thumbprint cookies

thumbprint cookiesI’ve been going through some of my vintage cookbooks.  One of my all-time favourites is the Purity Cookbook.  This cookbook was one of Canada’s earliest printed collections of recipes.  The first edition was in 1917 and my edition is from 1967.  My mom, paternal and maternal grandmothers all had this in their repertoire of cookbooks. Every good cook did!  Each section has a brief introduction on how-to or what not to do with the recipes.  The cookies and squares section gives good advice when baking with only one oven rack or if baking with two trays, never place one directly under the other.  Always cool cookies on a rack.  I love making vintage cookies.  Thumbprint cookies evoke memories of the women in my life who enjoyed baking.

I always bake more sweets during the runup of the Christmas season.  My mom would begin her holiday cooking towards the end of this month.  The freezer and cookie tins would be full of goodies by the second week in December.  The house always smelled like a bakery.  My siblings and I would secretly raid the cookie tins.  Of course, we would get into trouble but that never deterred us from having sticky fingers. 🙂

Thumbprint cookies have been around since the 19th century.  However, there’s a  dispute about its origin. It is often credited to either the people of Poland, Sweden, or the Jewish people of Eastern Europe.  No matter the origin, these shortbread-tasting cookies are delicious!

Preheat oven to 350f (180c)

cream together

1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup sugar


1 well-beaten egg yolk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
zest from one lemon

Beat well.


1 cup sifted flour

Combine until well blended.

Shape dough into one-inch balls. Add a slightly beaten egg white in a bowl then dip balls. In another bowl, add about 1/2 cup of shredded coconut. Roll dipped balls into coconut. Place coconut-covered balls onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Use your thumb to gently indent the center of each cookie. thumbprint cookiesBake for 10 to 15 minutes. After 5 minutes check to see if the indent is holding. If not, quickly indent the centers a second time. thumbprint cookies Remove from oven and fill hot cookies with jam or jelly.

the culinary chase’s note:

I rolled half the cookies in granulated sugar and the other in the coconut. I preferred the coconut. You can also use finely chopped nuts.  Enjoy!