These Maraschino Cherry Thumbprint Cookies have a buttery cookie that is rolled in pecans, then baked with an indent in the middle. The filling is icing made from the maraschino cherry juice, powdered sugar and milk. Next, a cherry on top followed by a drizzle of white or dark chocolate. This well-loved family recipe is always the first to disappear from the cookie platter!
I'm sharing this recipe today from Happy Holiday Recipes. These cherry thumbprint cookies are so pretty that I think I might just have to make them again for Valentine's Day! This recipe was originally adapted from Taste of Home.
The dough is easy to work with and you can roll the cookies in pecans, walnuts or finely chopped almonds.
I hop you enjoy them as much as we do!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- All purpose flour
- Butter - bring butter to room temperature before baking. If you're kitchen is very warm, bring the butter to room temperature in a cooler place. A kitchen windowsill, for example, on a hot day would make the butter too soft and cookies will spread.
- Shortening - You can also omit the shortening and replace it with an equal amount of butter. The original recipe calls for shortening and it always turns out perfectly!
- Eggs - use large eggs at room temperature.
- Vanilla - I like to use pure vanilla extract in all of my baking recipes for the best flavor.
- Brown Sugar - I use light brown sugar for this recipe.
- Pecans - the original recipe called for almond, which you could use. I preferred the softness and flavor of the pecans. You could also substitute pecans.
- Maraschino cherries (and the juice)
- Powdered sugar
- Milk - I use 1% milk but you could use 2% or whole milk as well.
- White chocolate or milk chocolate for drizzling - I used Lindt chocolate or you can use your favorite brand.
Step by Step Instructions
I like to use a stand mixer for this recipe. You can also use a large bowl with an electric hand mixer. It is not an easy recipe to mix by hand since the creaming of the first ingredients takes 5 to 7 minutes!
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
(The dough is going to require 30 minutes of chill time, so I have not written a note to preheat the oven here).
In a large mixing bowl, or bowl from stand mixer, cream butter, shortening, brown sugar and salt until light and fluffy. This will take 5 to 7 full minutes and the mixture should be pale and creamy in color.
Next, beat in egg yolk (save the egg white) and vanilla extract until well-combined.
Gradually add the flour to the creamed mixture. Refrigerate cookie dough for 30 minutes. It should be easy to handle. Chilling will ensure that the cookies do not spread during baking.
Preheat the oven before the dough is done chilling.
In a shallow bowl, whisk egg white until foamy. Place chopped pecans in a separate shallow bowl.
Use a cookie scoop to measure, then shape dough into 1 and ¼-inch balls. Dip balls in egg white, then roll in pecans.
Place cookie dough balls 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
Make a deep indentation in the centre of each cookie with your thumb or a small spoon.
Bake in 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes until edges are light brown.
Transfer to wire cooling racks.
For the filling: In a small bowl, beat powdered sugar, cherry juice, butter and milk until smooth. Fill each cookie (indentation) with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of the cherry filling. You may need to add either a little more cherry juice or a little more powdered sugar to reach the desired consistency. Mixture should be smooth and not too runny.
Tip: When you're filling the indentation with the cherry filling, keep in mind that the filling will ooze out once you press the cherry in the middle. Less is more.
Top with a maraschino cherry.
Melt chocolate in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring periodically. Drizzle melted chocolate on top of cookies. Let stand until set. (a few hours)