Holiday baking has officially started! I am much more of a cook than a baker, but both make me incredibly happy. Cookies always seem like the most holiday-y of all the holiday treats to me. This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite cookie recipes from my childhood. Do all my other 90s people out there remember Beanie Babies? I had a Beanie Babies cookbook when I was younger and my favorite recipe in it was thumbprint cookies. I loved those cookies and always make them with raspberry or blackberry jam.
December’s impending arrival must have made my nostalgia kick in, because I suddenly wanted to make these adorable cookies again so badly. So I took to Pinterest to find a recipe for the cookies but kicked up my filling game a bit! These cookies were filled with the traditional raspberry preserves, pumpkin butter, and cooked down apples. You could take the filling a million directions- I think another great option would be lemon curd. As such, these have been dubbed Mix and Match Thumbprint Cookies. Fill ’em with whatever your heart desires.
Side note: I went on a mission to get pumpkin butter from Trader Joe’s (JUST pumpkin butter…) and wound up leaving with pumpkin butter AND pumpkin cookie butter… not to mention a host of other things. Pumpkin cookie butter is incredible. Especially slathered on a warm Belgian waffle.
These cookies are really similar to shortbread. They’re melt-in-your-mouth buttery and not too sweet. I kept doing double takes at the recipe looking for baking powder or soda, but there really isn’t any. Just have faith. (<<< the not super experienced baker in me is showing)
I would even take this opportunity to use some Thanksgiving leftovers and fill these cookies with cranberry sauce. Or if you have family members that love the homemade gifts, use the stockpile of jams, jellies, and butters you’re likely about to receive.
Happy holiday baking!!! What’s your favorite thing to bake this time of year?
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- ½ powdered sugar, plus ¼ cup more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup various fillings (I used pumpkin butter, raspberry preserves, and cooked down apples)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter until lighter in color and fluffy. Add the ½ cup powdered sugar and beat for an additional 1-2 minutes, until incorporated and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and salt, scraping down bowl as needed. Switch to low and gently mix in the flour, until just combined. Don't over mix.
- Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets. Press down the center of each ball with a spoon to make a slight depression.
- Fill cookie depressions with preserves.
- Bake 15-17 minutes or until just golden brown and puffy, but don't overbake. Let cool a few minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to finish cooling on wire rack.
- When cookies are completely cooled, dust with confectioners' sugar. Cookies can be kept in airtight container at room temp for a few days.