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Hazelnut Thumbprints

To toast the nuts for these cookies, place them on a rimmed baking sheet in an oven heated to 350 degrees for 10 minutes; then transfer them to a clean kitchen towel and rub them until the skins come off. Grind them in a food processor.

  • Servings: 24
  • Yield: Makes about 2 dozen
Hazelnut Thumbprints

Source: Holiday Cookies 2005, Special Issue Holiday 2005


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated, each part lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted skinned hazelnuts, ground
  • Strawberry jam, for filling


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put butter and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla, and mix well. Reduce speed to low. Add flour and salt, and mix until just combined. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours.

  2. Stir together toasted hazelnuts and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; dip balls in egg white, then in hazelnut-sugar mixture. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press down center of each ball with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven; press down centers again with the end of a wooden spoon. Return to oven. Bake cookies until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes more. Let cool slightly on sheets on wire racks. Fill each center with jam.

Reviews (32)

  • weasel_15cool 16 Mar, 2015

    I made these last night and they were great. I used all of the ingredients and the exact measures and made about 25 cookies. They did not end up flat but the balls I made were a bit smaller than 1 inch. I cooled them for about 5 min and added Nutella to one half and a plum preserve to the other. Honestly, the plum was better. I think that using a slightly sower jam makes the cookies better because they are very sweet and Nutella makes them even sweeter.

  • Raven2255 12 Dec, 2012

    As the previous poster posted, a 1 inch ball makes a HUGE cookie. If you want a thumbprint the right size, reduce the cookie balls by half - you also get more cookies. Also - warm the jelly in the microwave before filling them and you get perfect fills =)

  • csw2008 21 Dec, 2011

    I have the answer to why the cookies can be flat. You need to make the ball very small. I'd say half the size they suggest. This yields the correct size thumbprint cookie, and they are nice and full, not flat at all. If you roll the ball too large, they start to get flat. Keep them nice and small, and no problems! Enjoy they are yummy. I used toasted walnuts instead of the hazelnuts.

  • fanny ali 15 Nov, 2011

    These are the best thumbprint cookies ever! Just a couple of tips - fill the cookies with the jam after the first 10 minutes of baking after you make the indentation with back of wooden spoon. Baking the jam results in a better taste & easier to store. I also make batches of these cookies & freeze to give as Christmas gifts packaged in cello bags.

  • Misssi 30 Nov, 2010

    How long can you store? If I bake this week may I store to Xmas?

  • Madhi 7 Jun, 2010

    I just got done baking a batch. I cut the recipe in half because my mixer is broken so a little dough would be easier to mix by hand. I didn't have hazelnuts at home so I omitted that step. I also added a pinch of baking soda because was afraid they would be flat since I mixed them by hand. I got fifteen 2" (once they came out) perfect cookies and filled them with strawberry jam. These were crispy and buttery and amazing. GREAT RECIPE! Will be making them again!

  • christinabrady 31 Jan, 2010

    great cookie! highly recommended! dont listen to the negative comments these were fantastic!!

  • kathycurrentfamilysingerknitter 30 Nov, 2009

    Also, use FRESH flour and ingredients. Don't use year old flour!!!

  • kathycurrentfamilysingerknitter 30 Nov, 2009

    maybe add a tsp of baking powder or baking soda so the cookies won't be flat.

  • summerlange 31 Mar, 2009

    Made these for the first time and they are wonderful. I was a little afraid they might not turn out after reading some of the comments, but they came out just like the recipe said. Next time I am definitely using Nutella. These are going on the must have list for Christmas cookies.

  • Neenie31 19 Dec, 2008

    Not good. These cookies ended up flat....I made one batch with hazelnut that tasted TERRIBLE. Almonds are much better but the dough does not hold the thum print, you will definetly get flat cookies.

  • koldson 15 Dec, 2008

    I was dissappointed in this recipe. I followed the recipe and ended up with flat cookies. While they are soft and tasty they are far from Thumbprints. It is possible that the difference in my elevation. I live in a high elevation which can create problems. I dipped half the cookie in white chocolate they are very tasty just not the nice little round balls filled with jam I was looking for.

