These classic thumbprint cookies with icing are rich and colorful. Plus they freeze well so you can work ahead.
My mom used to have us help her with thumbprint Christmas cookies every year when I was a kid. They are very buttery and are topped with a rich buttercream icing. It's a real treat that I continue making to this day for the holidays.
I will admit that they do take a little extra time but they are worth it. If you are pressed for time you could fill them with your favorite jam or preserves, however, I really love the flavor of homemade buttercream frosting.
How to Make Thumbprint Cookies with Icing
The recipe makes a little more than three dozen cookies, depending on how big you make the cookie dough balls.
The dough balls need to be rolled in egg whites, then walnuts.
After 5 minutes in the oven, you take the cookie sheet pan out of the oven and use your thumb to "print" the center of the cookie, thus the name. Then you pop them back in the oven to finish cooking.
Once they cool you can top them off with buttercream icing or royal icing. In a pitch, you can substitute raspberry jam or another favorite jam flavor.
Tips for Making Thumbprint Cookies
- Make sure you chop your walnuts pretty fine or else they tend to fall off.
- After making the "thumbprint" I also switch the cookie sheet trays on the oven shelves. This helps them bake more evenly.
- If your thumb gets too hot, a finger works just as well.
Can I freeze these cookies?
Definitely, the high butter content helps to keep this cookie testing pretty fresh after freezing.
Also, if you'd like you can skip the butter in the icing making it more like royal icing.
Using just powdered sugar and milk works, but I like this recipe with butter because I think it helps with freezing them and of course, it tastes great.
And, it's how my mom made them.
Icing Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
- 2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup butter softened 2 sticks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons of butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- food coloring
- Chop walnuts and place them in a shallow bowl.
- Separate eggs and place yolks in a large mixing bowl and the whites in another shallow bowl.
- Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt with the egg yolks.
- Gradually stir in the flour.
- Using a small cookie scoop or teaspoon make 1-inch balls of cookie dough.
- Roll dough balls first in the egg whites.
- Then roll in the walnuts.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove and using your thumb make an indentation in the center of each dough then return to the oven for 7-10 more minutes.
- Remove baking sheets from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
- Make the icing by combining all ingredients and adding enough milk to give you a smooth, workable consistency. Keep some of the icing white and portion out the rest for as many colors as you'd like and add food coloring.
- Spoon some icing into each cookie indentation.
- Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts have been made to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.