Butter and Jam Thumbprints

Flour is my nemesis.  It seems like every time I set out to bake something tasty I have a nasty fight with the flour.  I don’t mean I end up wearing it or it gets all over the kitchen, I mean I’m always left guessing how the recipe I’m looking at happened to measure the stuff.

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These cookies are a great example of how everything can go wrong in a matter of minutes.  Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic, but when you follow the recipe and end up with sewer cap sized cookies instead of what you expected you get really mad.  (Or I do anyway.)  In fact, I made these cookies years ago and that time they came out perfectly.  There were no notes on my printout of the recipe to tell me I used a different amount of flour or anything.

In the picture below, there are two cookies.  They both looked exactly the same before they went in the oven.  Same size dough ball, same amount of jelly, etc.  The only difference was how much flour was in the dough, the top cookie didn’t have enough flour, the bottom was just right.

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I was ready to give up… baking, the blog, life.  (I told you that I was a being a bit of a drama queen that day.)  Obviously I’m not doing any of that.  Instead, I made a new batch of cookies and I made my husband stand there and help me.  He has this weird sense of when something has the right amount of flour and I wanted him to tell me when I got there.  His secret technique is to touch the dough.  Okay it’s not really a secret, but he is really good at it.  My advice to you is to try to learn how to tell by touch when something has enough flour.  It will save you a lot of stress when baking.  When you touch the dough, it should be tacky, but nothing should stick to your finger.

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Everyone measures flour differently.  Apparently even I measure flour differently each time.  I use a spoon to loosely the flour (aka the enemy) into a measuring cup and level it off with a butter knife.  Needless to say, the flour in the bin settles and if it’s not loosened the same exact way each time then each spoonful into the measuring cup will be different.  That or an alien snuck in and did something funny with it.  😉

I came to an epiphany.  From now on, I will include the weight of flour when it’s important to the recipe.  This is to help me (and you) make sure that we know exactly how much flour to use.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a scale because I’ll still continue to include cup measurements.  However, I highly recommend buying one.  They are inexpensive and dead useful.  (Try to get one that has a higher maximum weight if you have heavy bowls, you’ll thank me.)

I feel like I should also point out that weather (i.e. temperature and humidity) also plays a factor in how much flour to use.  It’s not a big factor, but it can cause a couple gotchas.  For example, I’ve made these cookies three or four times, but all of them at Christmas time when it’s cold and dry outside where I live.  If you make these cookies in the summertime, you may need to adjust the amount of flour (I think a little more because the humidity actually tends to make flour slightly heavier).  Just remember to test the cookie dough like I mentioned and you’ll be just fine no matter what season it is.  🙂

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Just look at how thick and buttery these thumbprint cookies look!  It wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have the right amount of flour.

I love raspberry jam, but you can you use whatever flavor you love.

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Butter and Jam Thumbprints Recipe
(Makes about 24 cookies)


  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (equivalent to 10.0 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter (equivalent to 1 and 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 cup white sugar (divided per the directions)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup jam (I used raspberry jam)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set the dry ingredients aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 2/3 cup sugar until it’s fluffy (about 3 to 5 minutes).  Make sure the butter is at room temperature.
  4. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract.
  5. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  6. Pour the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar into a small bowl.
  7. Scoop about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of cookie dough and roll it into a ball.  Roll each ball around in the bowl of sugar.
  8. Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball.
  9. Fill each indentation with jam.  (The amount will vary based on the size of your thumbs and how hard you press when you make the thumbprints.)
  10. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until you see the edges of the cookies turn golden brown.

Slightly adapted from:  Food Network



4 Hats


Here are some other sassy cookies.

Confetti Cookies

12Confetti Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies

02Brown Sugar Cookies

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

13Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies


  1. Great advice about flour measurements!! I am a lazy flour measurer myself. I just scoop and level but have never had a problem. I love these Thumbprints. They really do look nice and buttery!! 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Hey, if that works for you then more power to ya! 🙂

  2. Ashley says:

    I hear ya – it can be so frustrating, especially when working with yeast! You really do need to learn to “feel” the dough!

    Love these! I have such a soft spot for thumbprints, especially during the holidays!

    1. Tina says:

      I couldn’t agree more!

  3. This is exactly the push I needed to go ahead and buy that kitchen scale, Tina! I had a flour “whoops” recently and was so frustrated I spent a prime time weekend afternoon on frisbee cookies. And I got all drama queen, too. Haha! Love thumbprint cookies and raspberry jam is my favorite!

    1. Tina says:

      With all the cooking and baking that you do I really think that you’ll be happy having a scale around. 🙂

  4. Whoa!!!! I totally get kitchen issues!!! I mope around for the rest of the day when things go wrong! I love the cookie dough tip you gave me since flour in cookies is definitely an issue with me as well! Loving these cookies! I love raspberry jam and can almost taste how buttery these cookies will taste!

    1. Tina says:

      Haha…mope…that’s so me! Glad I’m not the only one.

  5. I’m a lazy flour measure-a (excellent english right there), I should learn that baking requires exact measurements because it always backfires on me. Doh!
    These cookies are cute as, love the raspberry jam too.

    1. Tina says:

      Lol…lazy. I think it’s just because I’m a perfectionist. 😉

  6. Gorgeous! Jam and shortbread remind me of Christmas 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Absolutely a Christmas must-make in my house every year. 🙂

  7. I think the science of baking is amazing! Every ingredient and its amount is so important. Glad you perfected these cookies, Tina. They look good!

    1. Tina says:

      Baking can be kinda crazy, right? Good crazy. 😉

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