  • smeron 18 Nov, 2008

    I like the idea of these but the recipe has issues. First, as another reviewer pointed out, the dough is the consistency of crumbs (would've been helpful to point that out; I thought I did something wrong.) I was still able to roll it into balls after it was refrigerated. The 1/2 cup of hazelnuts called for was way more than I was able to use. I used raspberry preserves and apricot jam - neither of which tasted quite right. I think a Hershey's kiss or Nutella would work better.

  • shirleysbubbie 11 Nov, 2008

    I do a lot of cookie baking and these were not one of my favorite. When mixed all ingredients, dough was like crumbs. The egg yolk wasn't enough. Dough was dry after 2 hrs in refrig. and very difficult to roll into balls. I wouldn't try this recipe again.

  • petlover 6 Nov, 2008

    My mom has been baking these for at least the past 2 or 3 years as one of her Christmas cookie recipes and she stores these and all her cookies in closed tins or plastic storage containers between wax paper and they have always lasted through the advent season and beyond.They never get rancid or spoil in any way. I will say that she does keep the closed containers out on a three season porch or even in the basement where it is cooler but certainly not as cold as a refrigerater.

  • chairmanmao 6 Nov, 2008

    Cathie - I've made these with Hershey's kisses. The recipe I used called for baking them for 8 min. then taking them out and pressing the kisses into the indentation and baking for another 5-7 min. The kisses keep their shape, but soften up.

  • Lindajkw 6 Nov, 2008

    The cookies keep well for 2-3 weeks in an container with wax paper between the layers in the freezer.

  • Lindajkw 6 Nov, 2008

    I will try for the 3rd time to finish my comment:
    Filling the cookies before baking them makes the jam thicker

  • kitkath 6 Nov, 2008

    i bake them 2 weeks before christmas and they are fine...i fill them after baking and let them dry overnight and put paper between layers to store them.

  • kitkath 6 Nov, 2008

    i bake them 2 weeks before christmas and they are fine...i fill them after baking and let them dry overnight and put paper between layers to store them.

  • kitkath 6 Nov, 2008

    i bake them 2 weeks before christmas and they are fine...i fill them after baking and let them dry overnight and put paper between layers to store them.

  • kitkath 6 Nov, 2008

    i bake them 2 weeks before christmas and they are fine...i fill them after baking and let them dry overnight and put paper between layers to store them.

  • Lindajkw 6 Nov, 2008

    comment continued....

  • Lindajkw 6 Nov, 2008

    I've been making these cookies for over 40 years, but I fill the the centers with jam before baking. The jam gets baked

  • 2-211 5 Nov, 2008

    These cookies sound delicious, but the part about them being able to be stored for 2 days?????? I was going to try making them for Christmas, but I don't want to start baking Dec. 23rd...Anyone make and keep them longer than this????

  • ChantalfromCanada 5 Nov, 2008

    Four years ago, I baked for Christmas more than 160 cookies like this one for family and friends. Instead of hazelnut, I used pecans. It keeps well in the freezer. Wonderfull with a cup of coffee or tea. Try to eat only it one ! FUN FACT - When I was a child, my mother was used to make them too, back then we called it "precious cookies". My mother was used to say that these cookies were precious because pecans were expensive ... we are talking here more than 30 years ago.

  • gacrafter 5 Nov, 2008

    I think instead of the hazelnuts that I might roll the cookies in coconut and maybe some pineapple jam in the thumbpring

  • AlexandraB 5 Nov, 2008

    I love the Nutella idea; does anyone have an idea to get the Nutella to harden a little so there is not a gooey puddle in the middle (making them more transportable/stackable)? Maybe mixing in some melted chocolate, which would harden as it cooled?

  • mrzangoor 5 Nov, 2008

    these sound so nice. Am goin 2 try them.

  • unclesgirl2 5 Nov, 2008

    Wonder if you could add a Hersey Kiss in he middle instead of Jam? If it was done while they are still very hot. Maybe the chocolate would melt flat even wih the top of each thumbprint! I think I'll try.

  • LauraHurn 5 Nov, 2008

    Brendagj, your suggestion is BRILLIANT! Nutella with hazelnuts...omgosh is that rich

  • brendagj 5 Nov, 2008

    Instead of strawberry jam, try using Nutella instead, yummm

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