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Thumbprint Cookies

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  Hallongrotta, is  perfect  even  for beginner bakers

Thumb Print Cookies or the Swedish Hallongrotta

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 !!!!

Thumb Print Cookies or the Swedish Hallongrotta

Here in the US  these  are  called  thumb print   cookies  and  rightly so .  You  press your  thumb  int 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.

Thumb Print Cookies or the Swedish Hallongrotta

…  There are  thumb print  cookies  and   then  there is  Hallongrotta

You could  make  it  with  many different   cookie  dough –   almost  all similar  to  shortbread.  This  s  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 !

Sometimes  I like  to put  these  in  cupcakes  paper  cups  and  bake  as  well.   This  is  to make sure that  the  cookies  do not  spread  out   more  and   rise  upwards.  But  more  often  than   not   these  go  straight  on the   cookie  sheet.

Thumb Print Cookies or the Swedish Hallongrotta

..Baked in a  hot  oven

These  cookies are   baked  at a  slightly higher  temperature   than usual – 400°F (205°C)  than  the  standard 350°F.  These  crisp up faster  and  do not  spread  as  much .  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.

… all that  buttery goodness

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  it  should  be  fine.

Feeling   up to  Christmas  baking  challenges ?  Give  these a  try.

Thumb Print Cookies or the Swedish Hallongrotta

Mine aren’t the  prettiest  of  them all , and  you can  definitely do better.   Make  these  in mini  cupcake cups  for  better  shaping.


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 .
I usually double  the   recipe  and  freeze  one batch .   They  freeze  well  up to  3 months ,  though  it  rarely  last  that  long.

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 or the Swedish Hallongrotta

Thumb Print Cookies

By Syama
Hallongrotta  are popular  Swedish  cookies.   The  crumbly cookie  is  mad e with  a simple  shortbread  dough.  Raspberry  jam   in the   center  adds a nice  visual  appeal to these  cookies.  This  is  an easy cookie  to make   even  for  beginners. 
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, Swedish
Servings 12 Pieces
Calories 135 kcal


  • 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.
This  recipe  is  estimated  to make 12  cookies.  The  calorie/cookie  is  approximate. 


Calories: 135kcal

Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.

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Try these  other  cookies  too ..

Thumb Print Cookies or the Swedish Hallongrotta

Originally published  in Dec 2015.

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4 thoughts on “Thumbprint Cookies”

  1. 4 stars
    Very good but at the end you can only make nine small sized cookies. Otherwise the cookies are really good. They are very good in vinallia ice cream sandwiches!

    • Hi Abby,
      lol .. I guess I make these much smaller than you do. I started baking these with the kids and the portions were chosen to fit their tiny palms and thumbs. Next time make a double batch or triple. The dough freezes well, so no worries about making it all in one go either.

      Happy baking,
      – Syama.


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