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Aunt Maggie's Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Inside, butter's the key to fast, five-ingredient cookies; outside, ruby-red jam dazzles. If the dough is too soft to shape into balls, refrigerate it for a few minutes, until firm enough to handle; the cookies will spread as they bake, so leave plenty of room between them.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 54
Aunt Maggie's Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Source: Everyday Food, July/August 2007


  • 24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 cup jam (any type)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg, and beat until completely combined. With mixer on low, add flour, and mix just until incorporated.

  2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons each). Place on baking sheets, at least 3 inches apart.

  3. Moisten thumb with water, and gently press the center of each ball, making an indentation about 1/2 inch wide and inch deep. In microwave or on stove, heat jam until liquefied; spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into each indentation. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. If storing, place in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.

Reviews (50)

  • laracat0801 9 Feb, 2014

    I didn't have unsalted butter so I used salted butter instead so I also didn't have to add 1/4 teaspoon salt. It tastes so great I love them!!

  • Cookincat74321 2 Dec, 2013

    I love this recipe, I usually make it around Xmas a lot. I'll use three different colors of jam (like apricot, raspberry, and blueberry) and they look so pretty no one believes I didn't buy them at the the store. And the cookies are so, so delicious AND easy. I do add 1/4 tsp. salt like many other people have, but other than that the recipe is perfect, I've never had any issues with it being finicky.

  • sdgolden 13 Aug, 2013

    These are simple and buttery cookies. The recipe comes together easily. I used my homemade peach preserves for the filling. Wonderful!!!!!! This recipe is a keeper for me!!!

  • Bethany Primrose 15 Feb, 2013

    I also added 1/4 tsp of salt the second time I made these, and liked them MUCH better. (I also didn't need near 3/4 cup of jam, probably didn't even use a full 1/2 cup.) Used strawberry, though I think I'll try some raspberry next time.

    It is a fast, incredibly easy recipe and everyone (adults and kids) have absolutely loved them.

  • Brigid Keely 1 Feb, 2013

    I added a bit of salt (1/4 tsp?) but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. The cookies turned out perfectly, no issues with the jam overflowing or shrinking/evaporating. Very tasty cookies. I had some jam left over, though. In the future I will probably only heat up 1/2 c of jam. If I need more, I'll heat up more. NOTE: I found I had to reheat some of the jam. If your jam doesn't "flow" easily, reheat it.

  • Chelsea Younkin Williams 9 Dec, 2012


  • grneyz05 4 Dec, 2012

    Sounds easy....

  • grneyz05 4 Dec, 2012

    Enter your review...

  • Tracetta 21 Nov, 2012


  • virginiamfc 14 Mar, 2012

    here are called "pepas" and filled with quince.

  • Bvstudio 3 May, 2011

    My first time making butter cookies. I would follow the suggestion to bake half-way then fill next time. I followed the recipe and there was an evaporation line from the jam when it cooked for 20 minutes. I also would make them slightly smaller to get 50 some cookies instead of the 35 I made, since they are so buttery. I used strawberry jam. Seems like any flavor would work.

  • desertbanshee 20 Jul, 2010

    Pre-baking the cookie then redoing the depression worked like a charm. The butter can't be too room temp or melty. A little firm is good.

  • Lilydale 19 Jul, 2010

    Perfect just as recipe states, plum jam filling is delicious especially if just a little almond essence is added to cookie dough

  • bakingbella 17 May, 2010

    I baked these for 10 minutes BEFORE adding the jam, then added jam and baked an additional 9 minutes. Baking with the jam in, as opposed to adding when it finishes cooling, makes the cookies and jam blend so nicely. They turned out wonderfully and look very pretty!

  • AlisonN 21 Dec, 2009

    Disappointed in this cookie. The batter spread all over and made a mess. What a waste of 3 sticks of butter...and my homemade blueberry jam. Ugh.

  • lindastratford 22 Nov, 2008

    These are delicious, will definately make them every Christmas. Oh can can someone tell me why they are only good for 2 days? I have had mine around for 6 days so far and they are still ok. Maybe it is the jam?

  • Luis_Faust 25 Sep, 2008

    I do this all the time now and everyone simply loves it!

  • jwhattersley 9 Sep, 2008

    Oh, and I got about 65 cookies using a 1" disher for this recipe.

  • jwhattersley 2 Sep, 2008

    Yep, 1 stick of butter is 1/2 cup.

  • Brandyeyes 21 Aug, 2008

    When a recipe calls for a stick of butter, is this equal to 1/2 cup ?

  • srly 19 Aug, 2008

    How many does it make??

  • kupatea 8 Aug, 2008

    My Mom and I made these cookies when I was in grade school in the late '40s'. We used whatever jam was in the refrigerator baked with the cookies. Also, made filled cookies that were rolled out, jam spooned onto one half and then the other half of the cookie dough lifted over to cover the jam. The jam sealed in, the cookies were baked until light golden brown. I wonder why readers don't re-read recipes before inquiring about measures and weights, regardless of their locality.

  • 1Toffy 7 Aug, 2008

    jansen you are correct. Dieters measuring food amounts have them, and I am sure many others but most of the regular folk do not use kitchen scales. That is why our measure is always cups and spoons. It simplifies the cooking for everyone. Our 1 stick of butter is as someone else said 113 grams or 4 ounces.
    Our Manufacturers have added the gram/liter weights to all our packaged items now and we are still learning about European weights. However completely conforming is a long way off.

