Spiced Cranberry Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

by Eat Well with Lex

Spiced Cranberry Thumbprint cookies are buttery, spiced dough filled with a sweet and tart homemade cranberry jam. The dough bakes up into buttery, melt-in-your mouth texture, creating the ideal canvas for the spiced cranberry center. This thumbprint cookie recipe is a must have Christmas cookie that embodies the spirit of the holidays in every delicious bite.

Looking for more holiday baking ideas? Check out my Christmas Butter Cookies and The Best Rum Cake Recipe!

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These Spiced Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies are not just any cookies – they’re the stars of the Christmas cookie platter, bringing together the festive flavors of spiced goodness and luscious cranberry filling. Imagine a cookie that perfectly balances the spice of the season with the sweet and tart burst of homemade cranberry jam – that’s what makes these spiced cranberry cookies truly special.

This Christmas, create lasting memories with this easy thumbprint cookie recipe – a festive treat that’s sure to become a cherished tradition in your home.

What Are Thumbprint Cookies?

Thumbprint cookies are like tiny, edible hugs – little rounds of buttery goodness characterized by their distinctive thumbprint-shaped indentation, typically filled with a jam. The cookie is buttery with a shortbread like texture making them the perfect canvas for an array of flavorful fillings. They are typically filled with jam, chocolate, or nuts. They’re the kind of cookies your grandma might have made, and every bite feels like a warm memory.

Why These are the Best Christmas Cookies

Festive Flavors: This spiced cranberry thumbprint cookie recipe is a celebration of the season. It blends warm spices with the bright, tart notes of cranberry jam. Imagine homemade holiday cookie with cranberry filling.

Sweet Traditions: Make these spiced cranberry thumbprint cookies a part of your holiday traditions. Whether it’s baking them with loved ones or enjoying them by the fire, they add a sweet touch to your festive moments.

Perfectly Shareable: These cookies aren’t just a treat; they’re a gesture of love. Share a batch with friends, family, or neighbors and spread the joy of homemade goodness.

Ingredients for Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies

  • Unsalted Butter: Responsible for the buttery flavor that forms the base of our irresistible thumbprint cookies.
  • Egg Yolk:
  • Granulated Sugar: Acting as the sweet counterpart, granulated sugar not only adds sweetness but also contributes to the texture and tenderness of the cookies.
  • All-Purpose Flour: The backbone of the recipe, all-purpose flour provides structure and stability to the cookie dough.
  • Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves adds warm and comforting elements and infuses the cookies with a festive flavor.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt acts as a flavor enhancer.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds flavor to the cookies.

Homemade Cranberry Jam

  • Fresh cranberries
  • Brown sugar
  • Water
  • Lemon or orange zest and juice
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • Ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt

How to Make Thumbprint Cookies with Jam

Cream Butter and Sugar: Using a hand or stand mixer cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.

Add egg yolk and vanilla extract, and mix well until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Add Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Gradually add this dry mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until just combined.

Shape Dough: Take 1 tablespoon-sized portions of the dough and roll them into balls. Place them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving space between each.

Create Thumbprints: Use your thumb or the back of a rounded teaspoon to create an indentation in the center of each cookie. Don’t press too hard; you want a well for the jam without flattening the cookie.

Fill with Cranberry Jam: Spoon a dollop of spiced cranberry jam into each thumbprint well. Be generous – the jam will bake beautifully and add a burst of flavor.

Chill the Dough: Let the cookies rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour before baking.

Bake to Perfection: Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Keep an eye on them to prevent over-baking.

How to Make Homemade Cranberry Jam

Prepare the Cranberries: Rinse the cranberries thoroughly and remove any stems or blemished berries. If using frozen cranberries, allow them to thaw.

Combine Ingredients: In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, brown sugar, zest, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger and a pinch of salt. and water.

Bring to a Boil and Simmer:

Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Stir frequently to dissolve the sugar and ensure even cooking. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the cranberry mixture to simmer uncovered. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and help break down the cranberries. The mixture will thicken as it cooks.

