Tart Cherry Thumbprint Cookies


Total Time: 60 minutes
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 36 cookies
Level: Intermediate


  • Cookie dough
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Filling and topping
  • ½ cup tart cherry jam (optional)
  • 1 can (21 ounces) tart cherry pie filling


Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. (If you don’t have 3 baking sheets you can bake the cookies in batches.) In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt baking soda and baking powder.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 2/3 cup sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add cream cheese, egg and vanilla and beat until evenly combined, about 60 seconds. Stop the machine and add the flour mixture. Turn the mixer on low and mix until fully incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and bring it together with your hands. Divide the dough in half. Place a bowl of warm water near your work surface.

Using a one-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop half of the dough into portions. Dip your hands in the warm water and roll the dough into balls. Transfer the dough balls to the baking sheets, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Using a greased 1-tablespoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball. If you get any cracks on the edges of the dough, give them a gentle squeeze. Transfer the pans to the refrigerator and chill the cookies for at least 10 minutes, or up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Bake until the cookies just begin to set, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks (do not turn off the oven). Gently reshape the indentation in the center of each cookie with the greased measuring spoon.

If using jam, place the jam in a 1-cup liquid measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, and microwave until loose and bubbling around the edges, about 30 seconds. Carefully fill each indentation with 1 teaspoon of the warmed jam.

Return the cookies to the oven and bake until they begin to turn golden around the edges, switching and rotating sheets halfway through the baking, about 8 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks. Top each cookie with a tart cherry from the tart cherry pie filling.