Thumbprint Cookies — His Favorite

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In the beginning of this blog, my husband of 33 years asked when I was going to post thumbprint cookies. He kept asking. Then he asked again. And again.

Now that Christmas is almost here, so are thumbprint cookies.  My man is happy.


The recipe is simple–straight out of the Betty Crocker Cooky Book, copyright 1963. The icing is where I like to get creative.

Instead of using a solid color icing, I drop the tiniest amount of liquid food coloring into my bowl of icing.  Without stirring, I carefully use my spoon to pick up a little of the color but try to get mostly white.  Then I use a second spoon to push the icing on to the cookie.  This process will slightly mix and swirl the color.  No extra effort really. Love it!

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Holiday Thumbprint Cookies
Recipe type: Cookie, Dessert
A short bread cookie we must have at Christmas
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup pecans, finely chopped
  • Icing:
  • ½ tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream shortening, butter, brown sugar, egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour and salt. Combine well.
  3. Roll dough into balls. Using a small ice cream dipper will aid in uniformity.
  4. Beat egg white slightly with fork. Dip balls in egg white, then roll in chopped pecans.
  5. Place balls on ungreased baking sheet, (I use a silicone baking mat) about 1 inch apart.
  6. Place in oven 1 minute. Remove and use your finger to quickly press indentation into the center of each cookie. Place back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes or until the pecans are toasty. Remove from oven and immediately use your finger to repress the indentation into the middle of the cookies.
  7. Make the icing while cookies bake. Add color using process described above. Or leave the icing uncolored. Or stir in food coloring to make uniform color. It's your preference. Many people do jelly--but not at my house.

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Happy Anniversary, “Blue Eyes.” And thanks for all your support and assistance with my blog. Romaine

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

bonniejean December 4, 2015 at 4:35 pm

next time fill the “prints” with maraschino cherry frosting!

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 lbs powdered sugar
2 Tbsp chopped maraschino cherries
6 Tbsp juice from maraschino cherry jar (plus more if needed)
1 tsp almond extract
Beat softened butter in a large mixing bowl until completely smooth and fluffy. Add the chopped cherries.
Gradually beat in about two cup of powdered sugar.
Beat in the maraschino cherry juice and almond extract until completely combined.
Gradually beat in the rest of the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time.
If your frosting is too thick, beat in additional maraschino cherry juice one teaspoon at a time.


AlyB December 15, 2012 at 7:40 am

Hi Paula, I made these for a Christmas party last night and they were delicious! I made two batches: one rolled in pecans with green swirl frosting and one rolled in shredded coconut with red swirl frosting. Both looked beautiful and tasted great. I have always done thumbprint cookies with jam but I like the frosting much better. Thanks for the good idea and good recipe.


Paula December 15, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Hi AlyB,
Your comment reminds me I haven’t made these yet but I must. My family would revolt without them on Christmas.


Nancy December 12, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Do you have the receipe for the icing?


Nancy December 12, 2014 at 10:11 pm

I see it now, thanks


debbie December 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I love these cookies…..but missing the brown sugar in the direction. Great idea with red and green icing!


Tena Fitch December 4, 2011 at 7:48 am

What if you stirred peppermint flavoring into the icing. I thought these were peppermint toppped cookies when I saw the photo – might be good!?!?


Kitchen Butterfly December 29, 2009 at 9:12 am

Fantastic. Love the swirl icing….and glad you made them for him!!!! Have a blessed holiday


Katrina December 26, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Definitely more festive! Love it. Happy Holidays!


Susie December 26, 2009 at 10:49 am

yummy cookies! always a “rhodes family favorite” at Christmastime! thanks for sharing them with me fresh out of the oven!


Eva December 25, 2009 at 8:48 am

When I first looked at your pic I thought the icing was one of those after dinner mints.


mike December 25, 2009 at 12:22 am

I LOVE my BC Cooky Book (or, my mom’s – originally). It’s where I turn to first for “what to make”! These look great – I love how you improvised the the “thumb”! Innovative and festive – definitely worth a post! Happy Holidays!


Margaret December 24, 2009 at 10:38 pm

I’ve never made thumbprint cookies. Yours look easy. And very tasty.


Christine @ Fresh Local and Best December 24, 2009 at 4:49 pm

You are quite the baker! I hope your family has a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!


Jules December 24, 2009 at 2:07 pm

My mom still has her original 1963 cookbook! It’s where I first learned how to make peanut butter cookies.


Amanda December 24, 2009 at 11:12 am

These are so yummy! I love the swirly colored icing! Perfect Christmas post!


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