Lemon-Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

lemon-pecan thumbprint 3

My hand unexpectedly volunteered to host a get-together for my Bible Study Fellowship group last week. It was the motivation I needed to finish decorating my house for Christmas.

But I was feeling lazy and incompetent about doing my tree. It’s not terribly big or fancy–I just wasn’t in the mood and I don’t usually think it looks all that good when I’m finished.

Then Superman Rob came to the rescue.

My daughter-in-law’s brother does a fabulous job decorating homes (interiors only) for Christmas. Part of our deal was the promise of a lemony treat.

So I set to work on these Lemon Pecan Thumbprint Cookies. They are a variation of my husband’s favorite Christmas Thumbprint Cookies. I mixed the pecans into the dough instead of coating the cookie to save time, used lemon curd instead of frosting in the center and sprinkled with powdered sugar after baking.

My husband and my sister, visiting from Alabama, raided my freezer a couple nights ago looking for these cookies. After eating several, they said, “Be sure to tell everybody these are really good.”

I said, “Thank-you. Get out of my freezer.”

Paula’s Recipe Notes:

  • Toasting nuts makes a difference. Skip it and miss out on the best flavor. It only takes 2 minutes with a microwave–directions here.
  • Lemon curd can be homemade or store-bought.  Here is my recipe for making it in the microwave.  Want something different?  Try making orange or lime curd for a unique variation.
  • Putting the cookies in the oven for a couple minutes before making a crater helps soften the dough so you won’t have cracks around the edge that leak filling.  No guarantees–you may still get a few–but it works for me.
  • Be sure cookies are completely cooled before dusting with powdered sugar or it will melt and disappear.


Lemon-Pecan Thumbprint Cookies
Recipe type: Cookies
The traditional jelly thumbprint cookie gets a slight makeover with a lemon curd filling in a pecan studded cookie.
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup pecans, toasted
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup lemon curd
  • ¼ cup confectioners sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place flour, toasted pecans and salt in bowl of food processor and pulse until nuts are finely chopped.
  2. Use electric mixer to combine butter and sugar, beating until light-colored and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla, mixing well. Pour flour mixture in all at once and gently combine just until flour disappears. Scrape bowl a couple times to be sure there are no chunks or streaks of butter left unmixed.
  3. Roll dough into tablespoon-size balls and place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. (If dough is too soft to handle, chill for about 30 minutes.) Bake for 2 minutes. Remove tray and use your thumb or a rounded teaspoon to make indentation in each cookie. Bake another 8-9 minutes and remove cookies from the oven.
  4. Working quickly, re-indent center with thumb or spoon and fill with a half-teaspoon of lemon curd. Return to the oven another 8-10 minutes until cookies start to brown on the edges. Allow cookies to cool about 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack. When completely cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Related Posts:

Thumbprint Cookies

Pink Shortbread Cookies

Meyer Lemon Yogurt Squares

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Rhonda January 22, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I made these with freshly ground whole wheat flour. They are very good!


Jules @ Everyday Mommy December 13, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I can’t stop staring at these cookies.


Jules @ Everyday Mommy December 13, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Okay. That’s it. Your photos are just plain dangerous. Your blog needs a warning label 🙂


Glenda December 13, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Great looking cookies. Now I know how that extra jar of lemon curd in the pantry will be used for Christmas baking.


Debbie December 13, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Sounds delicious and I agree with Scooter-I love lemon and am sure they are a welcome change to everything chocolate- although I love that too. Will have to try these for the holidays!


scooter December 13, 2010 at 8:39 am

I made these for a cookie exchange and was a little afraid because not everyone likes lemon the way I do. I think folks were so tired of chocolate that these were among the first to go. I will definitely make them again. I also want to put Rob on my speed dial.


Suzanne December 13, 2010 at 12:01 am

mmm…I know these would be one of my favorite since I really like lemon curd. Great food styling.


ldh December 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Lucky decorator! These look soooo…. good!


TheKitchenWitch December 12, 2010 at 9:41 am

Girl, you KNOW that you had me at lemon! These cookies are so pretty!


Paula December 12, 2010 at 9:39 am

I just made thumbprints cookies myself and love that you have posted a new and great recipe to an old favourite! Sounds as if everyone came out on top of this cookie-tree decorating swap!


Renata December 12, 2010 at 8:04 am

These sound so delicious! Thanks for all the very useful tips at the end!


sis December 12, 2010 at 7:36 am

Good post. :+) I am still wanting more cookies right now. You have absolutely the best freezer I have ever raided. Not only are the contents good, but it is actually organized. Thanks for being a great hostess, as always –


Rob Fisher December 11, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Your decorator thinks these cookies are AWESOME!!!!! I did have to share.


Karen December 11, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I can’t wait to try these. Thumbprints are a favorite around here, but I think they’re a pain to make because there are so many steps, coating them with nuts (first, the egg whites, then the ground nuts . . .) My son read your recipe over my shoulder and said, go for it!


Paula December 11, 2010 at 11:13 am

I wanted to post a picture of my tree but couldn’t get a picture to do it justice. You two have the magical touch when it comes to Christmas decorating.


Amanda December 11, 2010 at 10:01 am

I can’t wait to see the tree! Rob said these were delicious!


Kayte December 11, 2010 at 9:19 am

Well, I can’t steal these from your freezer, but I can steal the recipe, right? Thank you…anything lemon has my attention immediately. Anything that look this good in a photo also have my immediate attention. Looking forward to making and eating these!


Paula December 11, 2010 at 11:14 am

Of course you can steal the recipe, Kayte. If your family likes lemon, they will love these.


Paula December 11, 2010 at 8:10 am

I like such cookies and these looks really delicious 🙂

have a great weekend,


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