Angel Thumbprints

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Angel Thumbprints

I can’t believe that I am sharing this recipe. I feel a little bit like guilty. This is my grandma Graces recipe, and we have been eating them since I was a baby. Of all the Christmas cookies we bake each year, Angel thumbprints are probably my favorites- the buttery cookie, and the sweet baked jam are heaven. We make these mostly around Christmas, but they are also beautiful for a spring party or a shower. They are filled with my homemade jams: apricot, strawberry, blackberry and raspberries. They look like little jewels!


Maybe I shouldn’t feel guilty, but rather excited that so many people will have access to one of her special recipes. I promise that if you make these, they will become a family favorite for you too.

I would like to add that Pia chose her apron very carefully when she heard that we were making “Angel” Thumbprints. It is so great to see how children interpret things, as this was the most “angelic” of the aprons in her opinion!


(If you would like these cookies a little chewier, you can add some crushed walnuts or pecans to the dough.)

Angel Thumbprints, makes 3 dozen
1 cup soften salted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
(1/2 cup of toasted crushed nuts if desired)

Cream butter and brown sugar until creamy, and then add vanilla.



In a separate bowl combine salt, and flour.


Add the dry ingredients (and nuts if desired) to the butter and brown sugar.



Form 2Tbs of dough at a time into balls and place on a baking sheet.


With your thumb, gently press an indentation in the middle of each ball.


In the indentation, place about 1 tsp of jam or jelly.



Bake these cookies at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Set them on a cooling rack to cool.





Here is Pia being a ballerina in her “angel princess” apron. (She spends the bulk of her time twirling these days).






Leave a Reply


  1. Vicki B says:

    Grandma cookies are so special. I look forward to making these. I’;ll send you my mom’s Angel cookie. Made with powdered sugar it explodes in your mouth.

  2. Kristin says:

    I LOVE these old-fashioned type recipes from our Grandmother’s – they are the best! Enjoyed Pia’s ballet moves too :)

  3. Allison E says:

    Heather – these are SPECTACULAR! I needed to make cookies with Gigi for Santa and these fit the bill. They were easy and so delicious!! Thank you!

  4. Vicki in GA says:

    The REAL angel is …. PIA! I adore these cookies and had forgotten how easy they are to make. Merry Christmas to a lovely lovely lady way across the country from me.
    I adore you and your girls.

  5. Chef Dennis says:

    your cookies are gorgeous!! they do look like little jewels! You have just immortalized your grandmother by sharing her recipe! I use to struggle over sharing complete recipes, but I would rather have many people enjoy them then to have them die with

  6. Tara says:

    Can’t wait to make these. Your web-site is fantastic and your little girl is just precious. Thanks for sharing a family favorite.

  7. Jenjenk says:

    How do you make this look so quick & easy?!! these look wonderful! love the pictures of your girl!!

  8. Carmel says:

    Great recipe! They are light and flaky yet buttery rich, and not too sweet which I prefer. They are especially good the next day when the butter has aged a bit. Superb.

    • Oh! I am so glad that you made them. That recipe is generations old in my family- I hope you will enjoy it as much as we all have!

  9. Alisa Kokx says:

    I had 14 of our dearest friends over for a Friday night surprise 49th birthday party for my husband. I spent the day baking (a real treat!) and then hid it all in my son’s bedroom. When the friends showed up at our front door at 8pm, boy was my husband surprised! Then everyone was surprised when I retrieved from the bedroom: Smores Cake, Angel Thumbprints, Dark Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies, Amazing Pumpkin Muffins, and Smores Cookies! Your recipes received wonderful compliments. Thanks for making my party planning so easy! At the end of the night everyone went home with extra slices of cake (I also had made and Angel Food Cake) and cookies. Fun! Angel Thumbprints are wonderful (the brown sugar makes them special!).

    • This is the most wonderful comment ever! I am so incredibly happy that everything worked out for you and that people liked the sweets! (What a Fab wife you are!)

  10. Liz Vadset-Olver says:

    Hi Heather, just wanted to let you know that I baked these a couple of days ago, I baked 2 batches actually and they are absolutely delicious. I will be making many more of these for Christmas. I did something different with the 2nd batch. I did roll them into balls but I didn’t put a hole in the center and fill with jelly, I left them in a ball shape and inserted a half of a maraschino cherry into the center. Mahalo for sharing , grandma’s always have the best recipes. I know this because I’m a grandma! :) (Tutu is Hawaiian for grandma…I’m tutu to 5 grandsugars.)

  11. jenjenk says:

    i adore these cookies…i absolutely love getting them from people!!! I think of this cookie as a true labor of love with the spoonfuls of jam on each cookie, not like the lazy slice & bakes that i do! ;-) this is FANCY!!!

    • no! these are easy, easy, easy! there are not even any eggs to crack!! you will love this recipe!

  12. Carmel says:

    Simply AMAZING!!! Leave them out for at least one day to let the flavor of the butter age a bit before serving. Seriously awesome!