Thumbprints With Dulce de Leche, Nutella or Jam Recipe (2024)

By Susan Spungen

Thumbprints With Dulce de Leche, Nutella or Jam Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour, plus chilling
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Thumbprints are the simplest of cookies, but these are packed with flavor from freshly toasted nuts, each paired with its own filling: pecans with dulce de leche (or homemade caramel sauce, if you have some on hand), hazelnuts with Nutella, or pistachios with a festive pool of red currant jelly in the center. Choose a single combination, or make a batch of each. These cookies benefit from forming the thumbprint halfway through baking, but if you can't take the heat, let the dough soften a bit and then press the thumbprints into the dough before baking.

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Yield:3 dozen cookies

  • 3ounces/85 grams whole hazelnuts (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons), whole pecans (¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons), or whole pistachios (about ⅔ cup)
  • cups/290 grams all-purpose flour, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • cup/135 grams granulated sugar
  • 2large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½teaspoon kosher salt
  • cup dulce de leche (for pecan cookies), Nutella (for hazelnut cookies) or red currant jelly (for pistachio cookies), for filling
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (36 servings)

117 calories; 7 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 5 grams sugars; 1 gram protein; 57 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Thumbprints With Dulce de Leche, Nutella or Jam Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts or pecans out on a small baking sheet and cook in oven, shaking several times, until toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. If using hazelnuts, transfer to a bowl to cool, cover with a folded dish towel, then rub off the skins. (No need to toast the pistachios.)

  2. Step


    Once cooled, transfer the nuts to a food processor, preferably a mini one. Add 2 teaspoons flour and pulse just until nuts are finely ground, being careful not to overprocess.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bowl as needed. Add egg yolks and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl a few times as needed.

  4. Step


    Add ½ cup ground nuts, the salt and the remaining 2¼ cups flour; beat on low speed just until combined, then increase speed and beat until dough starts to clump together. Scrape the bowl and fold a few times to make sure everything is well mixed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, flatten into a disk, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

  5. Step


    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pinch off small pieces of dough the size of a rounded tablespoon (about 20 grams each) and roll the top half of each one in the remaining ground nuts. Place a few inches apart on parchment- or silicone mat-lined baking sheets. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 10 minutes.

  6. Step


    Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and make a thumbprint in each cookie. Bake until golden brown on the bottom, and nuts are looking toasty but not burned, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheets and transfer to wire racks to cool further. While the cookies are still a little warm, fill each one with about ½ teaspoon of filling, and cool completely. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.



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Cooking Notes


Loved these, did the pistachios with currant jelly...but the next time I will put the jelly in right after the thumbprint stage so that it Cooks for a bit in the oven. Otherwise, these don't travel well as the jelly just sits there and gets on other cookies if you try to bag them up. Also, used a wine cork to make the thumbprints! Worked perfectly.


Substituted walnuts and raspberry jam. Perfection! The perfect nostalgic cookie for the holidays.


I suggest rolling the chilled dough balls in egg white before rolling in chopped nuts. Nut pieces don’t stick well otherwise


Made pistachio cookies and filled them with lemon curd.... delicious.


To make the "thumbprint" without burning my hands, I took a thick wooden spoon and used the end to push in to the cookies. It worked beautifully - nice even prints without splitting the cookies.


use wine cork to make thumbprint


Made with pistachios and raspberry jam to include in Christmas assortment. Can I just say how much I LOVE recipes that specify ingredient weights? So much more precise!

Heather G

Cooking these for 25 years and just now came up with a great technique: use the outside of a melon-baller to make "thumbprints." It made the right size and shape, was faster, less messy (and less burn-y). Also, I always seem to cook the cookies twice as long as the recipe to get them brown and jam melted. And no, it's not my oven. It's a longstanding pattern and I have a new oven. Go figure.

Juliet Jones

British lady here (saying that because we don't have a tradition of making cookies for Christmas and I've never made them before). So.... Recipe does not say what SHAPE the pieces of dough need to be, so I assumed they needed to be spherical, like balls, because instructions say to place them "a few inches apart". I assumed they would flatten and spread as they baked. They don't! So in case anyone else is new to this, make them flattish and no need to separate much at all. And they took longer.


