Lemon Thumbprint Cookies are the perfect addition to your Christmas Cookie Recipe to do list. Fast, easy and really delicious especially with an Italian Pastry Cream Filling.
When I went to visit friends, back in Canada, actually they are more than friends, they are really my second family. I was given a box of old recipes that my friend’s mother had.
After looking through the box for the good part of the day, I discovered some wonderful new recipes which were from the Winnipeg Free Press, by Alison Gillmor (Recipe Swap), 12 days of Christmas Cookies, December 13, 2014.
These Lemon Thumbprint Cookies were one of them. I changed it up a little bit, and I have to tell you they were delicious.
I decided to fill the centres with my Creamy Italian Pastry Cream and it was the perfect combination.
What other fillings can be used?
Of course I am partial to my Italian Pastry cream, but if you have a favourite lemon curd recipe, or even a simple Buttercream or what about filling them with a Lemon Cheesecake Filling?
How to make Lemon Cheesecake Filling
In a medium bowl beat 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon whole fat cream cheese until creamy approximately one minute. Add 2 1/2 cups of icing sugar a little at a time, continue beating then add a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and beat until combined.
I actually was going to freeze these cookies too, like I do with the Christmas Cookies I always make in the couple of months before Christmas. But they were such a big hit they were gone in a day.
My mother used to make a Thumbprint Cookie, but she would fill them with Jam, which I was not that crazy about. I liked the cookie part but the Jam didn’t thrill me.
After tasting these cookies I totally understand why my friend’s mother cut out the recipe and never got rid of it. These will certainly become a Christmas Cookie tradition in our home.
How to make Thumbprint Cookies
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, zest and salt.
- In the bowl of your standup mixer beat at medium speed the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes.
- Then add the egg yolks and vanilla, and beat until just combined.
- Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until almost combined.
- Then form the dough into a smooth ball.
- Roll into approximate 1 inch balls.
- Place the egg whites in a small bowl and finely chopped almonds in another bowl.
- First roll the cookie balls in egg whites and then in the almonds, place them on the prepared cookie sheets.
- Gently make an indentation with your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon in every ball.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes, at the halfway point check to see if the centres have puffed up, if yes, then using the end of a wooden spoon gently indent again.
- Remove the pan from the oven when done and indent again with wooden spoon if needed.
- Remove the cookies and cool on a wire rack.
- When completely cool fill with Italian Pastry Cream or your favourite filling.
What can I substitute for the almonds?
If you don’t like almonds then you could substitute with finely chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or even Pecans. Or just eliminate them entirely. I have heard of using chopped pretzels, coconut or even wheat germ (as a couple of readers suggested).
How to store the cookies
The cookies should be stored in an airtight container. If they have been filled with cream then they must be refrigerated. Unfilled they can be kept at room temperature or the fridge for 5-6 days.
Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
How to freeze the cookies
The cookies are best frozen without the filling. Place them in a freezer safe container or bag and the cookies will keep for up to three months. Fill them just before serving.
More Delicious Lemon Recipes
If you are looking for a Thumbprint Cookie Recipe to bake this Holiday Season, then I hope you give these Lemon Thumbprint Cookies a try and of course let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
LEMON THUMBPRINT COOKIE DOUGH
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 pinch salt*
- 3/4 -1 cup finely chopped almonds
*If using unsalted butter then add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Pre-heat oven to 350° (180° celsius). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl whisk together, the flour, zest and salt, set aside.In a large bowl beat at medium speed the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes, then add the egg yolks and vanilla, beat until just combined. Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon or mix on low speed just until combined. Move to a flat surface and form into a compact smooth dough.
- Remove pieces of dough and roll into (approximate) 1 inch (2cm) balls.
- Place egg whites in a small bowl and the finely chopped almonds in another bowl. First roll balls in egg whites and then in the almonds, place them on prepared cookie sheets about one inch apart. Gently make an indentation with your thumb or the bottom of a wooden spoon in every ball. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, at the halfway point check to see if the centres have puffed up, if yes, then using the end of a wooden spoon gently indent again. Remove from oven when done and indent again with wooden spoon if needed.
- Remove to cool on a wire rack. When cool fill with Italian Pastry Cream or your favourite filling. Enjoy!
Updated from October 2016.