Baking Christmas cookies is a long standing tradition for me. Not only do I have an annual cookie bake with my family but, for many years I also conducted a mini cookie exchange with Amy, a close friend and fellow baker. We kept this cookie exchange between just the two of us because we both have very high standards. Let’s just say that years latter we are still teased by some of our friends for not letting them into our tight knit circle.
Come the holiday season Amy and I would each make two kinds of cookies to exchange. That way we ended up with four different cookies. After the first few years we pretty much stuck to the same four recipes. One that I always made was Raspberry Almond Thumbprints. They are a favorite of both of our families. As a matter of fact, Amy’s kids started asking in early December when the Raspberry Almond Thumbprints would be delivered.
This recipe also happens to be one of the most requested recipes at Land O’Lakes. With the glistening raspberry centers it makes a beautiful addition to any cookie platter.
To get started combine the butter, sugar and almond extract in a large bowl. Beat the ingredients until creamy.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour. Beat until well mixed.
Form the dough into a ball and wrap it with plastic food wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or you can do this a day or two ahead). When you are ready to bake the cookies heat your oven to 350° F. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Make an indentation in the center of each cookie using your thumb. Don’t worry if the edges of the dough crack or split slightly.
If you prefer, you can make the indentations with the back of a ¼ teaspoon.
Fill each indentation with about ¼ teaspoon of raspberry jam. Feel free to try other kinds of jam as well. Apricot works nicely but, raspberry is by far my favorite!
Bake the cookies for 14 to 18 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned. Be careful to not over bake the cookies. Watch them closely the last few minutes. Let them stand 1 minute on the cookie sheet once you remove them from the oven. Then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Once cooled stir together the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl. Add just enough water to reach a glazing consistency. If you add too much you can always add a little more powdered sugar. A wire whisk works well for stirring but, don’t get too vigorous or you will have tiny air bubbles in your glaze.
Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies. I did some with a spoon but found I was getting a few “globs” of glaze.
So then I switched to a plastic food bag. Just spoon the glaze into the bag, twist the bag to force the glaze into one corner and then snip off a very tiny piece of the bag in that corner. You have just created your own pastry bag. I had much better control of the glaze this way.
The buttery shortbread tastes extra special with the sweet addition of raspberry jam. These are always the first to go from my holiday cookie platter. I usually make a double recipe of these thumbprints so they make it to Christmas. J
Which kind of cookie is the first to go at your house? Please take a moment to rate and review this recipe.
Scones anyone? On Monday Julie will share a special scone recipe her family has come to love.
Becky Wahlund is the Director of the Test Kitchen for Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz™ Blog.