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Delicious Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies
Try these amazingly delicious thumbprint cookies with a subtle almond flavor.
Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies are made with a buttery, crisp shortbread base topped with sweet raspberry jam and a simple almond flavored drizzle.These cookies have great texture, an outstanding flavor combination, they’re super cute and melt-in-your mouth delicious!
When in doubt, cookies are always the best choice for dessert. You won’t need a plate, fork or even a knife to enjoy a cookie, or two. Whether you’re filling your cookie jar at home, or sharing with co-workers during the holidays, these Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints will be a memorable treat all will enjoy.
There’s so much flavor in these tiny cookies, it’s almost surprising when you take a bite of these tender, crisp cookies.
Not just for the holidays!
These pretty Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies are so delicious you’ll want to make them for every gift-giving opportunity, party, holiday, event, potluck and family extravaganza!
Over the years I’ve received some great comments, suggestions, a few questions and one or two complaints about this cookie recipe originally adapted from Land-O-Lakes. The less than glowing reviews indicated the cookie dough was dry and others mentioned the cookie dough spread too much.
I’ve tested and retested this recipe and feel completely confident with the measurements, proportions, ingredients, method and end result. To help you do the same, I’ve made lots of notes and provided tips for cookie perfection every time. This recipe will help make you the star baker at your next cookie challenge!
Ingredients needed to make Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies:
- Flour – we use unbleached all-purpose flour for these thumbprints
- Cornstarch – just a tiny amount of cornstarch helps keep the cookies from spreading too much
- Salt – if using salted butter, omit adding salt
- Butter – use good quality American butter like Land-O-Lakes. We prefer using unsalted butter for these cookies.
- Sugar – granulated / white sugar is used in this recipe
- Almond Extract – the subtle almond flavor is terrific in both the cookie dough and icing
- Raspberry Jam – you can use seedless or seeded jam for these cookies. The almond and raspberry flavor combination is terrific but feel free to experiment with vanilla extract and other kinds of jam
- Powdered Sugar – used for making a simple icing to be drizzled on the cooled cookies
TIPS for success
TIPS for making perfect Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies:
- 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. Stir the flour in the container or bag. Next, 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’ll end up with 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 good quality butter. I’ve had other recipes fail when I used a store brand or generic butter so don’t risk it. European butters may make these cookies a little greasy. Stick with better regular unsalted butter like Land-O-Lakes!
- 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 my AirBake insulated rimless cookie sheet yields the best results. If using a rimless cookie sheet, 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. Next slide the parchment filled with cookie dough balls right onto the still warm sheet and bake immediately.
- Don’t let the dough balls sit on the hot pan! If you’re placing the dough balls onto the baking sheet individually, then making the indentation and filling with jam, the cookie sheet must be cold. Make sure your cookie sheet is cooled completely before placing the dough balls on the pan. If the pan is not cold the cookies will begin to melt and will spread too much in the oven.
- Use good quality raspberry jam. I don’t recommend using jelly for these cookies. I’ve used several different brands of jam over the years. Smuckers seedless Raspberry Jam or Stonewall Kitchen’s Red Raspberry Jam are two of my favorites.
- 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 unless you are using a rimless baking sheet and can slide the entire batch onto a cooling rack.
- There’s a wide range noted for measuring the almond extract in the glaze ingredients. Start with less, taste the glaze and add more if you think it needs it. Almond extract is not everyones 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.
I hope the tips help you have great success with these Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint cookies.
Can you freeze these thumbprints?
Yes, you can freeze these cookies but they may be a little softer after they’re thawed. You may lose the crisp edges but the cookies are still very good. I recommend freezing the un-iced cookies in a single layer on a large baking sheet first, then stack between layers of wax paper.
Do not drizzle with icing until after the cookies are completely thawed. Over time the jam color may bleed a little into the icing. If possible, leave these cookies as the last ones you make for the holidays. They are absolutely delicious and a favorite with everyone who tries them.
Again, if you need these cookies for a special occasion, please don’t wait until the last minute to make this recipe for the first time.
Top the Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint cookies with a pretty glaze if desired.
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Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints
For the cookie dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (252g)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature (226g or 16 tablespoons)
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar (135g)
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup seedless raspberry jam (4 ounces)
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar (115g)
- 2-3 teaspoons water more or less as needed for drizzling consistency
- ½ 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 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. 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.
- 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 good quality (European is good) unsalted butter in all my baking 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Here are a few more of our favorite jam filled cookies:
Try our unique and delicious Oatmeal Jammys! These terrific little tart-like cookies are true gems. They’re crispy, tender, buttery shortbread oatmeal cookies filled with jam and a sprinkle of streusel around the edges and I can’t wait for you to try them!
Mary Berry’s Viennese Whirls – enjoy these delicious, tender melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies slathered with raspberry jam and a light vanilla buttercream filling.
Here are a few 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! 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. 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!
Originally published December 2012 – photos, recipe, and text updated October 2020