Not just for the holidays! These pretty Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints are so delicious you’ll want to make them for every gift-giving opportunity, party, holiday, event, potluck and family extravaganza!
With a subtle almond flavor and a buttery, crisp shortbread base, these cookies are topped with sweet raspberry jam and a sweet almond flavored drizzle.
TIPS for making perfect Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints:
- Make sure your butter is at room temperature when mixing up the dough. If it’s too cold, the dough may not mix well and will be crumbly.
- Properly measure your flour. Lightly spoon the flour into the measuring cup and use the back of a table knife to level off the top. If you pack the flour in the measuring cup or have a rounded, heaping cup, you will have dry, crumbly cookie dough. If your cookie dough is dry, you probably added too much flour.
- As this cookie dough is made with only a few ingredients, using good quality butter can make or break your cookies. I always bake with unsalted Land-O-Lakes butter. I’ve had other recipes fail when I used a store brand butter so don’t risk it. Stick with better butter!
- Refrigerate your cookie dough for a full hour before rolling into balls. Keep any unused dough in the refrigerator until you’re ready to roll out more cookies. You can also roll all the cookies at once and keep them in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Keep the dough as cold as possible and this will help minimize spreading. These are a very buttery cookie, and butter melts easily. The dough balls must be cold when going in the oven.
- Over the years I’ve found that I prefer my AirBake insulated rimless cookie sheet (see Amazon link below). Cut two sheets of parchment paper to fit on the baking sheet. Once one pan comes out of the oven slide the parchment, with cookies attached, onto a cooling rack. Easy peasy. Then slide the next parchment filled with cookie dough balls right onto the still warm sheet and bake. Don’t let the dough balls sit on a hot pan. If you don’t have one and don’t want to purchase a rimless baking sheet, make sure your cookie sheet is cooled completely before placing the dough balls on the pan. If it’s not cold, the cookies will begin to melt and will spread too much in the oven. Starting with cold dough and a cold pan is crucial.
- Use good quality raspberry jam. Do not use jelly. I’ve used several different brands of jam – Smuckers seedless Raspberry Jam is one of my favorites for baking.
- I’ve added 2 teaspoons cornstarch to this recipe. Cornstarch helps stabilize the dough so it’s easier for them to hold their shape. Shortbread typically does not contain cornstarch in the mix so I wanted to keep it to the smallest amount possible. Two teaspoons seems about right.
- One of the most important tips I can offer is this: when making the indentation for the jam use a small finger, press it straight down into the center of the dough, and only go about halfway through. Do not make the indentation too deep! The bigger the hole, the wider the cookies will spread. The jam may be over the top (see photos above) but that’s okay. Use a well rounded 1/4 teaspoon of jam.
- The cookies are best when lightly browned on the bottom. Don’t over-bake! Cool for a few minutes on the pan before removing to the wire rack.
- There is a wide range for measuring the almond extract in the glaze ingredients. I would start with less, taste the glaze and add more if you think it needs it. Almond extract is not always a favorite flavor – but it is one of mine!
- Take the time to test the recipe if you’re making them for a special event or party. You never want to try a new recipe on the day of an event when you have to have the cookies! This recipe takes some time to chill the dough, cool the cookies, ice the cookies and allow the glaze to set. Each step is easy but there is waiting time in between.
- Finally, bake two or three cookies to start and see how they do. You may find you want a larger hole, more jam, a shorter or longer baking time, etc.
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- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 teaspoons water, more or less as needed for drizzling consistency
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (add more to taste if desired - I've used to up 1 1/2 teaspoons - substitute vanilla if desired)
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Beat at medium speed until the butter mixture is creamy and light. Scrape down the sides of mixing bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until well blended. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 1 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared pan. Keep remaining cookie dough refrigerated until needed. Make an indentation straight down into the center of each cookie (about half way to the bottom) with your smallest finger. Fill each with a well rounded 1/4 teaspoon jam.
- Bake for 11 to 15 minutes or until edges are just lightly browned. Let the cookies stand 1 minute before removing to a cooling rack. Cool completely.
- Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cookies and allow them to set.
Please read all notes and instructions before beginning. This is an easy recipe, but must be followed for best results.
- When measuring the flour, lightly spoon into measuring cup and level off the top with the flat side of a table knife. Do not pack the flour into the cup.
- Be sure you are using raspberry jam. Do not use jelly.
- If your dough is dry and crumbly, you probably added too much flour. Try adding 1 tablespoon of butter to the cookie dough.
- I always use Land-O-Lakes unsalted butter in all my recipes. If you use salted butter please omit the 1/4 teaspoon additional salt added with the flour.
- Do not over-bake. The cookies are best just lightly browned on the bottom.
To prevent the cookies from spreading too much please note:
- Make sure the dough is well chilled before making the dough balls.
- Keep dough refrigerated between batches. With a high butter content, the dough will quickly warm when left at room temperature.
- Place dough balls on a cool baking sheet, or parchment paper. The cookies will begin to spread if placed on a hot pan. To make it easy you can place the dough balls on parchment and then slide them onto a rimless baking pan and bake immediately. I use a light colored rimless baking sheet to make this process easy and quick.
- Do not smash the entire dough ball flat when making the indentation. Use a small finger and push straight down into the center of the cookie. DO NOT MAKE THE INDENTION TOO DEEP. The bigger the whole, the wider the cookies will spread. Please see the photos for reference. Even though they are called thumbprints, if you use your thumb they may not spread correctly and hold the jelly in the pocket.
- Bake 3-4 cookies first to see how they do for you. If they are spreading too much, refrigerate the dough balls with jam for 15 minutes before baking.
Adapted from a Land-O-Lakes recipe
Here are a few more thumbprint cookie recipes you might also like: Turtle Thumbprint Cookies – deliciously nutty cookies with a smooth, creamy dollop of sweet caramel, and a drizzle of yummy chocolate – cookie heaven! Click HERE to get the recipe for Turtle Thumbprint Cookies. Ginger Molasses Thumbprint Cookies with Caramel ~ a terrific little molasses cookie with a crisp exterior, plenty of bite from the ginger, and a smooth, gooey milky caramel center. Click HERE to get the recipe for Ginger Molasses Thumbprint Cookies. Lemon-Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies – a Lime infused Shortbread Cookie filled with homemade Lemon Curd and topped with a simple Lime Icing – a bright summer treat! Click HERE to get the recipe for Lemon-Lime Shortbread Thumbprints Cookies. (These cookies are based on the same recipe as the Raspberry Almond cookies featured here.)
Thanks so much for stopping by! Tricia
Originally published December 2012 – photos, recipe, and text updated October 2018