With a crisp,melt-in-your-mouth shortbread base, a jeweled jam filling and a fabulous almond glaze, these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints always bring rave reviews!
I made a batch of these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints early one morning. A little later, I handed Scott our usual high-protein, decently healthy breakfast; scrambled eggs with a low-carb wrap and a pile of fresh summer fruit. Over on the side, (don't frown on me) was one of these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints. I couldn't wait till a "proper" time of the day for him to try one. I said, "Wait till you try this cookie! I think these might just be some of the best cookies I've ever tasted!" He said, "You say that fairly often."
Then he took a bite, rolled his eyes and said "WHOA!" I think you're right!"
I think you're going to love these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints. The simple shortbread base is buttery and shatteringly crisp, A small indention in the center of the cookie is made with your finger before baking and filled with the jam of your choice. The crowning glory is a super easy, almond drizzle. Each one of these elements is delicious but put them all together and you'll be sure to get lots of responses like, "Whoa!", "Wow!" and "Amazing!"
A few tweaks
The recipe for these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints comes from the Land O Lakes website. I love their recipes and, generally find them delicious and well-tested. But when I read the reviews for these cookies, I observed that a number of bakers had problems with this recipe, so I made a few changes.
One of the complaints was that the dough cracked after rolling into balls and attempting to make the indention for the jam. The recipe called for chilling the dough and then portioning it out then rolling it into balls. I found that rolling the dough balls first and then refrigerating worked better and there was less cracking.
Another problem that some Land O Lakes readers had was that the cookies spread in the oven. I tried the recipe, as written, and had the same issue, even with several hours of refrigeration. With a bit of testing, I discovered that adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to the dough prevented the cookies from spreading into little flat pancakes while they were baking.
I also tried several other highly-rated online thumbprint cookie recipes but this one (with the small changes) is definitely my favorite! The dough comes together quickly with a few simple ingredients, one bowl and a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon.
Although these are officially called Almond Shortbread Thumbprints, it would be more accurate to call my cookies Almond Shortbread Fingerprints. I find that it works much better to use my index or middle finger to make the jam indentions in the center of the dough balls. It's awkward to use my thumb and it makes an irregular-shaped crater in the dough. I think the name "thumbprint cookies" is more charming so we'll just keep it at that.
Use your favorite jam - or several kinds!
I love that you can change up the flavor of these cookies with different types of jam. For this photoshoot batch, I used our Easy Raspberry Freezer Jam. It's a delightful pairing with the almond glaze and it keeps its' pretty red color even after baking.
I've also made these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints with our No Fail Strawberry Freezer Jam. Also delicious and so pretty!
Have fun trying different jams and jellies... really the sky's the limit!
How to serve these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints
I love serving these pretty little cookies with coffee or tea. They're perfect for brunches, tea parties, breaks at work or an afternoon get together with neighbors or friends. For a super easy dessert, purchase some good vanilla ice cream, scoop it up into pretty bowls and drizzle it with our Ridiculously Easy Hot Fudge Sauce. Pass a plate of these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints and everyone will be in dessert heaven!
Give them away!
These buttery, jam-filled shortbread cookies also make a wonderful gift for friends family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Have any wanna-be friends? Give them a little box of these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints and you'll be well on your way to BFFs!
We've created a pretty little gift tag to dress up your giveaways. We're happy to share a free printable PDF for these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints. If you'd like to receive them by email, simply leave a comment in the comment section at the bottom of this post. We will email them to you along with instructions on how to print them up on your own printer.
Try these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints. Then before you devour every last one, invite a few friends or neighbors, make some coffee or brew a pot of tea and have a little party. Life is too short to not celebrate!
Café Tips for making these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints
- Because there’s no mixer used, the butter needs to be very soft when mixing up these Easy Almond Shortbread Thumbprint cookies. Either let the butter come to room temperature by letting it sit out overnight or you can use the microwave. A short stint in the microwave on power level 10 (10%) works like magic to soften butter. You’ll need to experiment a bit with your microwave though, as they’re all different. Start with 20 or 30-second increments at power level 10 until you learn how long your microwave will take to get the butter nice and soft, but not melted.
- You might wonder why these cookies need to be chilled for at least an hour before baking. The chilling helps them keep their shape in the hot oven. Also, chilling the cookies, uncovered, helps them to dry out a bit which is a good thing with shortbread, as it intensifies the flavor. So it's a win-win!
- A small amount of cornstarch in shortbread also helps the cookies to keep a nice shape in the oven and adds to the crisp texture.
- Depending on the water content of the butter you use, these cookies may still spread out just a bit in the oven. When they're done you can use a small metal spatula to push in any edges that have spread. This needs to be done while the cookies are very hot. Once they cool, they will set.
- The baking time for these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints is an approximate "suggested" time. Every oven is a little different so the timing will vary. Bake the cookies until you start to see them turn golden at the edges. The tops will still be fairly light-colored.
- If you're in the market for cookie sheets, I LOVE these OXO Good Grip Sheet Pans. I have had mine for years - they're sturdy and have held up really well. This set also includes a quarter sheet pan which is great for smaller baking projects. If you need a gift for a budding baker, this is a wonderful option!
- For easy cleanup, I recommend lining your sheet pan with parchment paper. I love these pre-cut sheets of parchment paper, perfectly cut to fit a standard sheet pan. These pre-cut sheets are reasonably priced, easy to store and a package will last forever - unless you're a crazy baker like me!
- I like to use a large bowl when mixing up doughs and batters by hand. I makes things much easier!
- Almond extract has a strong flavor. I like to start with less in the glaze for these Almond Shortbread Thumbprints and then add more, if needed, after I take a tiny taste.
Thought for the day:
And we have this HOPE
as an anchor for the soul,
firm and secure.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations, and ideas for variations.
- 1 cup very soft butter I used salted
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt I use Morton's
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼-½ cup jam of your choice
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3-4 teaspoons water maybe more
- ½-1 teaspoon almond extract to taste
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir the very soft butter for 15-20 seconds until nice and smooth. Add the sugar and stir again for 30-45 seconds until creamy.
Add the vanilla, almond extract and salt and stir to combine then add the cornstarch and stir until well incorporated.
Finally, stir in the flour. The dough will be crumbly at first. Keep stirring, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough starts to come together.
Scoop up the dough into 2-tablespoon portions. Roll in the palm of your hands into balls and place on the prepared sheet pan, leaving 2 inches between the cookies.
Using your pointer or middle finger, gently make an indention in the center of each cookie, rotating your finger in a small circle to enlarge the opening.
Refrigerate the dough balls for at least an hour and up to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Remove the dough balls from the refrigerator. Fill each indentation with about ½ teaspoon jam. You can use a small spoon for this or a ziplock or disposable pastry bag. Spoon the jam into the bag then make a small snip off a corner of the ziplock bag (or off the bottom of a pastry bag) and squeeze the jam into the indentions.
Bake on the prepared sheet pan for 15-20 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. The tops will still be fairly pale. Let the cookie cool on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before glazing.
Combine the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon of almond extract and 3 teaspoons of water in a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir with a fork or small whisk until combined. Add more water, ½ teaspoon at a time until the glaze will drizzle nicely when the fork or whisk is held up above the bowl. Taste and add more almond extract if desired.
Drizzle the glaze back and forth over the cooled cookies.
When serving, I like to add a small spoonful (about ¼ teaspoon or less) of extra jam to the center of each cookie (optional). A tiny herb sprig or edible flower also makes a pretty presentation.
These cookies keep well in an airtight container for 5-7 days (you might have to hide them!). They also can be frozen.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
This recipe was adapted from Land O Lakes