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These Thumbprint Cookies with Icing are topped with walnuts, filled with buttercream icing and are the perfect addition to your holiday cookie round up!
I feel like thumbprint cookies are a classic holiday cookie, don’t you? These walnut thumbprint cookies are a fun spin on the traditional recipe and they’re filled with ICING instead of jelly or jam.
…I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the latter, but in most cases, I think people prefer icing over jam. Plus, the red and green make these walnut thumbprints look even more festive.
If you can believe it, my mom used to make ten (!!!) different kinds of cookies, including buckeyes, cut out sugar cookies and these thumbprint cookies with icing. I don’t think this is her exact recipe, but it’s the same concept: thumbprint cookies rolled in crushed walnuts and filled with colorful buttercream icing.
*Note that, though many of my recipes tend to be healthier, a handful of holiday cookie recipes are not, including these 🙂 I haven't tried making them "healthy" and instead prefer them as-is; however, if you want to try making substitutions, go for it!
Flour - I've only tested this recipe using all purpose flour; if you want to make these gluten free, I imagine a gluten free 1:1 baking flour would work.
Sugar - Can sub cane sugar instead of brown sugar
Egg - Can use flax egg instead (1 tbsp flaxseed meal + 2.5 tbsp water)
Step 1: Grind walnuts. Place the walnuts in your food processor and pulse until they're small and crumb-like, approximately 20 seconds.
Step 2: Create cookie dough. In one bowl, stir the flour, baking soda and salt together. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg and vanilla. Last, combine the wet and dry ingredients, then stir in HALF of the crushed walnuts.
Step 3: Roll the dough. Once your dough is prepared, use your hands to form the dough into golf ball-sized balls, and then roll them in the crushed walnuts and place them directly onto a baking sheet.
Step 4: Bake. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, then carefully remove them from the oven, and use your thumb to press a thumbprint into the middle of each cookie, then bake the cookies for 5 minutes longer.
Step 5: Add icing. Once the cookies have cooled, you'll fill them with icing, either by piping the icing or spooning it into the cookies (shown below).
- Make sure use HALF of the walnuts in the actual cookie dough, and save the other half for rolling.
- I used a spoon and scooped icing into the center, but you can pipe the icing if you prefer—whatever you’re more comfortable with!
- To make these vegan: use 1 flax egg and vegan butter
Do I have to use food coloring?
Nope! I almost never use food coloring, but it does help to make these cooking a little more festive.
How should I store these?
Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. To freeze: wait for cookies to cool, then place them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 2 months.
I love these thumbprint cookies with icing so much and I think you will too. They’re a fun take on a classic cookie and filled with BUTTERCREAM. After all, who doesn’t love buttercream?
More cookie recipes
- Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies
- No Bake Breakfast Cookies
- Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Thumbprint Cookies with Icing
for the cookies:
for the buttercream:
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 2 tbsp milk of choice
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- A few drops red and/or green food coloring optional
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Place walnuts in your food processor and pulse for about 20 seconds; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together, then add egg and vanilla and stir to combine. Next, combine wet and dry ingredients. Be patient with this step -- this could take 30-60 seconds until the dough comes together. If the dough is still too dry, add 1 tbsp milk.
- Stir HALF of the crushed walnuts (1/2 cup) into the dough. Roll dough into balls then roll the balls into the remaining crushed walnuts and place them 2 inches apart on a lined baking sheet.
- Bake cookies for 10 minutes; then, remove them from the oven and carefully use your thumb to press a thumbprint into the center of each cookie. Place cookies back into the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and onto a cooling rack.
- While cookies are cooling, make the buttercream. Whisk butter and milk together, then add the powdered sugar and stir until smooth. If you choose to add food coloring, do so as this time. Wait until the cookies have cooled before adding the buttercream.
- You may pipe the icing or simply use a spoon to scoop it into the center of each cookie.
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in December 2018. It was updated with new text in October 2020.