Once the jam reaches the desired consistency, remove the saucepan from the heat.

Feel free to adjust the sugar quantity based on your preference, and don’t hesitate to experiment with additional spices a personalized touch. Frontier Co-op has a wonderful selection of quality sustainably sourced spices.

Tips for Making the Best Thumbprint Cookies

Chill the Dough: Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour ensures it’s easy to handle and results in a tender cookie.

Use Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality spices and real cranberry jam to enhance the flavor profile of your cookies.

Perfect Thumbprint Wells: Gently press your thumb into the center of each cookie to create a well for the jam. If the edges crack, simply smooth them with your fingers.

Thumbprint Cookie Recipe Variations and Substitutes

  • Jam Variations: Instead of spiced cranberry jam, try other fruit preserves like raspberry, strawberry, or orange marmalade for a different flavor profile.
  • Nutty Crunch: Roll the cookie dough balls in finely chopped nuts, such as pecans or almonds, before creating the thumbprint.
  • Glaze Finish: Drizzle a simple glaze over the cooled cookies by combining powdered sugar with a bit of milk or citrus juice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any type of jam for thumbprint cookies?

Absolutely! While traditional recipes often call for fruit jams, you can experiment with various flavors like citrus marmalade, berry preserves, or even chocolate ganache.

Can I freeze thumbprint cookies for later?

Store the cookies in an airtight container to maintain freshness. If layering cookies, use parchment paper to prevent sticking.

How do I prevent the cookies from becoming too flat?

Ensure the cookie dough is properly chilled before baking. This helps the cookies retain their shape during the baking process.

Christmas Recipes You May Like

Christmas Tree Appetizer

Christmas Chex Mix

DID YOU MAKE THESE THUMBPRINT COOKIES?

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Spiced Cranberry Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

Spiced Cranberry Thumbprint cookies are buttery, spiced dough filled with a sweet and tart homemade cranberry jam. The dough bakes up into buttery, melt-in-your mouth texture, creating the ideal canvas for the spiced cranberry center.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 25 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cranberry Jam

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp orange or lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp orange or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Cream Butter and Sugar

  • Using a hand or stand mixer cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg yolk and vanilla extract, and mix well until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Add Dry Ingredients

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Gradually add this dry mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until just combined.

Shape Dough

  • Take 1 tablespoon-sized portions of the dough and roll them into balls. Place them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving space between each.

Create Thumbprints

  • Use your thumb or the back of a rounded teaspoon to create an indentation in the center of each cookie. Don’t press too hard; you want a well for the jam without flattening the cookie.

Chill the Dough

  • Let the cookies rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour while you make the jam

Make Cranberry Jam

  • Rinse the cranberries thoroughly and remove any stems or blemished berries. If using frozen cranberries, allow them to thaw.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, brown sugar, zest, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger and a pinch of salt, and water.
  • Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Stir frequently to dissolve the sugar and ensure even cooking. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the cranberry mixture to simmer uncovered. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and help break down the cranberries. The mixture will thicken as it cooks.
  • Once the jam reaches the desired consistency, remove the saucepan from the heat. Allow the jam to cool for a bit before adding it to the cookies

Fill Cookies with Cranberry Jam

  • Spoon a dollop of spiced cranberry jam into each thumbprint well. Be generous the jam will bake beautifully and add a burst of flavor.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Keep an eye on them to prevent over-baking.
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2 comments

Festive Christmas Chex Mix | Eat Well With Lex December 9, 2023 - 2:02 am

[…] Looking for more Christmas dessert recipe? Try my Spiced Cranberry Thumbprint Cookie Recipe. […]

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Easy Christmas Butter Cookies | Eat Well With Lex December 15, 2023 - 4:01 pm

[…] Looking for more butter Christmas cookies, check out my Spiced Cranberry Thumbprint Cookie Recipe. […]

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