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Argh! Is there such a thing as a thumbprint cookie

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:angry: I'm really at my wit's end here, folks. I've tried countless recipes, I've sprinkled water on the dough, I've tried being ever so gentle while forming the indent, not pressing it too deep - and my darn thumprint cookies crack every single time :hmmm: The recipe doesn't seem to matter - but maybe I'm using real duds? I doubt it, 'cause they always taste great, and they come from great sources (epicurious, Gale Gand, Ina Garten, etc.).

A little split here and there I can understand, but these are major crevasses I'm dealing with here, and they happen on each and every cookie. Can anyone help me figure out what I'm doing wrong? I've used my thumb, the back of a spoon, the end of a wooden spoon, a thimble - you name it, nothing has helped. I'm not very clear on what I can add to a recipe and what I can't and have it still turn out ok - should I be adding more liquid? An egg yolk? :unsure:

Any help is appreciated - thanks!

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Hmm, let me see if I can get my mom's recipe... she used to make these when I was a kid and I have no recollection of massive cracks.

How are you measuring your flour? Have you tried measuring by weight? Sounds like your dough might be too dry.


Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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Hmmmm....Are they cracking prior to baking? You might try not chilling the dough before forming, or maybe you are just pressing too deep...my recipe says to make a small indent, and then when they are about half way baked, and of course very squishy, to then make the indent again. I use a thimble, myself. The end of a wooden spoon works as well.

You could add a bit more liquid, as well...or perhaps try the measure by weight method - you'd be surprised how much that makes a difference.

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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Yes, the cookies are cracking before I bake them - I don't chill the dough, and the "feel" of the dough is decent...not overly dry or crumbly. The recipe I'm presently trying isn't done by weight - but I have others that require weighing the dry ingredients, and have run into the same problem. It just doesn't seem to matter which recipe I try.

I can't make my indentations much shallower than they already are - the cookies are filled with jam and then baked, so if they aren't deep enough the jam runs everywhere. I'm not able to re-form the indentation partway through baking this way, either.

Are there any guidelines when it comes to adding liquids, or is it really as simple as adding some water until it seems right? Would egg be better than water, or would that alter the recipe in another way?

I appreciate all the troubleshooting - thank you.

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Mom says she uses a very rounded 1/2 teaspoon measure to make her 'thumbprints', and her recipe calls for making the indentation halfway through baking.



Toni's Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg, separated

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup finely chopped nuts

Mix together thoroughly the butter, brown sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Sift together the flour and salt, then stir into the wet ingredients. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Lightly beat the egg white. Dip each ball in egg white, then roll in chopped nuts. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes, then remove from oven. Quickly press thumb (or rounded 1/2 teaspoon measure) gently on top of each cookie. Return to oven and bake 8 minutes longer. Cool, then place a bit of jelly or jam in the thumbprint.

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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If every thumbprint recipe is cracking on you, I'm guessing it's not the recipe. I use the end of a woodel dowel (well, a very slender rolling pin) and make as deep an indentation as possible. I lower the dowel into the center of the cookie very slowly, and make sure there are no cracks. Then I bake the cookies halfway, take them out of the oven, re-do the indentations, and THEN fill them with jam.

Here's a picture of the thumbprints I did several years ago...they are kind of uneven is size b/c I was just doing eyeballing the amount of dough and didn't use cookie cutters. (Some are filled with blueberry jam, some with Nutella, and some with Nutella AND chopped nuts.) :smile:


I use this recipe:

Almond thumbprints

Edited by Ling (log)
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Thanks for the help - and the link to the recipe. It sounds delicious - I'll give them a try later this week.

The recipes that I've been trying to work with are all shortbread type doughs, and I'm wondering if that type of dough just doesn't translate well to this type of cookie even though the recipe writers indicate otherwise. Perhaps they don't mind the cracking! :) I did some research online, and found numerous complaints about the Ina Garten recipe I was using - lots of comments about the dough cracking, not holding it's shape well, etc. so I don't think I'm the only one having trouble.

Anyway - thanks again for all the input. The cookies tasted great - just looked a little more "rustic" than I would have liked!

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