  • jnapier 7 Aug, 2008

    kitchen scales....what are those? Lol, i haven't had any kitchen scales in years, but I have measuring spoons, cups, etc, in all types and sizes.

  • fancee 7 Aug, 2008

    Hi... I buy unsalted butter - 4 sticks to a lb in London Ontario Canada

  • jansen 7 Aug, 2008

    For the metric amongst us - a stick of butter is 113 grams. In Australia butter comes in 250 gram packs. The conversions are easy to find online on recipe conversion sites. I have read that the reason many US recipes use cup/tablesoon amounts in recipes is that kitchen scales are not a regular item in every american kitchen, is there any truth to that ?

  • destined 6 Aug, 2008

    Foriegn cookie lovers please forgive some of the comments of those people who commented on the sticks of butter. Lack of exposure to the world outside the USA may have caused them not to know the entire world does not use "sticks" of butter. Thankfully the web gives us the opportunity to gain exposure to other cultures, countries, and ideas outside of our own.

  • decadentdesserts4u 6 Aug, 2008

    would appreciate having # of cookies in batch noted in the recipe, specifically under prep. area Thanks!

  • janellebee 6 Aug, 2008

    OMG! These are the same cookies my mum used to make for me as a kid back in Australia!! We always called them "Jam Drops" and they were my absolute favorite (you kids will love the raw dough too - delish!). It's great to see after 40-odd years these are still baked. Hint: if you have long nails and dont want to use your thumb, use the back of a small teaspoon to make the indent.

  • Sockey 6 Aug, 2008

    I was wondering if peanut butter dough could be substituted, making them peanut butter

  • cookielady66 6 Aug, 2008

    To answer Bevoneill, each stick of butter is 1/4 pound (4 ounces). Hope this helps.

  • cookielady66 6 Aug, 2008

    To answer Bevoneill, each stick of butter is 1/4 pound (4 ounces). Hope this helps.

  • Bevoneill 6 Aug, 2008

    Hi I'm from South Africa and love receiving your Cookie recipes please could you give me the weight of a stick of butter. Thanks again

  • Bevoneill 6 Aug, 2008

    Hi I'm from South Africa and love receiving your Cookie recipes please could you give me the weight of a stick of butter. Thanks again

  • jeanob14 6 Aug, 2008

    The recipe makes 52 according to the magazine (although I only got 36 cookies myself)! These are delicious with Fig jam too.

  • Henrie 6 Aug, 2008

    Buy the butter in quarter sticks not the solid 1 lb kind. The individual sticks are all marked. And Martha did tell you how many quarters sticks to use.

  • NewGloucester 6 Aug, 2008

    A thimble really takes all the fun out of it, especially with children large

  • mpegm 6 Aug, 2008

    This is th best cooky to use up any kind of leftover jam! We also roll ours in nuts - whatever we have around. walnuts, almonds, hazlenuts, even peanuts.

  • Nan9194 6 Aug, 2008

    A thimble dipped in flour makes the centers uniform in size. And is much easier and quicker.

  • Nan9194 6 Aug, 2008

    A thimble dipped in flour makes the centers uniform in size. And is much easier and quicker.

  • Nan9194 6 Aug, 2008

    My grandmother taught both my mother and I to make these years ago and we also roll them in finely ground walnuts for added taste and texture. They are a must for wedding showers and a Christmas at our house. But you need to make a couple of batches as they do not last long around my friends and family. One of the easiest 'fancy' cookies to make!

  • yappless 6 Aug, 2008

    Thankyou cwelch
    Canadians do not buy their butter in sticks It is a solid one pound.
    I always struggle with how much to use.

  • Frannika 6 Aug, 2008

    I've made thumbprint cookies since I was a little girl, and I've always filled them only AFTER I baked them. I melt the jam or jelly a little in the microwave and then fill them as they come out of the oven. They look beautiful, and no overflowing!

  • cwelch 6 Aug, 2008

    There are 8 tablespoons in one stick of butter. One stick of butter is 1/2 cup of butter. 1/3 of a cup of butter is 5 1/3 tablespoons.

  • dlmartin 6 Aug, 2008

    Please take time to look at your butter sticks. They show you exactly how many Tbl are in a stick, then 24 divide by that. Hmmm! A little counting and the problem is solved. :)

  • RoMaSq 6 Aug, 2008

    I always have a problem with making thumbprint cookies with the jam melting too much and spilling out over the cookie. Does melting it first reallly help?

  • bianca_lissette 6 Aug, 2008

    Why is the butter measurement in tablespoons and sticks instead of a weight measurement? I really dont fancy measuring out 24 tablespoons of butter individually!

  • MBukowski 6 Aug, 2008

    I would like to make a suggestion: please add how many cookies it makes. I store the recipes by amount it makes. It comes in handy when I need to bake for a large group or a cookies exchange. Thank you MB

  • red853 6 Aug, 2008

    I think I will make these today with some of my homemade raspberry jam, but I am going to roll the cookie balls in chopped nuts first.

  • PinkAlligator 20 Apr, 2008

    These are wonderful! I took 1/2 the dough and rolled the balls in sugar (was not necessary). The other half I dunked into an egg wash then rolled in coconut. So good. Apricot jam is lovely with them both.

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