Every year, I have grand visions of making a bakery-worthy display of elaborate holiday cookies using a candy thermometer, piping bag — the whole deal. But inevitably, the holiday crush, well, crushes those aspirations. So this year I’m embracing super easy thumbprint cookie recipes, because it turns out you can dress them up in all your favorite holiday flavors without making them any harder to make.
The best part? Kids can serve in the essential thumb-mashing role when you get ready to bake. Because let’s face it: those little fingers are going to get into the dough one way or another, amirite?
If you are going to gift these cute cookies as gifts, we recommend these bakery boxes with windows (affiliate) so not only can the recipient get excited about what’s inside, the cookies don’t get smashed in a bag.
Top: Peppermint Kiss Thumbprint Cookies at Le Creme de la Crumb and Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies at Marsha’s Baking Addiction
Related: Mason jar gifts your kids can help make
The OG thumbprint cookie has been a fan favorite for generations. This recipe for Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies from Chew Out Loud are as delicious as they are gorgeous. Make sure you use a thicker jam or jelly or it will run when baking.
Okay, so I’m not normally a let’s-throw-candy-on-top-of-the-cookies kind of mom, but these Peppermint Kiss Thumbprint Cookies at Le Creme de la Crumb grabbed me with their undeniable holiday cheer. And, hey, it’s Christmas, right?
Related: The best substitutes for allergy-friendly holiday baking
If you’re looking for a sophisticated take on the thumbprint cookie, try these Chocolate Tahini Thumbprint Cookies at Jessi’s Kitchen. I’m dying to sample the chocolate tahini fudge topping. Plus, once you’ve given the ingredients a quick spin in the food processor, these beauties are no harder to make than the easy originals you’re used to.
I don’t necessarily associate peanut butter with Christmas, but I’m making an exception for these glorious-looking Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies. The peanut butter fudge cooks up in your microwave to make this recipe as manageable as it is decadent. Thanks, Sugar Spun Run, for the recipe!
Related: The very best cookie recipes from you!
If you’re looking for a cookie that’s more Andes mint than candy cane, try these Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies at Marsha’s Baking Addiction. Marsha uses peppermint extract in the cookies and the frosting, so you’re in for something totally refreshing — and totally delicious.