As far as Christmas cookies go, I love a basic butter cookie: they’re easy to make, crowd-pleasing and have that Old World sensibility that feels somehow appropriate during the holidays.
Simple butter cookie dough is really versatile: You can run it through a cookie press to make Spritz cookies, or roll it out and cut out shapes. In fact, this easy sugar cookie recipe is really a variant on the butter cookie.
If you don’t want to fuss with a cookie press (one of the best kitchen gadgets ever, in my humble opinion), or to roll and cut out shapes, then the easy out is to roll the dough into balls, coat the balls in chopped nuts, press an indentation with your thumb and fill that with jam. Hence: Hazelnut Jam Thumbprint Cookies. Here you go!
raspberry hazelnut thumbprint cookie recipe
makes 4 dozen
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (or almonds or pecans, or any of the above)
Preheat oven to 350°; line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Blend in egg and egg yolk, then stir in vanilla. Stir in flour and salt to blend completely. Scoop teaspoonfuls of dough and roll into balls. Roll each ball in chopped nuts to coat, arrange on baking sheets. Press your thumb deeply in the center of each ball; fill indentations with jam (use two espresso spoons to make this easy). Bake until pale golden, about 12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Cool cookies slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack.