Iced Thumbprint Cookies

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Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.

Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.

Iced Thumbprint Cookie Recipe:

These delicate cookies are our favorite special occasion treats from the local bakery. When the bakery couldn’t fill an order for her son’s baptism, Barbara decided to tackle these Thumbprint Cookies with Icing herself. And guess what? They were better than the bakery. I ate at least a dozen, so I feel confident saying this.

She turned to a cookbook that is a go-to reference for some of our family’s favorite cookie recipes – the 1971 version of Homemade Cookies by Farm Journal Editors.

Iced Thumbprint Cookies with nuts are the perfect dessert for any special occasion.

These shortbread thumbprint cookies with icing are completely customizable depending on the occasion.  Use food coloring to create your desired color or make a batch and top with multiple colors.

Assorted Red and Green- Christmas

Orange- Halloween

Purple and Pink- Easter

Red, White and Blue- Independence Day

Dark Orange or Yellow- Thanksgiving

Blue- Baptism or First Communion

School Colors- Graduation

Holiday Iced Thumbprint Cookies with red or green icing are perfect for Christmas cookie trays.

Another great thing about these pecan thumbprint cookies with icing is that you can make this dough several days ahead of time.  Just pull out of the fridge when ready to bake.  The dough may be a bit hard, just let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to loosen up.

If the dough begins to crack as you press your thumbprint in, roll the dough ball for a few seconds between your hands to loosen it up.

Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.

Iced Thumbprint Cookies Ingredients

  • Butter, softened
  • Confectioners sugar (also known as powdered sugar)
  • Salt
  • Vanilla
  • Flour
  • Pecans or walnuts
  • Milk or Cream
  • Food Coloring of your choice

How to Make Thumbprint Cookies with Icing:

Full recipe and ingredient list for shortbread thumbprint cookies can be found at the bottom of the page.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt and vanilla until creamy and fluffy.
  3. Add sifted flour to butter mixture but don’t over mix. Stir in pecans.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  5. Shaped chilled dough into small balls and place on cookie sheet. Make a small thumbprint on top of each cookie.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned and set. Cool completely.

Icing for Best Thumbprint Cookie Recipe Ever:

  1. Mix confectioners sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 Tablespoon of milk or cream at a time (approximately 3-4 Tablespoons total) until icing is smooth.
  2. Add food coloring to desired color.
  3. Pour or spoon into the thumbprint of each pecan shortbread cookie.
  4. Let set before eating.

Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.

How do I keep my thumbprint cookies from cracking?

Roll the dough into a smooth, round ball (whatever size you want depending on how big or small).  If the dough seems too hard or too touch, roll it a bit longer to soften up the dough.

Do you put icing on cookies before or after baking?

Be sure to let the shortbread thumbprint cookies cool completely before adding the icing.

Can you freeze thumbprint cookies?

Yes!  Bake the thumbprint cookies with nuts according to the directions, and let cool completely. Put them in a freezer-safe container or airtight bag.  When you are ready to eat them, pull them from the freezer and thaw.  Once defrosted, prepare the icing as directed and serve.

Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.

Notes About Pecan Thumbprint Cookies with Icing:

  • Before measuring confectioners sugar and flour, sift them onto a piece of waxed paper or a plate. Then measure accordingly.
  • Start with softened butter at room temperature.
  • Confectioners sugar is the same as powdered sugar.
  • Substitute walnuts for pecans, if desired in these easy thumbprint cookies with icing.
  • If you refrigerate the dough for more than 1 hour, you may have to roll the dough a little longer in your hands to get a nice round circle. You can set the dough out for a bit at room temperature to warm it up before rolling.
  • Be sure your thumbprint cookies with nuts are cooled completely before icing.
  • If you want to bake these ahead and freeze, do so before icing.  Wait to decorate with icing once they are defrosted and ready to be served.
  • While preparing the icing for these shortbread thumbprint cookies, start with 1 tablespoon of milk (or cream) and work your way up to 3 – 4 tablespoons.  Add just enough to make a spoonable icing, not too runny and not too thick.
    • If you get your icing too runny, add more powdered sugar!

Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.

Holiday Cookie Recipes:

Chocolate Crinkles

Need an easy cookie that everyone will love? These Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are rich and perfect with a tall glass of milk or hot cup of coffee.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

French Buttercreams

The dough for these French Buttercream Cookies can be tinted to make them extra festive for any occasion and be sure to add colored sugar crystals on top.

Chocolate Chip Molasses Cookies

Chocolate Chip Molasses Bars are an old-fashioned molasses cookie with a dense texture.  They have that traditional molasses cookie flavor enhanced with the addition of chocolate chips.  Making these as a bar cookie cuts down time and energy.

Fudge Nut Bars

Fudge Nut Bars are a thick and luscious three layered cookie.  The top and bottom is a sweet oatmeal cookie, and the middle is a decadent nut-filled chocolate fudge. The recipe makes a huge pan which is perfect for your next bake sale or family gathering. 

