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Sour Cherry & Vanilla Thumbprint Cookies

These buttery and soft vanilla thumbprint cookies filled with a tangy sour cherry and vanilla jam will melt in your mouth. You won’t believe just how easy these delicious cookies are to make!

Sour Cherry & Vanilla Thumbprint CookiesThumbprint cookies, jamdrops or Hallongrotta (swedish) – whatever you call them, these cookies are an all time classic. With a shortbread/sugar cookie style biscuit flavoured with vanilla and filled with a good quality jam, they are super simple to make and so delicious. I had forgotten just how much I loved these cookies until I made this batch and I have to say I think they might just be one of my favourites, ever.

On a recent trip through the Blue Mountains, we stopped for morning tea at the Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath. If you have driven through the area you will recognise this hugely opulent white hotel perched on the edge of a cliff looking down into the valley below and giving off some spectacular blue mountain views. Apart from the hotel itself, there is also a cafe and gift shop where travellers can stop and recharge over a coffee and browse the eclectic mix of local wares.

As I was flying carry on only back to Brisbane, I had to be cautious about what I could realistically fit into my cabin luggage so I settled on a couple of interesting food items. I got a raspberry vinegar, a lavender honey and this sour cherry and vanilla jam. Before I even hit the counter I knew I was going to use some of this jam for biscuits, it just seemed perfect.

Sour Cherry & Vanilla Thumbprint CookiesThe quality of jam that you use in these thumbprint cookies is essential. As they are a main flavour point, you don’t want to use something running or too sweet. I would suggest poking around your local markets or independently run grocers to find something delicious. This combination of the sour cherry and vanilla had me licking my spoon which is not something I have ever done before, always finding jam just a bit too sweet. This was perfect!

As a kid I always remember having strawberry flavoured jam drops probably because we always had strawberry jam in the fridge. But this sour cherry and vanilla jam just elevates the flavour of these basic biscuits to make them a favourite among adults as well.

Other jam flavours besides cherry that would work well in these cookies:

  • Raspberry – the original and the best
  • Strawberry – a little sweeter
  • Blueberry – YUM!
  • Apricot – if you’re into that

Literally any jam flavour that you love will be a fine substitution. But if you are ever in the Blue Mountains, find this jam. Otherwise I am pretty sure you can buy it online from their website – handy to know for when I run out!

Sour Cherry & Vanilla Thumbprint CookiesAs for the cookies, they couldn’t really get any simpler with just 5 ingredients all being basic pantry staples. Like with many cookie recipes, sometimes you need to chill the dough, and sometimes you don’t. Realistically you shouldn’t need to with these however I was making them on a very very warm Brisbane day and the dairy-free spread has a tendency to be quite soft so I chilled the dough for about 30 minutes prior to baking. If you live in a colder climate, this shouldn’t be needed however while the dough should be quite soft, you want to be able to roll it into balls so if it is a bit sticky just pop it in the fridge to chill.

Chilling dough not only makes it easier to roll out but helps stop the cookies from over-spreading in the oven which can result in a very flat cookie which is not what we want.

Sour Cherry & Vanilla Thumbprint CookiesDepending on your oven temperature, these can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes to bake. All ovens run differently so it is important to learn what works best with yours. For me, I found 13 minutes was just perfect giving me a crisp outside and soft middle. The cookies are perfect when just starting to get a light golden colour on the edges. They will still be a bit soft when you take them out of the oven, just leave them on the tray to cool for 5-10 minutes so they can firm up before transfering to a wire rack to cook completely.

Thumbprint cookies of course get their name by the fact that you use your thumb to make an indent into the cookie dough ball that is then filled with jam. You can also use your index finger which makes the hole a little more even. If you have longer fingernails, you may want to find something to aid you in making the indent, such as the end of a rolling pin.

Sour Cherry & Vanilla Thumbprint CookiesThese sour cherry and vanilla thumbprint cookies are so simple to make and are the perfect sweet accompaniment to any morning or afternoon tea. Sit back, sip your tea and enjoy a biscuit and relax, pretending you on the balcony looking out at the incredible Blue Mountains.

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.

Sour Cherry & Vanilla Thumbprint Cookies

These buttery and soft vanilla cookies filled with a tangy sour cherry and vanilla jam will melt in your mouth. You won’t believe just how easy these delicious cookies are to make! 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Morning Tea
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 20 cookies
Author: Sally


  • 1 and 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) dairy-free spread*
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sour cherry jam or any flavour you like


  • Preheat oven to 180 and line 2 trays with baking paper.
  • In a medium sized bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat dairy-free spread with a handheld electric mixer until creamy. Add in vanilla and egg and continue beating until well combined. Add in sugar and beat through.
  • 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. Depending on your climate you may wish to chill the dough for 20-30 minutes before baking to stop the cookies from overspreading in the oven.
  • 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 ½ teaspoon of jam. Repeat will all cookies.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 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. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


*I use Nuttelex Buttery to replace butter in most of my recipes as it is dairy-free and gives a 'buttery' flavour without being greasy. As this is an Australian product, the closest US alternative I believe is Earth Balance. Otherwise any dairy-free spread will work.
Not from Australia? Check out my US Conversion Guide.

More easy cookie recipes:

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Snickerdoodle Cookies
Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Classic Ginger Snap Biscuits

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