I advise letting the dough warm up a little before trying to get the chopped nuts to stick. I rolled little balls and flattened them out using my hands. The warmth from my hands was the perfect temperature for the cookies to soften a little, allowing the nuts to stick to the dough. I saw some notes that mentioned the jelly didn’t work well with packing, so I added the jelly at the same time that I made the thumbprints. I did have to increase the baking time but it helped the jelly stay put :)

Sharon Green

We make 12 kinds of Christmas cookies every year, mostly repeats because the recipients expect to find their favorite cookie in their gift. We thought a "modern" cookie would be fun. WRONG. This cookie was a dud in everyone's opinion. Using Nutella it cannot be stored in tins, because the Nutella stays liquid and cannot be covered with another layer of cookies. The cookie itself was a shortbread which was very dry. This cookie will not be repeated next Christmas or ever.


Instead of the dulce, I’ve gone with a whiskey caramel and the red currant jelly was switched out for cranberry. I HIGHLY recommend it. By far the best cookies I’ve made!


Gently and very slightly tamp them with the the lid of a bottle of vanilla or a 1/2-teaspoon measure, just barely deep enough to hold the filling.


Halfway through the preparation I realised I only had salted butter. So I substituted half the butter with coconut fat. Its nutty flavour matched the hazelnuts and pistachios so well! And the consistency was a perfect balance of soft and crumbly.Also, take care with the amount of jam/ nutella, it can easily overpower the more subtle flavours of the cookie itself. Overall delicious!


One of my new favorite recipes! Substituted toasted macadamia nuts and orange marmalade, then drizzled with white chocolate.


I used store-bought almond flour instead of roasting/grinding my own nuts. I skipped rolling in extra nuts. I used raspberry jam. Like some other reviewers, I added the jam when I made the thumbprints so that it could set during baking. This worked out well. They were an absolutely delicious addition to my holiday cookie gifts. The raspberry and almond combination was lovely.


I made this with hazelnut and a chocolate-almond spread (since that's what was available) - still very tasty and a hit with my friends. I'm planning to make a double batch again this week.


Things I found helpful (made the pistachio option):1. Food processor is fine for nuts in the batter but chopping the nuts reserved for rolling creates a much better texture and look2. A wine cork makes a great print, I pushed in just until cracks started to form and had a generous jam filling 3. Fill jam at the same time as making the print for a more set jam. Use whatever jam you want! 4. Dip the balls in egg white, then roll in nuts for an even easy coating

Foodie 808

Cookies came out great, especially when filled with dulce de leche. I recommend chopping the nuts finely by hand instead of using a food processor, which doesn't give you as much control and can easily turn nuts into nut butter.

Foodie 808

Another tip - use a melon baller to easily make uniform sized thumbprints.


Low sugar Trader’s Joe’s raspberry jam with walnuts worked well1/2 recipe is okay - try less sugar in cookies


Made this so many times now - pecan with raspberry jam is a family favorite! Good quality butter makes a big difference.


I made these with pecans and filled the thumbprint with an apricot jalapeno jam. I also used half whole wheat flour and half white. They were amazing!


Delicious !Also used a wine cork to make thumbprints. We used pistachios — delicious!Agree that jam just sits on top if not baked for a few minutes. We used jalapeño raspberry jam in some of them for a little zing.


I made mine with crushed pistachios and put pistachio cream on top. A real treat.

Val Thorson

The suggested 20 grams of dough per cookie will yield only about 2 dozen cookies.


Made them with pistachios and bitter orange marmalade, YUM!


I second the person who suggested pairing pistachios and lemon curd - delicious!


Mine, on first try, taste better than they look. Agree with comment that a little more clarity re shaping the dough before baking would be helpful.


Absolutely delicious. I've made the variety with pecans and dulce de leche a couple of times, following the recipe as given and used a thimble rather than my thumb for the indentations. These are a sophisticated version of my mother's "thimble cookies" and a special treat to add to a holiday cookie line-up. They freeze really well, if kept in a single layer.

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Thumbprints With Dulce de Leche, Nutella or Jam Recipe (2024)


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