These easy jam thumbprint cookies are simple butter cookies made with flour, sugar, butter and egg yolks—and a dollop of jam on top. The best cookies are often the simplest ones!
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There are so many gluten free cookie recipes here on the blog, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. Cookies are the very best place to start baking if you’re new to the kitchen or just new to baking gluten free, and they’re just so fun and festive. They’re always the first thing to go at any party. Bring a plate of cookies and just sit back and watch how quickly they disappear.
Since it is now cookie season (although to be honest, every single season of every single year is cookie season to me—including the middle of the summer I stop for no one), I figure it’s time for us to get a few things straight.
The Blond Cookie Sisters: Butter, Shortbread, and Sugar
When you’re just a cookie eater, maybe it doesn’t matter to you which cookies are which? But here, we’re cookie eaters and cookie bakers and we have a need to know.
Butter cookies: Butter cookies are basically what today’s jam thumbprint cookies are. They’re made with just flour, sugar, butter and egg yolks. That’s basically how you make spritz cookies. But if you’re putting the dough through a cookie press, you’ll need something of a different balance of those ingredients. Here, we’re rolling the dough into balls, creating a hole in the center which we fill with jam, and then baking them right from room temperature.
Shortbread cookies: Shortbread cookies are the simplest cookies around, as they’re made with flour, sugar, and butter. That’s it. No eggs, no milk, no water. Case in point: whipped shortbread cookies. Those even have a delicate jam filling, too! But they way more delicate than these thumbprints.
Sugar cookies: Sugar cookies are more like “regular” cookies. They have a full egg, not just an egg yolk, and they also have a chemical leavener (baking powder, usually) in addition to butter, sugar, and flour.
These delicate thumbprint cookies don’t have to hold their shape as readily as thumprint cookies that you fill after you bake them. The jam that’s placed in the center before the cookies go in the oven prevents the hole we’ve created in the dough from closing during baking.
Rolling these sweet little gems in granulated sugar before baking them creates a super thin, crackly shell in the oven. The cookie dough itself isn’t very sweet at all, so the jam and sugar shell balance everything perfectly.
Watch this 1-minute video and learn how to make these jam thumbprint cookies
Just click play ▶️ to watch!
Ingredients and Substitutions
As always, unless I specifically state otherwise, I haven’t tested these cookies with any substitutions. These are just my best-educated guesses, in an effort to make it possible for everyone to bake along, regardless of any other dietary restrictions.
Dairy-Free: I haven’t tried it, but I bet these cookies would work just fine with butter-flavored Spectrum non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening in place of the butter.
Egg-Free: That’s a tougher one. I’m afraid I don’t know of any proper substitution for the egg yolk. It doesn’t provide rise, but is there for texture and mouth feel. I haven’t tried it, but I’ve read that pureed silken tofu can be an effective substitute. If you have a better idea, please let us all know in the comments!
Sugar-Free: Good news! Swerve sweetener makes a confectioners’ sugar substitute, and a granulated sugar substitute. I haven’t tried them in this recipe, but if you’re avoiding sugar, that’s what I’d recommend trying. You’ll also need a sugar-free substitute for the sugary jam in the center of the cookies.