Healthy Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

These healthy thumbprint cookies are one of the many wonderful cookie recipes 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 healthy 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 one of those Christmas cookies 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!

What Are These Cookies Like?

These are soft but hearty cookies. But they 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.

What Kind Of Jam Should You Use In Healthy Thumbprint Cookies?

You want to look for a 100% fruit spread with no sugar added. Many stores carry them, you just have to look at ingredients lists to find them. They are not usually called jam or jelly, but rather, “fruit spread”. This can change from region to region, however, so you’ll need to take the time to look. The bigger the grocery store, the bigger the chances of finding something like this. And of course, places like Whole Foods will always have them or you can order from Amazon.

Good Flavors To Use In This Recipe:

  • raspberry jam (or spread)
  • apricot jam (or spread)
  • strawberry jam (or spread)
  • whatever your favorite jam is (or spread)

Recipe Variations

Honey – You can substitute honey for maple syrup if you want a milder sweetness.

Butter – You can use vegan or dairy-free butter if you need this to be dairy free.

Filling – If you want to experiment a bit, try filling these with fresh blueberries or even peanut butter.

Coating – You can mix a bit of coconut sugar or Sucanat in with the chopped hazelnuts to make these sweeter.

Base – Dip the bottoms of these cookies into melted chocolate. I like to melt mine in a small slow cooker. Once melted, I set the slow cooker to the “warm” setting, and the chocolate will keep well for at least an hour. This gives you plenty of time to dip!

About The Ingredients

Butter – You can use salted butter if that’s all you have, but unsalted is always better for baking. The butter is best used softened.

Honey – Any type you prefer to use is fine. You could potentially use maple syrup in equal amounts, but the cookies won’t taste as sweet with maple syrup.

Large eggs – Separate whites and yolks. Don’t worry, you’ll use both. The eggs are best used at room temperature.

Pure vanilla extract – Definitely avoid vanilla flavoring. It’s never as good and has unwanted ingredients. If you prefer, you can use almond extract instead, or in addition to the vanilla. About a half teaspoon should be plenty.

Whole wheat pastry flour – If you can’t find it, then look for White Whole Wheat Flour. It’s more readily available and is the next best thing to whole wheat pastry flour. In theory, you could use regular whole wheat flour. But that will make these cookies very dense indeed.

Whole hazelnuts – Purchase these pre-roasted, but not salted (if given the choice. They don’t usually come salted) You can also use raw almonds if you prefer. Raw walnuts work well too.

Jam – Look for 100% fruit spread, no sugar added.

Salt – This is optional. We never used it, but some folks like to add at least a quarter of a teaspoon of salt to their baking to help bring out the sweetness. I highly recommend this if you opt for using maple syrup instead of honey.

How To Make Healthy Thumbprint Cookies

Beat together your butter, honey, egg yolks, and vanilla till creamy.

Gently fold the flour into the egg mixture.

Allow it to chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 F. and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Healthy thumbprint cookies lined up on a parchment-lined cookie sheet that are not yet filled with jam.

Roll a ½ walnut-sized portion of cookie dough into a ball. Using your thumb, press a thumbprint or indentation in the middle.

Roll the cookie in egg whites, then in the chopped hazelnuts.

Fill with jam and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

How To Store Healthy Thumbprint Cookies

Store these in an air tight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can also store these in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Recipe Supplies

For this recipe, you’ll need some good baking sheets, a mixing bowl, and some 100% fruit spread. Click any image below to be taken to that product on Amazon. (Affiliate links)

Cookie sheet set sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Mixing bowl set with lids sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
100% fruit spread in raspberry flavor sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)

More Healthy Holiday Cookie Recipes

Healthy Thumbprint Cookies Recipe Card

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry
A stack of these thumbprint cookies sit in a decorative bowl.

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


  • 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.
  • Preheat oven to 325° F. and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll a ½ walnut-sized portion of dough into a ball. Using your thumb, press a thumbprint or dent in the middle.
  • Roll in egg whites, then in hazelnuts.
  • Fill with jam and bake for approximately 20 minutes.


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.

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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.