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Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.
Print Recipe
4.80 from 5 votes

Iced Thumbprint Cookies

Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time27 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best thumbprint cookie recipe ever, can you freeze thumbprint cookies, do you put icing on cookies before or after baking, easy thumbprint cookies with icing, holiday cookie recipes, how do i keep my thumbprint cookies from cracking, iced thumbprint cookies, pecan thumbprint cookies with icing, shortbread thumbprint cookies, shortbread thumbprint cookies with icing, thumbprint cookies with icing, thumbprint cookies with nuts, thumbprint shortbread cookies
Servings: 60
Calories: 50kcal
Author: Barbara

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar sifted before measuring
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted before measuring
  • 1 cup pecans finely chopped

Icing

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons Milk or cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Sift confectioners sugar onto a piece of parchment paper; then measure according to recipe.
    Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.
  • Beat butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt and vanilla until creamy and fluffy.
    Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.
  • Mix in flour that has been sifted in the same manner as confectioners sugar; do not over-mix.
  • Stir in pecans.
    Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Shape the chilled dough into small balls and place 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
  • Use the tip of your thumb to make a thumbprint in the center of the cookie.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly browned and set; let cool completely.

Shortbread Icing Recipe

  • For icing, mix 2 cups confectioners sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 Tablespoon of milk or cream at a time (approximately 3-4 Tablespoons total) until icing is smooth.
    Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.
  • Add food coloring for desired color.
    Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.
  • Let cookies cool completely. Pour or spoon icing into each thumbprint. Let set before eating.
    Iced Thumbprint Cookies are easy to make, taste great and are the perfect addition to the dessert table at any celebration.

Video

Notes

  • The number of cookies these make depends on how large you roll your balls of dough. We usually make ours smaller than a normal cookie - probably just under an inch or so.
  • Before measuring confectioners sugar and flour, sift them onto a piece of waxed paper or a plate. Then measure accordingly. 
  • Start with softened butter at room temperature.
  • Confectioners sugar is the same as powdered sugar. 
  • Substitute walnuts for pecans, if desired in these easy thumbprint cookies with icing.
  • If you refrigerate more than 1 hour, you may have to roll the dough a little longer in your hands to get a nice round circle. 
  • Be sure your thumbprint cookies with nuts are cooled completely before icing. 
  • If you want to bake these ahead and freeze, do so before icing.  Wait to decorate with icing once they are defrosted and ready to be served. 
  • While preparing the icing for these shortbread thumbprint cookies, start with 1 tablespoon of milk (or cream) and work your way up to 3 - 4 tablespoons.  Add just enough to make a spoonable icing, not too runny and not too thick.
    • If you get your icing too runny, add more powdered sugar!
  • Love shortbread? Try our Dainty Logs---a shortbread cookie with chocolate chips. 

Nutrition

Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 9IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

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Holiday Iced Thumbprint Cookies with red or green icing are perfect for Christmas cookie trays.

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34 Comments

    1. Ours just uses 1/2 cup of confectioners (powdered) sugar which is the first ingredient in the list. Hope that helps.

      1. You failed to say when the powdered sugar goes in…I assume at the beginning?

      2. We didn’t note confectioners/powdered sugar in the directions (just said sugar). Thanks for the question, we clarified. It gets beaten in with eggs, etc.

  1. I would like to make these for an upcoming wedding. Can the iced cookies be frozen? If so, what is the best way to thaw them? Thank you.

    1. They can be frozen – we do it often! We just take them out of the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature.

  2. A bakery I worked at sold these! We called them tea fills. I moved to a new state and miss them so much lol. Do you use salted or unsalted butter?

    1. Honestly, we usually use whatever type of butter we have on hand but unsalted is usually the way to go in baking since there’s salt in the cookies too! You won’t ruin them if you do use salted butter! Thanks for the comment!

    1. We usually use whatever type of butter we have on hand, if we are honest, but unsalted is recommended when baking since there’s salt in the cookies too!

  3. YEAH!!! I lost my recipe and this is it!! Thank you! It killed me to pay anywhere from 79 cents to $1.25 PER COOKIE at the bakeries here!

  4. Is this cookie ( WITHOUT the ICING ) a sweet cookie or just barely sweet? I mean since you would get sweetness from the icing. The thumbprint cookies we used to get at our bakery many years ago, the cookie itself was hardly sweet at all and then it was filled with a fudge frosting. That’s what I would like to duplicate.

    Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you!

    1. Melinda – They aren’t overly sweet. They have a 1/2 cup powdered sugar and that’s all. They are on the dry side which is what the frosting is important!

  5. Help! Mine came out flat like a sugar cookie😩 I refrigerated the dough for an hour Not sure what went wrong

    1. Hmmm, some things to consider: did you use butter or margarine? We recommend butter, softened but not totally soft (set it out for 20-30 minutes); cream butter and confectioners sugar for 2-3 minutes (don’t over beat); sift your flour and then measure. Sounds like you refrigerated long enough.

  6. I just came across this recipe last week. I made them for a second time tonight! These cookies taste like the ones I buy from Plehn’s Bakery in Louisville, Kentucky.

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