Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies with Jam
Classic thumbprint cookies are given a festive twist with homemade pistachio flour, chopped pistachios, and a raspberry jam filling.
It feels as if Christmas has descended in full force, and I’m not fighting it. We decorated our tree a few weekends ago, and I loved reminiscing as we unpacked our ornaments.
The original recipe, which I shared just over five years ago, had a tart blackcurrant jam filling. While I love that variation, (and have included it as an option below), it can be tricky to find.
The updated recipe, which includes metric weights, uses easy-to-find raspberry jam as the filling. I love the contrast of the green pistachios with the red jammy filling, particularly for the holidays.
What are Thumbprint Cookies?
Thumbprint cookies are originally from Sweden, where they go by he name “Hallongrotta,” translating to “raspberry cave.” They are a classic Christmas cookie, traditionally made with a shortbread-like dough and jam filling.
The dough is rolled into rounds, then indented in the center with your thumb (hence the name) or, as I prefer, the end of a wooden spoon.
After baking, the centers are filled with jam, in this case, raspberry or blackcurrant jam. I always recommend using a jam that is more fruit forward and lower in sugar content.
Why You’ll Love These Thumbprint Cookies:
Similar to last year’s Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies, these cookies are elevated with homemade pistachio flour (which comes together in seconds!). It makes them a bit more exciting and special – which is exactly what the holidays are all about!
For added texture, the cookie dough balls are dipped in a frothy egg whites, then rolled in chopped pistachios.
This adds an extra step, but adds so much flavor. Regardless, these pistachio cookies can be made start to finish in under an hour!
They’re buttery, crisp, and rich in pistachio flavor with that classic jammy center.
How to Make Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies:
1. Pulse half of the shelled pistachios in a small food processor until medium-coarse in texture. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
2. To make the pistachio flour, combine the remaining pistachios and two teaspoons (6 grams) all purpose flour (this helps prevent it from clumping!) in the food processor bowl. Pulse continuously until fine in texture, similar to an almond meal/flour).
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pistachio flour, 120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour, and salt.
4. Combine the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat for 3 to 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Over low speed, slowly add the dry flour mixture until the dough comes together. Note: If the dough appears dry and crumbly, you can add a small splash of milk to help it come together.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until light and frothy. Gently roll the dough into 1-inch diameter balls.
6. Working one at a time, dip the dough balls into the egg white mixture to coat lightly, then roll in the crushed pistachios.
7. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking pan, setting them apart by about two inches. Holding the dough steady with one hand, use the handle end of a wooden spoon to create an indent in the center.
8. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly golden. If the indentations puff up during baking, gently press and deflate using the end of a wooden spoon or your fingertips. Allow to cool on baking sheet for several minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool, then lightly dust with confectioner’s sugar.
9. Heat the jam in a small saucepan until it comes to a boil, then spoon into the center of each cookie. Set completely before serving or storing.
These thumbprints are resilient, if you choose to improvise. You can easily sub your favorite jam, nut, or even go as far as to add a chocolate filling.
Store the thumbprint cookies in an airtight container, between layers of parchment, at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies with Jam
- 1⅓ cups (200 grams) shelled pistachios, raw or dry roasted divided
- 1 cup (120 grams) plus 2 teaspoons (6 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour divided
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 4 ounces (8 tablespoons; 115g) unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg white
- powdered sugar for dusting
- ⅔ cup (210 grams) raspberry or blackcurrant preserves
- Note: It can be very easy to over-measure flour, resulting in a drier, crumblier dough, if you use volume measurements for thumbprint cookies. I strongly recommend using a scale and the metric measurements provided below for this recipe. If you don't have a scale, be sure to read my guide on how to properly measure flour before starting.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper (or a silicone baking sheet) and set aside.
- Place ⅔ cup shelled pistachios in the bowl of small to medium food processor bowl, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Set aside in a bowl. Combine the remaining ⅔ cup shelled pistachios and the 2 teaspoons of all-purpose flour in the empty food processor bowl, and pulse repeatedly until finely ground.
- Whisk together the pistachio flour, remaining 1 cup all-purpose flour and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Combine the softened butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice until the dough comes together. Note: If the dough still appears crumbly or too dry, you can add a small splash of milk or water to help bring it together.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until lightly frothy. Using your fingertips, roll the cookie dough into roughly 1-inch diameter balls (about 1 tablespoonful). If you make them slightly larger, the yield will be closer to 16-18 cookies. Dip each ball lightly into the egg white, and then roll in the crushed pistachios until evenly coated. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets (roughly 12 cookies per sheet). Holding the cookie balls steady with one hand, create an indent in the center of each cookie with the end of a wooden spoon, pushing down until just before you reach the baking sheet. Re-shape each cookie into a circle with your fingertips as necessary.
- Bake the cookies, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time, until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 3 to 4 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool. Using a fine-meshed sieve, dust the cookies very lightly with powdered sugar.
- In a small saucepan, heat the raspberry jam (or blackcurrant, if using) until it reaches a boil. Remove the jam from the heat and spoon ½ to 1 teaspoon of jam into the center of each cookie. Allow the jam to cool and set completely before serving or storing.
- Leftover thumbprint cookies can be stored in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper, at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Tips for Success:
- Feel free to mix these cookies up with your favorite jam, nut, or even go as far as to add a chocolate filling.
- Leftover thumbprint cookies can be stored in an airtight container, between layers of parchment, at room temperature for up to 4 days.