Heading to a holiday cookie swap this year? Whip up a batch of these jam thumbprint cookies. They’re fruity and rich—and our recipe makes four dozen of these crowd-pleasing sweets. But if you think that sounds like a lot, just bring them to a holiday party and watch how quickly they disappear.
One of the fastest methods for piping jam onto our thumbprint cookies (remember, you’re making 48 cookies) is using a zipper-lock bag. To do this, place the jam in a small zipper-lock bag and zip the top, taking care to remove all the excess air from the bag. Then, when you’re ready to pipe, cut the corner of the bag to make a small hole, about ⅛ inch in diameter, and squeeze the jam into the thumbprints. We’ve found that it’s the easiest way to leave your mark on these cookies.
MAKING JAM THUMBPRINTS
1. Cream the butter and sugar: Creaming the softened butter and sugar together with an electric mixer makes a light, delicately textured cookie with a rich, buttery flavor.
2. Add cream cheese for texture: Adding cream cheese to our cookie dough makes it sturdy while keeping it light and cakey, a perfect foil for the dense, sweet center of jam.
3. Roll the cookie dough into balls: Rolling the dough into proper balls, rather than just spooning the dough onto the baking sheet, keeps the dough from spreading during baking.
4. Make a first impression: Using a wet thumb (to prevent sticking), make a small indentation in the center of the dough balls. Don’t worry if your thumbprint isn’t perfect, the cookies will be re-indented after baking for 10 minutes.
5. Make a second impression: After baking the cookies for 10 minutes, the original thumbprint will be somewhat faint. To avoid burning our thumbs, we use the underside of a rounded teaspoon measure to re-indent the original thumbprint.
6. Jam it up: After reestablishing the thumbprints, fill them with ½ teaspoon of jam and return the baking sheets to the oven to finish baking. Using a small zipper-lock bag as a piping bag makes filling all 48 cookies a snap.
Find this and other great recipes in The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.