Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

Buttery and soft cookies are filled with sticky star anise infused strawberry jam. It’s a super easy yet unique thumbprint cookies recipe that takes no time to put together. It’s perfect for Christmas or any holiday, but I always make a few dozen to snack on after dinner.

Why this recipe

Thumbprint cookies are one of those super easy things that you can make with your kids (or friends). It’s such a delight to work with the buttery dough and bright jam. And it’s a lot of fun to work on the cookies using your fingers.

At a glance, it might seem counterintuitive to make your own jam for such a simple recipe. But once I had tried it, I loved the result so much that I would never use store-bought jam for this recipe again.

I infused star anise into the jam to create a round and warm taste that works perfectly with the cookie dough. Not only does the jam have a more interesting flavor, but it also has a thicker and stickier texture that store-bought jam lacks.

I also found that it’s best to add the jam after baking the cookies. I’ve tried both ways. When I baked the cookies with the jam already filled in, the jam seeped into the dough and the color lost its luster.


  • 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar ,
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup (200 g) all-purpose flour

Strawberry Anise Jam (or use 1/2 cup store-bought jam)

  • 8 oz (225 g) strawberries , hulled
  • 1 cup (130 g) sugar
  • 4 star anise pods

Cooking process

Making strawberry thumbprint cookies is a two-part process.

(1) Make the star anise infused jam

  • Remove the leafy tips of the strawberries and use a paring knife to further remove the tough ends.
  • Add the sugar and strawberries into a saucepan.
  • Use your hands to smash the strawberries to release some juice.
  • Simmer with star anise.
  • Use a skimmer to remove the foam from the top, to get a better colored jam.
  • The jam is ready when it pulls away from the bottom when stirred. The jam will further thicken once cooled.

This recipe yields more jam than needed for the cookies. I use the leftover jam to make buttered jam toast.

(2) Make the dough

  • Cream the butter and sugar.
  • Add the egg and vanilla.
  • Beat in the egg.
  • Add the flour and mix until it forms a dough.

(3) Shape cookies

  • Get a heaping teaspoon of dough.
  • Roll it into a dough ball.
  • Press the dough using your finger, to shape it into a small bowl to hold the jam.
  • Bake and enjoy!

One heaping teaspoon of dough might seem like a very small amount when you make the cookies, but it produces the best mouthfeel and jam-to-cookie ratio once cooked. I’ve tried making slightly bigger cookies. I felt like the jam ratio was off in that case and it felt like there was too much cookie dough.

(4) Bake

  • Chill the dough in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 °F (176 °C).
  • Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until fully cooked through and the edge of the bottom turns light golden. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies onto a cooling rack to cool until they firm up.
  • Place 1 teaspoon of jam onto the center of each cookie and lightly press it with the spoon. Serve and enjoy!

(5) Final assembly and storage

Once the baked cookies are cooled, add the jam into the center and they’re ready to serve.

To store the filled cookies, I prefer to use a large ziplock bag and spread the cookies into a single layer without overlapping. This way the jam won’t get smooshed onto the other cookies.

These cookies are buttery, melt-in-your-mouth soft, and spiced up with the star anise jam. Dust them with powdered sugar and you’ll immediately feel the Christmas spirit in your home.

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