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Lemon Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

December 9, 2009

It’s December and that means one thing: It’s cookie season!


As a kid, the holidays in our house were all about food – mostly baking. I remember my grandmother getting out the pizzelle iron to crank out piles of the lacy, crunchy Italian cookies. My mom started a tradition of making all sorts of chocolate treats – Christmas Crunch (better known as mint chocolate bark to most people), chocolate covered pretzels, and even a thin mint-like cookie that is incredibly easy to make and incredibly addictive.

And then on top of all of that, we’d bake cookies. Dozens and dozens of cookies. Some were for us to eat, most were to give away as gifts.

Now, it doesn’t feel like the holiday season to me unless there are dozens and dozens of cookies around. This year I have plans to bake a lot of my own cookies, starting with these lemon raspberry thumbprint cookies.

These cookies are always a big hit at the holidays. (They’re also good for breakfast, but don’t tell anyone I said that!) The base is a lemon flavored buttery cookie that just melts in your mouth. In the center, a dollop of raspberry jam gives each bite a little zing. They’ve become a must-have item at our holiday gatherings and they’re the first cookies to disappear year after year.

Lemon Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Lemon Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse via Food Network
Makes approximately 3-4 dozen cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
zest of 1 large lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup raspberry jam or jelly (I prefer seedless)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with Silpats.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend.

Place butter and sugar in the large bowl of an electric mixer, and beat until light and creamy. Add egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Beat to combine. Add the flour mixture in two parts, beating between additions, until moist clumps form. Gather dough into a ball.

Pinch off about a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using a floured thumb, make a shallow indentation in the center of each ball. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.

While the cookies bake, measure jam into a small, heatproof bowl and microwave in 10 second intervals until stirrable and smooth.

After 10 minutes, remove half-baked cookies from oven. Working quickly, reshape the center indentations using the back of a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon. Dollop 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the center of each cookie. Return cookies to the oven to bake another 10 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Remove cookies from oven and transfer to racks to cool completely.

Serve as is, or dust with powdered sugar for a fancier look. (To remove the powdered sugar from the center, dip your finger in warm water and gently trace around the center. The sugar should dissolve, disappearing.)

  1. December 9, 2009 12:30 pm

    These are my go-to cookies for when I want to make cookies for an event. I use this recipe as well, only I think I use whole eggs instead of just the yolks. Either way, they turn out delicious every time I make them

  2. nutmegnanny permalink
    December 9, 2009 2:52 pm

    These look delicious! I love the lemon and raspberry combo….yum! Quick question….Do they get soggy if they sit for to long? I’m only asking because I have always wanted to do a jam thumbprint cookie for my Christmas cookie tray but I’m worried they will get soggy if I make them to far in advance.

    • The Craving Chronicles permalink*
      December 9, 2009 2:58 pm

      I wish I could say for sure, but they never last very long in our house! I can tell you that after being stored at room temperature for 3 days in an air-tight container they were not at all soggy. It would also probably be OK to make up the dough ahead of time and freeze it for a little while until you’re ready to bake and eat them, though I haven’t tried that myself (yet!)

      • nutmegnanny permalink
        December 9, 2009 3:00 pm

        Thanks! I think I might give it a whirl. I’m sure it would make a great addition to the usual cookie tray :)

  3. December 9, 2009 8:13 pm

    these are my FAVORITE cookie. I made them yesterday! The past two years they have turned out prefect, but for some reason yesterday they spread and half of the cookies were giant pools of jam. it was weird, they still taste good though!

  4. December 9, 2009 9:13 pm

    these look delicious! I will have to try the recipe out this weekend

  5. December 10, 2009 12:35 pm

    These are my favorite kind of cookie, but I’ve never tried them with lemon. Sounds delicious and yours look beautiful!

  6. December 11, 2009 11:54 am

    These look like perfect holiday jewels. I love the wrapping paper being used in the photos too. Great job!

  7. December 11, 2009 9:25 pm

    Wowzers. I just made these cookies and they are AMAZING. Seriously, my new favorite cookie!!
    I had to work with what I had on hand so used orange juice and zest instead and then did half with blueberry preserves and the other half with strawberry…next time I want to try it like yours.
    Thanks so much for the recipe…I’m new to your site and I love it!

  8. December 12, 2009 9:05 pm

    Now THOSE are festive Christmas cookies. Some of the cookies people are posting… just aren’t *Christmas* cookies! These are beautiful :)

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