Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

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This thumbprint cookies recipe is one of the many wonderful cookies I baked with the family I stayed with in Germany when I was eighteen.

If you’ve never been to Germany, I can tell you that these people take their Christmas baking VERY seriously. It’s an entire production that can last for days or even weeks on end.

A stack of these thumbprint cookies sit in a decorative bowl.

And the worst part? They didn’t even splurge on a few cookies while they were baking them. Every last cookie got packed away for the pending holiday.

As an 18-year-old experiencing an explosion of fabulously foreign flavors in a new country, I can tell you that this was most distressing. I mean, who bakes all those cookies and then doesn’t even eat ONE stinkin’ sample cookie??!!

I can tell you I entered a few choice words in my journal that night.  But outside of that, I thoroughly enjoyed the process… and in the end… the cookies! And yes, they were worth the wait.

And don’t be afraid of the butter. It’s real food, it’s clean in moderation, and this time of year, it’s totally okay to enjoy a treat.

These are very hearty cookies, but also have a delicate nature to them. They are not coarse, but surprisingly smooth in texture, though if you are used to the mainstream version, you may find these a bit heavier in your tummy than what you usually have.


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Clean Eating German Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint Cookies Recipe 

The measurements below might look a little odd. I had to convert the recipe from the metric system
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time:: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 36 cookies (approximately)
Calories: 101kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry


  • Cookie Sheets


  • cup butter
  • cup honey
  • 2 large eggs (separate whites and yolks – you'll use both separately)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour + 1 tbsp.
  • ¾ cup whole hazelnuts
  • ¾ cup jam (100% fruit spread, no sugar added – 1 tsp. per cookie)


  • Beat together your butter, honey, egg yolks, and vanilla till creamy.
  • Fold flour under.
  • Allow to chill in fridge for 2-3 hours.
  • Roll a ½ walnut sized portion of dough into a ball. Form thumbprint area in the middle.
  • Roll in egg whites, then in hazelnuts.
  • Fill with jam and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 325 F.


Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 37mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 122IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

This recipe from The Gracious Pantry archives. First published: Dec 16, 2009.

Clean Eating Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
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  1. Starting a baking blog has not been kind to my waistline. It’s almost like the word “diet” fell out of my vocabulary permanently. I find your nutritional info especially useful. I’d love to try these.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Hi Heather,

      I know what you mean. It’s a constant challenge for me around here. But one thing I’ve learned is that shortcuts really add up. Maybe you have one less piece of bread here, or half the amount of milk there. After a while, you’ve really reduced your calorie intake and you didn’t even notice. I forget this often, but I do try to remember whenever I can. It really helps.

      Let me know what you think of the cookies!

  2. I’d love to make a local-flavor version of this cookie… do you think jelly would work as well as jam, or is it too soft? I can only find the fruit I want to use in jelly or marmalade.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Eniale – I think it would work just fine. It’s in a “contained space”, so it’s not going anywhere. Should work great!

  3. graciouspantry says:

    Sorry, I really don’t know anything about gluten free living. Try Elana’s Pantry. She has a lot of gluten free recipes.

  4. Bethany @ Athletic Avocado says:

    I can never eat just one cookie after baking, its impossible! At least these cookies are healthy so I won’t feel bad if I eat two or three!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Bethany – I think there would be something wrong with you if you only ate one. LOL!

  5. Have you ever made these with all purpose flour? Do they use whole wheat flour in Germany as well?

    1. Jayme – I have never made them with white flour. This recipe is written how it was taught to me there. They do, of course, have plenty of baked goods that use white flour in Germany. But this particular recipe was always made with whole wheat.

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