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.
I was given a box of old recipes from a friend a while back and 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 are delicious. I decided to fill the centres with my Creamy Italian Pastry Cream and it was the perfect combination.
Where did Thumbprint Cookies originate?
These cookies originated in Sweden. They are called Hallongrotta, translated it means Raspberry Cave. The thumb is pressed in the center of the cookie dough and the jam is either filled while baking the cookies or after it has been baked.
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.
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.
Form the dough into a smooth ball.
Place the egg whites in a small bowl and finely chopped almonds in another bowl. Roll into approximate 1 inch balls.
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 the end of a wooden spoon or even a 1/4 teaspoon round in every ball.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes, at the halfway point check to see if the centres have puffed up, if yes, then again using the end of a wooden spoon or 1/4 teaspoon round gently indent again.
Remove the pan from the oven when done and indent again if needed. Remove the cookies and cool on a wire rack.
When completely cool fill with Italian Pastry Cream or your favourite filling.
How to keep the cookies from spreading
To help keep the cookies from spreading be sure to use a higher protein flour, 11-12% works fine, you can also refrigerate the cookies while the oven is pre-heating, about 15-20 minutes is good.
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).
Can the cookies be made ahead of time?
Yes you can make and form the cookies and keep them refrigerated for up to 3 days. Then all you have to do is bake and fill them.
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.
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.
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!
More Delicious Lemon Recipes
Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
- 1-2 cookie sheets
LEMON THUMBPRINT COOKIE DOUGH
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (with at least 11-12% protein)
- 1 pinch salt*
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 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. At this point if your house is warm, then wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
- Remove pieces of dough and roll into (approximate) 1 inch (2cm) balls.
- Place the egg whites in a small bowl mix with a fork, place the finely chopped almonds in another bowl. First roll balls in egg whites and then in the almonds, place them on the prepared cookie sheets about one inch apart. Gently make an indentation with your thumb, the bottom of a wooden spoon or the round of a ¼ teaspoon 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 or round of a ¼ teaspoon gently indent again. Remove from oven when done and indent again 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.