Delicate shortbread cookies filled with sweet raspberry jam and drizzled with vanilla icing make this dairy-free twist on a classic perfect to enjoy anytime of year, but especially during the holidays! These cookies are so easy and are perfect to make as gifts or to put out when family and friends visit.
Making cookies for me is something that I generally only do the closer it comes to Christmas. I love cookies, but they haven’t always been my favourite things to bake as I tend to stick to cakes and cupcakes. But something about the holidays makes me excited for all the different cookie varieties and I just can’t get enough.
Today we have my twist on an absolute classic. The humble jam drop. These are buttery shortbread cookies with a big drop of jam in the centre that bakes with the cookies and makes it set and go super gooey and delicious. They are also called thumbprint cookies due to the indent that’s made in the centre of the cookie dough before you drop in your jam.
Call them whatever you want, I know these cookies will be a family favourite. Alongside melting moments, I think these are a foundational cookie from my childhood and every mum and grandma would have a recipe for these, making them for after school treats or special morning tea events.
This version has been jazzed up a little bit with the addition of a completely optional sweet vanilla glaze. Although once you try a raspberry jam drop with this glaze you’ll realise that the glaze isn’t actually optional at all!
These cookies, like everything on my website, are dairy-free. To still ensure we get that classic crumbly shortbread cookie you’ll want to use a good quality vegan butter alternative. Here in Australia I always use Nuttelex Buttery for the best results as it works in the same way as real butter and doesn’t leave any oily residue like some margarines do. In the US I believe the best alternative is the Earth Balance brand.
How to make raspberry thumbprint cookies
Start by making your cookie dough. You’ll need to beat together the dairy-free butter and the sugar first before adding in the egg and vanilla. The best way to do this is in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, but a handheld mixer will do just fine.
If you do make a lot of cookies though, I highly recommend investing in a stand mixer as you won’t believe how much easier it makes it!
Add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl and beat again until a soft dough forms. From here, you will want to put the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minute to chill. Due to the dairy-free butter it is quite a soft dough, so chilling allows it to firm up slightly and make it easier to roll into balls as well as ensuring the cookies don’t spread too much in the oven.
If it’s a particularly warm day, you may need to chill for a bit longer.
Once the dough is chilled, scoop out tablespoons of dough and roll into balls in your hands. Sit the balls of dough on a lined baking tray ensuring they have enough space between them to flatten out.
Into the centre of each cookie, use your thumb to create an indent. If you have long nails I would suggest instead to use a round ½ teaspoon measuring spoon or even the end of a rolling pin to make the indentation instead.
Place about ¼-½ a teaspoon of good quality raspberry jam (I love Bonne Maman brand) in the indent that you just created. Be careful not to overfill or the jam will spill out over the cookie as it bakes.
Place in a preheated oven and bake for 8 minutes or until just starting to lightly golden. I like my cookies to be soft and delicate so this bake time is perfect for me, but if you like your cookies more crispy then leave them in the oven for a few minutes longer.
Once your cookies have cooled, make a simple glaze with icing sugar, water and vanilla and drizzle over the top. For the ones pictured, I used a piping page with a small round tip to get a more even drizzle but you can just use a spoon if you are less of a perfectionist than I!
Let the icing set for a couple of hours until hard before stacking and storing the cookies. They will store well in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Change things up with different flavours!
For alternate flavour options, you can replace the vanilla in the icing and cookie with almond extract. Almond extract is a lot stronger than vanilla so make sure to change the ratios and use ¼ teaspoon in the icing and ½ a teaspoon in the cookies themselves.
You can also use any flavour jam that you want in the cookies. Get creative and use what you love.
These are such a simple but delicious cookie recipe that is perfect for the holidays when you want something festive and sweet, but don’t want to spend all your time in the kitchen baking and icing elaborate cookies (I’m looking at you sugar cookies!).
They are a classic for a reason and I guarantee that they won’t last long!
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
For the cookies:
- 1 3/4 cups plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) dairy-free butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/3 cup raspberry jam approx
For the glaze:
- ½ cup icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon water approx
- In a medium sized bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, or using a handheld mixer, beat dairy-free butter and sugar until creamy. Add in vanilla and egg and continue beating until well combined.
- Add dry ingredients to the bowl and beat on low until the dough starts to come together, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. The dough will be quite soft. Chill the dough for 30 minutes before baking to stop the cookies from overspreading in the oven and make it easier to roll.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2 trays with baking paper. Using lightly floured hands, roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place evenly on the trays allowing enough room between them to spread.
- Using your thumb, press an intent into the top of the cookie ball pushing the edges out slightly. Fill the indent with ¼ - ½ teaspoon of jam. Repeat with all cookies.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are just starting to get a bit of colour. Let cool on the tray for 10 minutes to firm up before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the glaze by mixing vanilla and water with the icing sugar until the icing is just thin enough to drizzle over the cookies. Let the glaze set and harden before storing cookies in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.
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