almond thumbprint cookies with jam

I’m in upstate New York for the month of July with extended family, and one of the joys of that (aside from cooler weather, doggie cuddles, and lake swimming!) is staying just 45 minutes from my grandmother, Cynthia, who is now 102! She’s currently in assisted living, but with both of us vaccinated, I’ve been able to visit. Last week I couldn’t see her because of a virtual class during daylight hours, so I’m going to see her today, and I tried a new recipe for jam thumbprint cookies to brighten up a rainy week.


Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Jam (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)




4 ounces almonds (any kind), ground, OR almond meal
2/3 cup sugar, plus extra 1/3 cup, for rolling dough
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 generous teaspoon vanilla extract
Jam, any kind (I made basic strawberry jam over Memorial Day, so I used that)




If using whole or chopped almonds, grind them into a fine powder (I do this either in a food processor or a coffee grinder). Add almond meal/ground almonds, sugar, flour, and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in butter, egg, and vanilla extract until incorporated. Scoop and mold dough into a large ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.


Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Move ball of dough back to countertop and uncover. Scoop tablespoon-sized portions of dough into your hand, squeeze to help the dough adhere, and roll between your palms into a smooth ball. Drop each ball of dough into small bowl filled with the remaining sugar. Rotate/roll until dough is coated on all sides, and place on one of the baking sheets. Because you’ll be chilling the dough one more time before baking, you don’t need to worry about spacing at this point. Discard remaining sugar.



Make an indentation in center of each ball using your thumb, index finger, or the rounded end of a wooden spoon. If dough cracks, let it warm a little more, or nudge it back into place. Return the cookies to the refrigerator (20-25 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) to chill.



Move racks to the middle of your oven and preheat to 350°F. Take cookies out of the fridge or freezer and fill with jam up to the edges of the indentation. If jam is too dense or stiff, put 2-3 tablespoons in a small bowl in the microwave for 15 seconds. Warm jam should be easier to work with! Space filled cookies 2 inches apart, moving some to the second baking sheet.


Bake 11-12 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheets. Makes 24-36 cookies, depending on size.


After never making them before in my life, I’ve made jam thumbprint cookies twice this summer. The first time I made them, I used a recipe that called for all flour and additional corn starch. While they looked fabulous and disappeared quickly at the party I took them to, I didn’t love the taste of so much starch. Naturally, I went looking for an alternative. Deb of Smitten Kitchen posts reliably good recipes, so I adapted hers a bit for my own needs. The result may be more rustic and less perfect, but they taste MUCH better than my first effort, and they melt in your mouth. If you don’t mind cracks here and there in your cookies, these will be a hit! They’re still visually stunning, and they taste delicious!


This recipe post is part of Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg of The Intrepid Reader. Learn more about Weekend Cooking here.


Tina said...

I'm so glad you can visit with your grandmother. The swimming and dog cuddles sound graet and I LOVE almond cookies. Looks great!

Mae Travels said...

How great to see your grandmother! I hope she was able to share your cookies.

best... mae at

Beth F said...

Yay for visits. I too LOVE almond cookies... Now I have a craving. :)

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