Best Christmas Cookie Recipe: Thumbprint Jellies

Ok, folks. I’m about to give you a little Christmas gift. I humbly offer you the following easy, delicious recipe for the PERFECT cookie.


Now, listen, I am no foodie. I am the un-foodie, the anti-foodie. I can’t cook for shit, people. I made fish sticks and tater tots for dinner last night. Capisce?

I do love to bake, though, and when I discovered this cookie recipe many years ago from my friend Stacy, it quickly became the family favorite. Why? Extremely easy, can make with kids, and well, complete crowd favorite.

If you haven’t heard of Thumbprint Jellies, they’re so named because you put your thumb where the jelly’s gonna go- and honestly, a kid’s finger is the perfect size for the imprint.

So, if you had no time to bake cookies this Christmas but want to make one homemade thing, here ya go:

Thumbprint Jellies


  • 1 lb. butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 pinches salt
  • confectioner’s sugar

Cream butter, sugar and egg yolks.

Add vanilla, salt and flour. Mix well and roll dough into small balls.

Press the center of the ball gently to make a small indentation.

Add jelly.

Use greased cookie sheet.

Bake 350 until the edges just start to brown (about 10 minutes)- they burn fast!

Experiment using different kinds of jellies and jams- jam is thicker so it doesn’t slide off the cookie as fast.

Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar right out of the oven.

Also, beware! You’ll eat dozens!

They’re perfect for giving away in tins or goodie bags to neighbors, friends and family- this recipe makes tons, at least 6 dozen or more.

You’re so welcome.

Writing this has made me totally want to go eat some- but I froze all mine- darn it.

Wonder how long they take to thaw?!



  1. Christine

    December 16, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I'm just the opposite…I love to cook & hate to bake. But every Christmas my daughter and I do the cookie thing and ugh.

    We make all kinds, but the cut-outs sucko. Why we bake 100, I dunno. We mix up all the frosting up and tint it pretty colors…get all the sprinkles and doodads ready and start piping and decorating, usually while singing a song.

    That last for about 15 cookies. The last 85 or so are lucky to get a smear and a sprinkle….and many get sandwiched together…a two-banger deluxe.

    If you close your eyes, they don't taste too bad:)

  2. Sincerely, Jenni

    December 16, 2009 at 9:14 am

    These actually sound EASY. I'm all about EASY when it comes to cooking or baking. Because I'm not good at either.

    I just printed this off, and I think I will add it to my list of holiday goodies I'll be making next week! Yay!

  3. Ordinary Housewife

    December 16, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Love those cookies! Thanks for the reminder, Mar.

  4. Jane Lively

    December 16, 2009 at 9:59 am

    you are clever and utilitarian. I love it! And Martha is human: She just has more staff than everybody else.

  5. Elizabeth Bastos

    December 16, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Can I just save myself the baking and serve the jelly on spoons?

  6. Michelle

    December 16, 2009 at 10:11 am

    I am the same. I can't cook a damn thing. But I can bake all kinds of shit!! 🙂

  7. Tracy

    December 16, 2009 at 10:50 am

    My mom used to make these when we were little. They're the best! Thanks for the recipe – I just might make a batch tonight (and then another batch tomorrow after I eat today's batch). 🙂

  8. Eatniks (Michelle)

    December 16, 2009 at 11:23 am

    These sound delish! I'll have to give them a try. As a sucky baker, they sound right up my alley.

  9. Lee

    December 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    I realize you are a self admitted anti-foodie but it looks like you put some parmesan cheese on your cookies. Just sayin' :).

  10. MaryMac

    December 16, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks to all of you for your funny and sweet comments. Except for you LEE. That doesn't look like CHEESE, does it?! Actually sprinkling parmesan instead of confectioners sugar is totally something I would do….

  11. Stephanie

    December 16, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Those look fantastic! I might just have to make some with my little man this weekend!

  12. Bugginword

    December 16, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I keep re-reading and I'm pretty sure you're missing a line or two. You know, the ones where you add in chocolate? 'Cause you couldn't possibly bother to bake something without chocolate in it, could you?

  13. Catherine

    December 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    just popped over from the bloggess 'cause I liked your comment, and found this cookie recipe, which looks (damn) delicious and also (crap) easy, so when I make them and somehow manage to eat them all before my little guy comes home from preschool, um, can i blame you?

    also: just read your other post about showering your 4-year-old with love and it sounds to me like a beautiful thing. when he's fifteen, he won't want to sleep in your bed anymore, so it's cool.

  14. Liz in Virginia

    December 16, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Thumbprint cookies — go, you! I love 'em!

    I would follow you anywhere for your pajama-clad icon alone. Glad I visited your blog again!

    Liz @

  15. Adrienzgirl

    December 16, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I already made my Jam Thumbprints. My FAVORITE COOKIE evah! LOVE soul sistah!

  16. charisse

    December 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Yummy looking cookies. I would use jam. I love easy cookies. I am starting my cookie gift bags this week and I need a good yummy cookie to add to my list. 🙂

  17. KyGirl

    December 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I have actually burned water myself

  18. Stephanie L

    December 10, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I'm so proud – what a step!

  19. Return2workmom

    December 10, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Love to cook, hate to bake. HATE IT. Apparently there's a difference between baking soda and powder — who knew?

  20. Jesus_H_Christ

    December 10, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Ah, fish sticks and tater tots. A loose translation of the original "fishes and loaves" meal that we served up, oh, so many years ago. Of course there were no Christmas cookies back then. But My mother would draw menorahs, dreidels, gelt, etc. on our unleaven bread during Hanukkah. What a nice memory.

    Bake on, Christians!

  21. marymac52169

    December 10, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Awww… my foodie mentor is proud- yay! 😉

  22. ShesAlwaysWrite

    December 10, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Perfect timing – I'm hosting a cookie baking party next weekend and was looking for an easy thumbprints recipe the kids could help with! But I might fill some with ganache (cause I'm a foodie and can't help myself). : )

  23. marymac52169

    December 10, 2010 at 10:51 am

    GANACHE!!!!!! I'm coming to your party! 😉

  24. Deedee

    December 10, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I found a great bakery downtown that makes fabulous Christmas cookies. So I'm good, thank you. (hate to bake!) But you are awesome to share your recipe, perhaps I can bribe my daughter to give them a try?

  25. marymac52169

    December 10, 2010 at 11:31 am

    what a fab idea- making the KIDS bake! 😉

  26. Carabee

    December 10, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Can't wait to sample them tomorrow night! I have little doubt that I will spend Sunday with a cookie bellyache from all of the treats I plan to consume. And it will be worth every Tums I have to take.

  27. breadnbutter69

    December 16, 2010 at 2:19 am

    With your cookies maybe I can finally kick the crap out of the girl at work- she brought a whole bunch today and thought she was cool. the rest of the people are guys… Can't wait to see their drooling smiles …

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