Thumbprint Cookies

My little congregation in having a musical Sabbath tonight. To be precise, the klezmer band “The Kosher Red Hots” will play. Klezmer is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe. Klezmer music is easily identifiable by its expressive melodies, reminiscent of the human voice, complete with laughing and weeping. Two of the members of the band are members of the congregation.  We expect a crowd of guests to come to hear them.

Like every Friday night service, there will be an oneg – enjoying Shabbat by eating snacks and sweets after the service. This is not a potluck meal, but “a little something” to have while you socialize with others. But this time we expect a larger number of people, so the word went out “bring extra”, if we run out of food, it will be a shanda (a shame on us).

So I decided on cookies, since most recipes make a lot of cookies. These thumbprint cookies, from American Profile, are very easy to make, and can be made the day before. In fact, they are the type of cookie that can be packed and sent as a gift – they’re pretty sturdy despite their delicate texture.  You can use any jam you have in the house. I used blackberry jam for half of them, and ginger jam for the other half. But apricot, strawberry, or even exotic jams will work.
Thumbprint Cookies

2 cups sifted flour (flour should be sifted before measuring)
1 cup butter (no substitutes!)
1/2 cup superfine sugar (I didn’t have superfine; I used granulated sugar and it worked just fine)
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Your preferred jam
1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

Sift together flour and salt; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add extract(s). Slowly mix in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until just blended. If you find the dough is too crumbly and not coming together, just beat it a little longer (with an electric hand or stand mixer) and you will get a creamy, light smooth texture. Wrap the dough in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Quickly shape dough into 1-inch balls, and space them 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make a deep thumbprint in the center of each dough ball; fill with preferred jam. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cookies are the color of pale sand. Transfer to wire cooling racks. 

When cooled, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Makes 48 buttery cookies at 4 grams of fat/cookie.


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I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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