Grandma Shirley's Thumbprint Cookies


A cookie so simple, I was able to make it on my first try



To start off my “In Memory Of” series, we have a very personal American treat called thumbprint cookies. These crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth cookies are filled with jam and delicious when hot from the oven. The woman who created this recipe was a wonderful cook and baker, and she often made these cookies with her granddaughter.

This individual recipe came from Hannah Denis, who survives her dear Grandma Shirley, the baker behind these scrumptious thumbprint cookies. Hannah currently resides in Kentucky, but she was born and raised in the United States. Before her grandma passed in 2006, she and Hannah would spend time together on the weekends. These cookies were a constant, and they made them together all the time. Weekend visits to Grandma Shirley’s to bake thumbprint cookies were key, as Hannah’s childhood didn’t hold much stability for a while. But this treat was always there, and even after her grandma was gone, Hannah still bakes them and thinks of her grandma and all the time they spent together.

Dishes in memoriam could be quite the somber topic, but I truly believe that food as a medium for remembrance should be celebratory. How wonderful that these people live in on the food they made for loved ones. So, thank you profusely to Hannah for her submission! My thumbprint cookies turned out luscious, soft, and sweet. Though they are simple, I think this simplicity allows for many people to connect to the dish. 

Since Grandma Shirley passed when Hannah was ten years old, Hannah says that she is starting to forget things like the smell of her perfume or her face. But thumbprint cookies bring back countless memories and good times between them. If you want to find some comfort in the kitchen, this baking process is sure to do the same for you. 

In addition, if you’re intimidated by baking, these simple thumbprint cookies are an excellent place to start. They are both a beautiful dish and a beautiful way to honor Grandma Shirley. 

Watch the Video

Grandma Shirley's Thumbprint Cookies


  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter room temp
  • 1/2 cup Sugar plus 3 tbsp for rolling
  • 2 Large Egg Yolks
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/4 cup Jelly/Jam
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Mix the butter and sugar in a bowl until it turns fluffy and light in color
  • Add egg yolks one at a time
  • Add in the vanilla and mix
  • Add the flour, salt and baking powder until dough is just coming together.
  • Make 1 1/2 tablespoon sized dough balls. Roll into the sugar and place on baking pan.
  • Use your thumb or a small spoon to make an indent in the cookie.
  • Spoon your choice of jelly, jam or preserves to fill.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes or just until the edges are slightly browning.
  • Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!
Course: Dessert
Region: North America
Diet: Vegetarian
Keyword: Comfort food, Kid Friendly


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