April 04, 2010

Lemon Drop Thumbprints

Second only to chocolate chip cookies, thumbprints are the most requested cookie from my friends and family. I make all different varieties, some with coconut, some with chocolate, most with jam centers.

I was thinking that after last week's scone post, you may have run out to buy lemon curd to go with your scones. Potentially, there is now half a jar sitting in your refrigerator! What to do with it...well, you could always make more scones, or even eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon, like I'm always tempted to do. (No, I wasn't kidding!) Option #3- make delicious lemon drop thumbprint cookies!

There is something about thumbprint cookies that keep you coming back for more. I love the addition of the lemon curd--but it almost doesn't matter what you fill them with. Upon first bite you think...simple, nothing special or fancy here. Then you eat another...and another...trying to figure out how this no-frills cookie can be so good! While pondering your explanation, you look down and discover you've just eaten the WHOLE PLATE of cookies on your quest of unleashing their secrets!

That's just it! The fact that they are JUST butter cookies holding a little filling makes them irresistibly perfect! Life's greatest pleasures aren't always luxurious or extravagant. Consider family picnics in spring, hiking down a mountain trail to a little-known waterfall, taking time to bask in the sun after a week of rain. I often find the simplest things can be the most gratifying!

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. -Robert Brault

To add to perfection, they are easy to make and fun for little helpers!


Lemon Drop Thumbprints

3 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Zest of one lemon
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
Lemon curd
2 Tb. turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 350*. With an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest together until smooth. Scrape the bowl with a spatula. Turn the mixer on low and add the salt. Add the flour a little at a time, until it is just combined.

Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1 oz. balls—about 1 ½ tablespoons. Place them on the cookie sheets and press with your thumb. It helps them to keep their shape if you hold the sides of the cookie with the other index finger and thumb. Press any cracks back into place.

Fill each indention with a scant ¼ tsp. of lemon curd. (Use just a little more if filling with jam.) Bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove them from the oven and immediately sprinkle the edges with turbinado sugar!

Makes about 3 dozen.


  1. I love citrus flavor in desserts. Thanks for thsi dessert, I would try it soon.

    Chitra Ahluwalia Pal

  2. I love lemon and really love thumbprints. It never occurred to me to try thumbprint cookies this way. Thanks! I will try it!

  3. I LOVE thumbprint cookies - something about them always reminds me of my childhood!


  4. Ooh lemon curd in thumbprints! There's something I've never tried! Looks delicious!

  5. These look gorgeous, Sommer! I will come back to this recipe to make as petite little gifts in the future, as they are so pretty and sound delicious. I generally am not attracted to "jam" cookies, as I find them too sweet, but a lemon curd center changes everything! Yum.

  6. charming! delicious looking little cookies.

  7. I made lemon curd thumbprints last month and the curd bubbled up in the oven and spilled over! They didn't look half as adorable as yours but they still tasted pretty good. Now I see you've used just 1/4 tsp for each cookie; wish I'd seen your recipe sooner LOL

  8. I love using lemon in baking. These sound wonderful. I saved your recipe for next time when I make cookies.

  9. I love lemon desserts and baked goods. These look lovely!


I love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for taking the time. If you have a question, I'll get back to you ASAP!