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Thumbprint Cookies Or Hallongrottor

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

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

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.

Thumb Print Cookies or the Swedish Hallongrotta

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.

Baking Powder

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.

Thumb Print Cookies or the Swedish Hallongrotta

Baking Temperatures

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.

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.

Making Ahead

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!

A plate of cookies with one cookie partially bitten off.

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. 
4.50 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, Swedish
Servings 12 Pieces
Calories 135 kcal


  • 1 C + 2 Tbsp 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: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.

Tried this recipe?Mention @Oventales or tag #Oventales on Instagram

Try these  other  cookies  too ..

Originally published  in Dec 2015.

Recipe Rating

Abby gold staff

Thursday 12th of March 2020

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!


Friday 20th of March 2020

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.


Sunday 23rd of December 2018

This is my granny's favourite recipe! Everytime when I come to visit her she cooks these cookies. Their taste brings me to my childhood))