These melt-in-your-mouth Iced Valentine’s Day Thumbprint Cookies are rich and buttery cookies perfect to bake for your special someone. The recipe for these cookies is so easy with basic pantry ingredients, plus the pretty as can be red, white, and pink nonpareil sprinkles and colorful icing. Perfect for parties, gifts, and those times you want a festive cookie!
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What is a Thumbprint Cookie
Originating in the 19th century in Sweden these cookies are also known as hallongrotta, which means “raspberry cave,” because the indent is usually filled with raspberry jam. The dough is usually an enriched shortbread dough or a sugar cookie dough that gets rolled into balls and have an indent made in the center of the cookie with your thumb.
Today’s recipe has you covered for Valentine’s Day, but what about other times you want a thumbprint cookie? Luckily these cookies are so easy to change up to make for an occasion.
You can roll the cookies in so many ingredients
- Chopped nuts
- Colored sugars
- Raw sugar
- Poppy seeds
- Any color of sprinkle you can think of
You can fill the cookies with lots of fun flavors
- Melted chocolate
- Jams and jellies
- Lemon curd
- Different colors of icing
For this recipe, you want to make sure to have these Valentine's Nonpareil Sprinkle Mix. Pretty aren’t they?
I like this sprinkle mix so much I have used them on these Dark Chocolate Slice and Bake Shortbread Cookies and these Sprinkle Sugar Cookies and a Red Velvet Filling. Both are delicious and perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Who can resist colorful sprinkles?
- Brown Sugar
- Colored nonpareils
Let’s bake cookies
These sweet little cookies are super easy to make. Just mix the batter in a bowl with a big wooden spoon and the best part is you don’t need to refrigerate the dough. Just mix, roll and bake.
Step 1. Get things ready. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat and put the sprinkles in a big bowl so you can roll the cookie dough balls in.
Step 2. Place the softened butter, shortening, egg yolk, and vanilla in a large bowl and mix to incorporate. Then add the flour and salt and mix in with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough. You can also use a mixer if you prefer.
Step 3. Using a tablespoon or a small cookie scoop, scoop 1″ balls then immediately roll in the sprinkles then set on the baking sheet.
Step 4. Using a teaspoon, press the rounded bottom into each cookie ball to make an indent in the center. You can also use your thumb to make the indent
Step 5. Bake for 10 minutes, then set the cookies on a cooling rack. Sometimes you need to press down on the indents right after the cookies come out of the oven to make them deep again.
Step 6. While the cookies are cooling make the icing. Sift the powdered sugar then mix with milk until smooth. Separate the icing into three small bowls then tint with pink and red gel food coloring. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap until ready to use.
Step 7. Using a small spoon fill each cookie with one of the icings.
Step 8. Let the cookies set out so the icing can harden before storing in an airtight container
Tips for the perfect thumbprint cookie
To keep the cookie from cracking roll the balls in the palm of your hand to make them nice and smooth.
Get those sprinkles to stick – right after you roll the dough balls put them in the sprinkles, the warmth of your hands will make the dough balls a bit sticky and the sprinkles will stick better.
How to keep these cookies from spreading – using a silicone baking mat will help, make sure your oven has heated up to the correct temperature, use cool baking sheets for each batch of cookies.
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More cookie favorite to bake
Try these Apricot Pecan Thumbprint Cookies for a different take on this classic cookie.
Lemon Slice and Bake Shortbreads are tender cookies with lemon zest baked right in.
For something chocolaty bake these Cacao Nib and Sea Salt Shortbread Cookies, you will love how easy they are to bake.
Rose Petal Shortbreads are the most delicate cookie topped with rose petals and made with rice flour so they are gluten-free.
Don’t forget the Valentine's sprinkles
Iced Valentine's Day Thumbprint Cookies
Powdered Sugar Icing
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tbls milk
- 1 tbls. white corn syrup
- drops red and pink food coloring gel
Making the Cookie Dough
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., and prepare sheet pans with Silpat or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl mix the softened butter, shortening, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla until completely mixed.
- Mix in the flour and salt until combined and the dough holds its shape.
- Place the nonpareils in a bowl big enough to roll the dough balls.
- Shape the dough into 1" balls using a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon, then immediately roll in the nonpareils. The warmth of your hands helps make the dough balls a little soft so the nonpareils will stick better.
- Place the balls 1" apart on the baking sheets then press your thumb into the center of each dough ball or use the bottom of a teaspoon to create an indent.
- Bake for about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Then remove from oven to cooling rack.
Powdered Sugar Icing
- Mix the sifted powdered sugar and milk to make a smooth mixture. This icing sets up hard after it sits for a couple of hours.
- Separate the icing into three small bowls. Tint one pink and one red with the food coloring.
- With a small spoon fill each cookie with one of the icings.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container for several days.
First Published: Jan 19, 2020… Last Updated: Jan. 28, 2021
What a wonderful day, full of sweets, flowers, and love.
Wishing you all the best this Valentine’s Day!
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory recipes with all my baking friends.