These crispy, crunchy, nutty delights are perfect for the holidays.

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Recipe Summary

Servings:
24
Yield:
Makes about 2 dozen
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • 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.

Cook's Notes

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.

Reviews (33)

58 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 14
  • 4 star values: 19
  • 3 star values: 13
  • 2 star values: 6
  • 1 star values: 6
Rating: 5 stars
11/23/2018
This is a really simple recipe, and it comes out well each time. I do tweak it a little, though. 1. If I don't have two hours to refrigerate the dough, I'll put it in the freezer for about 45 minutes so the dough stiffens 2. I put the jam in after the first baking. The jam becomes more like a paste and doesn't spill anywhere when the cookie is eaten. 3. Even if I don't have hazelnuts, I still use the egg white wash to put a shine on the cookies.
Rating: 4 stars
03/16/2015
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.
Rating: Unrated
12/12/2012
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 =)
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Rating: Unrated
12/21/2011
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/15/2011
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/30/2010
How long can you store? If I bake this week may I store to Xmas?
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Rating: Unrated
06/07/2010
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!
Rating: Unrated
01/31/2010
great cookie! highly recommended! dont listen to the negative comments these were fantastic!!
Rating: Unrated
11/30/2009
Also, use FRESH flour and ingredients. Don't use year old flour!!!
Rating: Unrated
11/30/2009
maybe add a tsp of baking powder or baking soda so the cookies won't be flat.
Rating: Unrated
03/31/2009
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.
Rating: Unrated
12/19/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
12/15/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/18/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/11/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/06/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/06/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/06/2008
The cookies keep well for 2-3 weeks in an container with wax paper between the layers in the freezer.
Rating: Unrated
11/06/2008
I will try for the 3rd time to finish my comment: Filling the cookies before baking them makes the jam thicker
Rating: Unrated
11/06/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/06/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/06/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/06/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/06/2008
comment continued....
Rating: Unrated
11/06/2008
I've been making these cookies for over 40 years, but I fill the the centers with jam before baking. The jam gets baked
Rating: Unrated
11/05/2008
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????
Rating: Unrated
11/05/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/05/2008
I think instead of the hazelnuts that I might roll the cookies in coconut and maybe some pineapple jam in the thumbpring
Rating: Unrated
11/05/2008
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?
Rating: Unrated
11/05/2008
these sound so nice. Am goin 2 try them.
Rating: Unrated
11/05/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/05/2008
Brendagj, your suggestion is BRILLIANT! Nutella with hazelnuts...omgosh is that rich
Rating: Unrated
11/05/2008
Instead of strawberry jam, try using Nutella instead, yummm