thumbprint Cookies from www.melissahartfiel.com
  • Pecan Thumbprint Cookies from Taste of Home


Display:

These cookies are really pretty to put out for Christmas gatherings or at the office party. They are so beautiful on their own you can just put them on a platter and let the colors do the work!

Wrap Up – Christmas Thumbprint Cookies

I love these cookies year-round, but especially at Christmas. My mamaw made them every year for the holidays. And now that she’s not with us it’s a wonderful way to honor and remember her, having her present in a little way at our holiday gatherings. I hope you give these a try and love them so much you add them to your holiday baking traditions!


Merry Christmas to all and Just Keep Shuffling!


Recommended Items Used Making This Recipe:

  • KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer
  • Scraper Paddle Attachment (make sure to match size of mixer!)
  • Hand Crank Nut Chopper
  • Small glass mixing bowls with lids
  • Flat whisk
  • Flavored Extracts – Almond, Vanilla, Lemon, Orange and Maple
  • Food Coloring
  • Parchment Paper Sheets
  • Nordic Ware Half Sheet Pans
  • Stackable Cooling Rack
  • Cookie Storage Container


Related Posts:

  • Christmas Hershey’s Kiss Cookies
  • Cinnamon Sugar Sprinkle Cookies
  • Lemon Pound Cake
  • Easy Tips for Creating The Perfect Pantry


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Christmas Thumbprint Cookies

Recipe details

  • 24  Cookies
  • Prep time: 60 Minutes Cook time: 15 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 15 min
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Ingredients


  • For Cookies:
  • - 1/2 cup Confectioner's Sugar
  • - 1 cup butter, softened
  • - 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • - 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • - 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • - 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ======================
  • For Icing 30 Cookies:
  • - 1 Tablespoon Milk
  • - 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • - dash of salt
  • - A few drops of flavoring extract to taste (I've used almond, lemon, vanilla, orange and, maple)
  • - A few drops of food coloring to achieve the desired shade of icing

Instructions

For Cookies:

In a stand mixer bowl, cream together sugar, butter, salt and vanilla until smooth
Add in flour and chopped pecans and run the mixer until combined well.
Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it cool in the fridge for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Once chilled, shape the dough into small balls.
Press thumb (or a wooden spoon handle) into the middle of the dough ball to make an indention about 3/4 of the way through the cookie.
Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet about an inch apart.
Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown on top and bottom.
Cool completely.

For Icing

Put confectioner's sugar in a bowl.
Add milk to confectioner's sugar and stir with a whisk making sure there are no lumps.
Add flavor extract to your taste (I use a few drops of almond extract as my favorite)
Add food coloring to achieve the shade of icing you want. At Christmas I use red and green!
If your icing is too runny at this point, add a little more confectioner's sugar. If too think, a few drops more of milk. (It should pour easily into a zip lock bag but not so easily that it's going to run off the cookies)
Pour the icing into a small zip lock bag.
Cut a tiny part of the bottom tip of the bag off and pipe the icing into the cookie thumbprint holes.
Let cookies stand on baking rack for several hours for icing to harden, then store in an airtight container.

Tips

  • For the cookie icing, you can easily scale up the recipe. Or if you find it too runny, add a little more confectioner's sugar. If you find it not runny enough, add a smidge more milk. But a little milk goes a LONG way. Plus factor in you are adding a few more drops of liquid with the flavor and the food coloring too. Make sure to add both the flavor and color before you make any final adjustments to the consistency of the icing.
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