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Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies

These cookies will make everyone else at the cookie swap crimson with jelly - or jealousy, whichever you prefer.
Cook Time 15 mins
Jam Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 24 cookies


  • Heavy bottomed saucepan
  • Fine mesh strainer (optional)
  • Cookie sheet
  • Mixer


For the jam

  • 280 g fresh cranberries
  • 160 g sugar
  • 1 orange

For the cookies

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (room temperature) (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz semi sweet chocolate, melted (for topping)


For the jam

  • Place the cranberries and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Zest the orange into the pan, then slice in half and squeeze the juice over the mixture. Set the heat at medium-low and allow to cook, undisturbed after stirring once to incorporate all of the orange zest. The cranberries should begin to break down after about 15-20 minutes; you can help them along by squishing them with the back of a spoon once they get soft.
  • Once the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat. If you want a smooth jelly, strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl, pressing down on the cranberry solids with your spoon to remove as much liquid as possible. Allow to cool and thicken to a jelly texture. Store the leftover solids once cool in the refrigerator for another purpose.

For the cookies

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in another bowl until well incorporated. Beat the egg and vanilla into the butter mixture until combined, then slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer on the lowest setting until a dough forms.
  • Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough out and roll into a ball with your hands. Place the dough balls on a greased baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart from each other. Carefully make an indentation in each dough ball with your thumb, deep enough to form a well without breaking the bottom.
  • Stir your cooled jelly to roughen the texture up so it's easily spoonable. Carefully spoon enough jelly to fill each well to the top. Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes, until they start to turn golden at the edges and bottom. The tops will stay light, so don't worry. Allow to cool on a baking rack, and then drizzle with a fork dipped into the melted chocolate.


  • I was lucky enough to have a huge baking sheet that would fit all 24 cookies into it comfortably. If you have to bake in batches, use separate cookies sheets or allow your one sheet to cool completely between batches. Placing cookies on a hot sheet could make the butter melt too quickly, leaving you a mess of spilled jam and butter to clean out of the bottom of your oven.
Keyword christmas cookies, cookies, cranberries, dessert, holiday