Thumbprint Cookies

Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies on Rack

Buttery cookies are coated in chopped nuts and filled with cranberry sauce, and then drizzled with a simple glaze for added sweetness.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (can substitute almond extract)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds or other nuts
  • 3 tablespoons canned jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons water


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together with a wooden spoon. Separate the egg and place the yolk in with the creamed butter and sugar. Place the egg white into a separate small bowl. Stir in the egg yolk into the butter and sugar mixture until fully incorporated.

4. Add the vanilla to the mixture and stir to combine. 

5. Add the flour, salt, and cinnamon into the wet ingredients and stir to combine, using your hands to incorporate the final bit of flour if necessary. 

6. Roll the dough into 12 balls approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter, place on the cookie sheet.

7. Dip each ball into the reserved egg white and then into the chopped nuts. Roll the cookie ball around in the nuts until evenly coated and place back on the cookie sheet.

8. Press your thumb at an upward angle into the center of each ball to make an indent, but stop before pressing all the way through to the bottom. If any of the cookie edges split when making the indents, press the split edges back together gently.

9. Fill each indent with about 3/4 teaspoon cranberry sauce.

10. Bake in the preheated oven for 13 - 15 minutes or until the nuts are golden brown and the bottom of the cookies are a medium brown color. Let sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then move onto a cooling rack.

11. In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and water. The glaze should be pourable but not watery. If needed, you can add 1 - 2 additional teaspoons of powdered sugar or a couple more drops of water to obtain the correct consistency. Add glaze to a small zip top bag. When the cookies are cool, snip a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle glaze over top of the cookies.


You can use your favorite type of jam or jelly instead of the cranberry sauce. If you would like to substitute homemade cranberry sauce, strain out the liquid first to prevent the cookies from getting soggy.

If you don't want to use a zip top bag to drizzle the glaze, you can just drizzle it on with a spoon instead. 

I like to store these cookies in the fridge, in an airtight container. You can also freeze the cookies. To package them for the freezer, wait until they are fully cooled and the glaze has totally set. Then, stack them in a food storage container, separating the layers with parchment paper. Alternatively, you can wrap the cookies individually in plastic wrap. These cookies keep well in the freezer for 2 - 3 months. 

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