This is one of the easiest cookies to make. A simple shortbread dough and some jam makes for an extremely delicious combination. This thumbprint cookie, the Swedish Hallongrottor, is perfect even for beginner bakers
It is the cookie baking season – the store bought ones just aren’t enough. Somehow it does not feel right until you bake some fresh. Even when pressed for time you can’t control the urge to run to the refrigerator section of the stores and grab the slice and bake box of cookie dough! Yes, it is Holiday Season!
I don’t make cookies often – but come December I too whip up a few batches. Of all the cookies that I make this is my favorite – Thumbprint cookies. It is cute, easy and the recipe is so simple that you can memorize it easily !!!!
What are Thumbprint Cookies
Here in the US these are called thumb print cookies and rightly so . You press your thumb into the cookie dough to create that perfect sized indentation to hold some jam!
My kids have been helping me make this as soon as they were old enough stand up and push their fingers into the dough! I am not sure who had more fun with it – I or them. Filling the indentations with jam was an exciting , not to say messy , part of it all.
Then There is Hallongrottor
You could make thumbprint cookies with many different cookie dough – almost all similar to shortbread. This one of the simplest of all – the Swedish version Hallongrotta. Hallongrotta literally translates to raspberry cave and indeed it is . Make a small cave in the cookie dough and add the raspberry jam to fill it up!
Ingredients For Thumbprint Cookie
The cookie dough recipe is very standard. There is flour, butter, sugar, vanilla and a little leavening for added insurance.
Use all purpose flour in this recipe. You can even get away with bread flour. The trick is to work the flour just enough and no any more. If you work the dough a lot the gluten strands will develop and the cookie will become chewy rather than crumbly.
The recipe asks for unsalted butter – but strictly speaking one could get away with most of the salted butters in the market. Unless the butter tastes salty to the point of brine, it should be fine.
There is a touch of baking powder in the cookie dough. You could opt not to use that, but it does add to the flakiness of the cookie.
Getting the Shape Right
If the cookie spreads out a lot when baking it will not look so exciting. To prevent this often times bakers place the dough balls in cupcake or paper cups and bake. This ensures that the cookies do not spread a lot but rather rises upwards.
When working with cold dough it is not much of an issue. So more often than not I bake these straight on the cookie sheet. But if you notice that your cookie is spreading out more or that the cookie dough is softening a lot then paper cups are something to consider as well as chilling the unbaked cookies to firm up a bit more.
These cookies are baked at a slightly higher temperature than usual – 400°F (205°C) than the standard 350°F. The higher temperatures help the cookies crisp up faster and do not spread as much.
Feeling up to Christmas baking challenges ? Give these a try.
- Lucia Rolls – The Swedish Saffron Buns
- Not Your Average Fruit Cake
- Pretty Fried Treat From Goa – Kul Kul
- Semolina Cake – Baath Cake
Mine aren’t the prettiest of them all , and you can definitely do better. Make these in mini cupcake cups for better shaping.
The cookie are best eaten fresh or within a day or two. The dough on the other hand can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Take it out when ready to bake.
- Add chocolate bits or candied peels instead of jam for a different look .
- Instead of Vanilla , use almond or lemon flavoring for an interesting flavor twist.
Here is the recipe for Hallongrotta. It is a small batch making about a dozen cookies. I would advice you to DOUBLE or even TRIPLE!
Thumb Print Cookies
- 1 C All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 C Butter, Unsalted 1 Stick
- 1/4 C Fine Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/8 Tsp Salt
- 3 -4 Tbsp Raspberry Jam
- Bring the butter to room temperature .
- Take the butter and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until nice and creamy . Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times while creaming. Add the vanilla and mix well .
- Add baking powder and salt to the flour. Sift and mix well. Add the flour mix to the creamed butter in batches. Mix until the flour is incorporated into the butter. Don’t forget to scrape the sides .
- Form into log. (Notes) Cover tightly with a plastic and refrigerate/ freeze if using later.
- Divide the log into 12 equal portions. Form each portion into a ball. User your thumb to make a deep indentation on the ball.
- Fill about 1/2 tsp jam in the depressions. If the shaped dough feel too soft or spreads – refrigerate until it feels firm (30 minutes to 1 hour).
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F (205°C).
- Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or baking mat .Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. HT e cookie is done when the edges begin to look golden brown.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes . Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.Store in an airtight container.
- This recipe can easily be doubled.
- Start with room temperature (softened) butter.
- If the dough seems too soft , refrigerate to harden it before proceeding
- Don’t be shy when making the thumb impression. Make an indentation that is almost all the way to the bottom.
Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.
Try these other cookies too ..
Originally published in Dec 2015.