Santa will be happy when you leave out these classic, delicate melt-in-your mouth raspberry lemon shortbread thumbprint cookies. This old-fashioned cookie is the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Shortbread cookies bring back fond memories of my childhood at Christmas. My mom used to bake allot of treats at Christmas. Luckily these thumbprint cookies freeze well. Make them ahead so the days leading up to Christmas more jolly and less stressful.
Helpful baking tips:
Baking these cookies is relatively easy when you follow these tips.
- Use a tiny spoon for inserting the jam. I used a small coffee spoon.
- Chill the dough at least 15 minutes. You want it chilled, but not too cold otherwise it is too stiff to work with.
- Incorporate any flavor additions or changes such as vanilla or almond extract when you mix the butter and sugar.
- Let the cookies cool at least 2.5 minutes before taking them off the cookie sheet.
- A lower temperature oven and longer cooking time allows for a whiter cookie. Shortbread should look as white as snow.
- Ovens vary, so check at 20 minutes.
- Make sure the oven rack is not at the bottom of your oven. Move it to the middle or lower 3/4 of the oven.
- Rotate the baking sheet part-way through the bake.
- There aren’t any substitutions for the butter. Sorry! Use unsalted butter for baking.
For this recipe, I used raspberry jam from Puget Sound Jams. Oh my gosh! I’m in LOVE with this tasty jam! I highly recommend finding a local preserve or jam product. Not only will you be supporting one of your local businesses, but you’re likely to find great products made with local fruit or produce. If you’re in the greater Seattle area, give Puget Sound Jams a try. They’re available a most major grocers.
Since I’m gluten-free, I made some minor adjustments to the recipe so I could also enjoy them. I’m quite happy with how they turned out. They melt in your mouth and have a delicate texture. If you use an all-purpose gluten free flour blend, the only difference you may notice is that they may not be as pure white. For the gluten-free adaptation, see the “notes” section of the recipe card below.
May your days be merry and bright in your kitchen this holiday season. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
Useful kitchen tools for this recipe:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1/2 tbsp plus 1 tsp limoncello (lemon liqueur) or lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest finely grated
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Raspberry jam
In a stand mixer, combine the butter and confectioners' sugar and beat until creamy. Add the limoncello and zest. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.
Slowly incorporate the cornstarch and flour until well mixed. Cover and chill the dough at least 15 minutes.
Heat the oven to 300 F. Shape the dough in small 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Make a small indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb. Fill with raspberry jam (about 1/4 tsp). Bake for 20 - 24 minutes.
For a snowy effect, sift a small amount of confectioners' sugar over the cookies after they cool.
- Use 1/2 cup cornstarch, plus 1 tbsp cornstarch (in place of 1/2 cup cornstarch above)
- Use 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (in place of 1 cup all-purpose flour above)