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Cookie Season: Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies

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Ina Garten's Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Ina Garten's Jam Thumbprint Cookies are a true staple recipe.

Cookie season is here! We’ve got a couple of cookie exchange parties in the near future, which are obviously our favorite parties of the year. Not only do we get to see bunches of people we don’t see much otherwise, but we get to taste a whole slew of COOKIES!

Over the years, we’ve tried what feels like a hundred cookie recipes. We’ve made chocolate chips (always good), iced snowmen (more fun than yummy), butterscotch bars (super sweet), chocolate-chocolate sandwich cookies (delicious but so much work I can’t bring myself to ever make them again) and so many others. But there’s one cookie we keep coming back to: Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies.

My daughter tells me, “You literally make these every year, for some sort of thing. They are my favorite cookies that you make.” And then she says, “What could be better about them?”

These cookies first showed up in Ina’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style. I remember taking this book to the pool and reading it during my girls’ swim team practice. That was a long time ago, and that’s when we got hooked on these cookies. They’re made simply of the most perfect shortbread possible, rolled in coconut (which gets toasty during baking) and filled with just enough jam to make them a tiny bit fruity. I just tasted one as I write. There really could be nothing better.

I love the idea that I’ve been making these cookies for such a long time, and I especially love that Ina’s cookbook (and all of her others!) are still front and center on my cookbook shelves, a big part of my family’s repertoire. Going back to these old recipes reminds me of moments in time, like the fleeting days of swim team and chubby cheeks. Who knew a cookie recipe could be so powerful? 

Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies


¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry and/or apricot jam

Recipe directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 ¼-inch balls. (If you have a scale, they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop ¼ teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

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