A timeless favorite, jam thumbprints are a staple of bake sales and cookie swaps. Their jewel-like centers make them an eye-catching option, and the contrast between the fruity, plush jam and a rich, buttery, crisp cookie makes them hard to resist. Recipes traditionally call for plunging your thumb into balls of dough to make room for the filling, hence the name. We kept our thumbs out of our thumbprints and instead used the bottom of a greased 1-teaspoon measure to ensure even craters. When we added the jam to the indentations before baking, the sugars caramelized and the centers became sticky and leathery; but jam added after baking was too loose. After a bit of trial and error, we discovered the key to success: reshaping the thumbprints halfway through baking. Re-forming the indentations before the cookies were completely set meant we could fill them with a generous amount of jam, and adding the jam partway through baking resulted in a filling that was married to the cookie and set just enough. Any seedless jam can be used.
- Yield: 48 cookies
- ½ cup seedless jam
- 2¼ cups (11¼ ounces) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 0.66 cup (4⅔ ounces) sugar
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Fill small zipper-lock bag with jam and set aside. Whisk flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in medium bowl. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Add cream cheese, egg, and vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Reduce speed to low, slowly add flour mixture, and mix until incorporated.
- Working with 1½ teaspoons dough at a time, roll into balls and space them 1½ inches apart on prepared sheets. Using greased rounded 1-teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each dough ball.
- Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until just beginning to set and lightly browned around edges, about 10 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and gently reshape indentation in center of each cookie with greased rounded 1-teaspoon measure. Snip small corner off zipper-lock bag and carefully fill each indentation with about ½ teaspoon jam. Rotate sheet and continue to bake until lightly golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before serving.