A special treat for the holidays: Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies! These are made with soft and buttery shortbread cookies and filled with sweet raspberry jam. The dough needs to chill overnight, so this is a great prep-ahead recipe. So delicious!
I’m all about baking in December. I recently made the most delicious lemon ricotta cookies, followed immediately by buttery raspberry thumbprint cookies that I’m sharing with you today!
These are made with buttery shortbread and filled with delicious raspberry jam. They are crispy around the edges and tender as you bite into it. The raspberry jam complements really well with all this buttery goodness. I’m telling you…you will absolutely love these raspberry thumbprint cookies!
The dough has to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight, so this is a great made-ahead recipe. They will also keep really well in an airtight container for about 5 days after you bake them, so you can always grab one (or two, or three!) of these raspberry cookies whenever you want. SO GOOD.
Let me show you how to make them!
Buttery Shortbread Cookie
As mentioned above, these raspberry thumbprint cookies are made with a classic shortbread cookie. Shortbread cookie dough is basically butter, granulated sugar, flour, and salt. I also added almond extract and vanilla extract in this shortbread dough for flavor.
You’ll notice that the shortbread cookie dough does not include eggs in the ingredient list. Shortbread cookie dough, in general, does not include eggs, so don’t be alarmed if it’s not on the ingredient list. And don’t worry, these cookies won’t be dry at all. The butter will add moisture.
So, this is basically a raspberry filled shortbread cookie recipe, and it’s absolutely delicious!
Ingredients You’ll Need For These Cookies
For these shortbread raspberry thumbprint cookies, you only need a handful of ingredients. In fact, I already had all the ingredients in my pantry.
As always, I included the specific ingredient quantities for these raspberry thumbprint cookies in the recipe card below, but here is an overview of the ingredients to give you an idea:
- Unsalted butter: Softened and at room temperature. You’ll cream the butter with the sugar.
- Granulated sugar: For sweetness and for creaming with the butter.
- Almond extract: For flavor.
- Vanilla extract: For flavor.
- Flour: I used all-purpose flour.
- Salt: To bring out the flavors.
- Raspberry jam: Store-bought jam works great. I used seedless raspberry jam. If you have a favorite homemade jam, feel free to use that instead.
So Easy to Make
I’d recommend making the dough the night before. This dough needs to be cold, otherwise they will spread too much in the oven, especially since they contain a high percentage of butter.
To give you an idea of how raspberry thumbprint cookies are made:
- Make the shortbread cookie dough: Cream the sugar with the butter. Then add vanilla and almond extract, and the flour and salt to form a dough. It will look crumbly at first, but just continue mixing until a uniform dough forms.
- Wrap with plastic wrap and chill: This is super important! The dough needs to be cold before going in the oven, or the cookies will spread like crazy.
- Roll the dough into balls: About 1 tablespoon sized balls. If the dough is too stiff after being refrigerated, let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes.
- Make an indentation in the middle: Use a teaspoon or your thumb. I prefer to press down with a measuring teaspoon for uniformity. They will crack a bit – just reshape the dough with your fingers to bring the dough back together. Doesn’t need to be perfect.
- Fill them with raspberry jam: About 1/2 teaspoon of jam per cookie.
- Bake! In a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 13 to 15 minutes.
Quick tip: After refrigerating the dough overnight, it will actually be pretty stiff. Let the dough sit on the counter for about 20 minutes prior to using. This will allow them to soften a bit. Also, it helps to flatten the dough into a disk prior to chilling so that it’s not a big, thick block of dough.
Variations and Customizations
Because these are raspberry jam thumbprint cookies, I’m not going to suggest swapping the raspberry jam with other jams. But…for the record, I totally did that with my third batch…guilty!
Anyway, raspberry jam is my favorite jam for thumbprint cookies, and these are some ways I customize them:
- Glaze them! Make a quick glaze by whisking about 1.5 to 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar with milk or lemon juice.
- Roll the dough with granulated sugar before baking. This will add extra sweetness and shine.
- Dust them with confectioner’s sugar after they have completely cooled down.
- Add lemon zest to the dough, from about 1 lemon, for brightness.
These raspberry thumbprint cookies are absolutely divine! Imagine tender, buttery shortbread cookies filled with sweet raspberry jam. Delicious!
The dough can and should be made ahead, at least 4 hours in advance or overnight. So this is a great prep-ahead recipe.
They will also keep really well for about 5 days in an airtight container, so definitely make a big batch and eat them for days because they are SO SO GOOD!
More delicious cookies you should bake this month:
- Lemon Ricotta Cookies
- Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Nutella Sandwich Cookies
- Peppermint Mocha Cookies
Tips for Success
- As you mix, the dough will look crumbly. Just keep mixing, preferably with an electric or stand mixer. It will come together and form a uniform dough.
- Chill the dough for at least 4 hours or overnight. Shortbread dough needs to be cold when they cold into the oven so that they don’t spread too much.
- When you press the dough balls, the dough will crack around the edges. Just use your fingers to bring it back together.
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and at room temperature - (2 sticks)
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup raspberry jam, plus more as needed - (preferably seedless)
- In a bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer or in a stand mixer, cream the softened butter with the granulated sugar on high speed for 2 minutes until creamy and fluffy. Lower to medium speed and mix in the almond extract and vanilla extract. Lower to medium low speed and gradually add the flour. Once incorporated, increase speed back to medium and mix until evenly combined and a smooth dough forms. At first, it may look crumbly but it will come together as you keep mixing.
- Wrap the dough with plastic wrap. Chill for 4 hours or overnight. Tip: flatten the dough to form a disk so you don’t have a big block of dough.
- After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the fridge. Let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes if it’s too stiff.
- Make 1 tablespoon balls of dough with your hands. Make sure you work fast because the dough needs to stay cold. They should be smooth and round. Tip: if you think the dough balls are getting too soft, refrigerate them for 15-30 minutes.
- Press down each ball of dough with your thumb or a measuring spoon. They may crack around the edges, and that's okay – just use your fingers to bring the dough back together. Fill each indentation with about ½ teaspoon of raspberry jam. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 to 3 inches apart. Note: You may need to do multiple batches – just refrigerate the dough until ready to bake the next batch.
- Bake each batch for 13 to 15 minutes until the bottom is slightly browned. Once ready, remove from the oven and, after about 10 minutes, transfer them to a cooking rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
- Special equipment: electric or stand mixer, sheet pans, parchment paper, cooling rack.
- As you mix the dough, it may look crumbly at first. Just keep mixing – it will come together.
- Be sure to chill the dough for at least 4 hours or overnight. Otherwise they will spread too much.
- After chilling the dough, if it’s too stiff, let it sit on the counter to 20 minutes. It also helps if you flatten the dough into a disk before chilling so it’s not a big, thick block of dough. This will help it soften faster.
- Storing: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.