Cherry Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies

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A delicious and unique thumbprint shortbread cookies that everyone will love, these Cherry Thumbprint Cookies are only 5-ingredients and take less than 15 minutes to whip up but are one of the most delicious cookies you will eat this holiday season!

Melt-in-your-mouth, buttery shortbread cookies with a sweet and juicy maraschino cherry center - ready in less than 25 minutes and with just 5 ingredients!

Cherry Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

Buttery, rich, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread and juicy, sweet maraschino cherries come together to make a decadent 5-ingredient cookie that looks super cute and tastes even better.

Of all of the cookies I put out at our Christmas party this year, these Cherry Thumbprint Cookies were the first to disappear! They are straight-forward and simple but completely irresistible.

But the best part was that my daughter was able to make over half of these cookies completely independently. I just walked her through the recipe and then showed her how to form the first few cookies. I love getting the kids helping in the kitchen and this foolproof shortbread recipe removes all of the frustration of traditional shortbread so you can just focus on making memories and baking cookies.

I think it would be super cute to use a mix of the green maraschino cherries as well as the red.

If maraschino cherries are too sweet for you, you can replace this with regular (pitted) cherries or another favorite fruit filling.

Tips for Perfect Shortbread

  1. Use good-quality butter and don’t substitute with margarine. You want a butter that you enjoy the flavour of because it will form the basis of most of the shortbread’s flavour.
  2. Use room temperature butter that has been sitting out for a few hours or overnight. Don’t use any hacks like grating or microwaving the butter as you will end up with an over-worked dough.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until very light colored, as you want the sugar to really dissolve well.
  4. If desired, you can replace a bit of the all-purpose flour with rice flour to give the cookies a lighter texture, but don’t go over replacing half of the flour or the dough will be frustratingly delicate.
  5. You can chill the dough twice, and it’s a good idea if you’ve spent too much time shaping the dough or have been distracted. You want the butter to be cold when it goes into the oven so it doesn’t spread or overcook – plus refrigeration helps develop the flavour.
  6. If doing a second chill, it doesn’t need to be for long and you don’t need to cover the dough – in fact, leaving it uncovered for 20-30 minutes in your fridge will help dry out the butter a bit and help the cookies become a bit more light and crisp with baking.
  7. Ensure that all of the cookies are as close to the same size as possible to ensure even baking. An easy way to do that with thumbprint cookies is to use a cookie scoop or a tablespoon to portion out the dough before rolling and imprinting.
  8. When forming the shortbread, try not to overwork the dough as it will result in tough cookies.
  9. You don’t want any browning in the baked cookies – you just want them to be light and set. The minute one cookie starts to show some cracks, the cookies are done.

Can these shortbread cookies be frozen? Yes – that’s one of the best things about shortbread is that it freezes beautifully and the flavour even improves with freezing – and one of my secret indulgences is sneaking a frozen shortbread cookie out of the freezer and enjoying it super cold.

To store, use parchment or wax paper in between layers of the shortbread and store in an airtight freezer bag or your favourite freezer containers (this set of freezer containers is a crazy bargain).

For more classic Christmas cookie inspiration, check out our Classic Christmas Cookies ebook, where we have gathered 40 of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes – from Peanut Butter Buckeyes to Easy Shortbread, Cream Cheese Mints to Toffee Biscuits!

These cookies all share a few things in common:

  • They are easy enough for the kids to help make
  • They require no special ingredients requiring visits to 5 different grocery stores
  • They are Christmas classics that everyone will be excited to see at the Cookie Exchange
  • And they are delicious!

To make your holiday baking even easier, we’ve included several tips to ensure the best results so you can just focus on having fun with your kids and trust that these cookies will turn out perfectly, every time.

Grab your copy of our Classic Christmas Cookies ebook:

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Cherry Thumbprint Shortbread Ingredients

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.

Tip: to take these cherry thumbprint cookies over the top, add a chocolate or icing drizzle overtop.

Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer <– this is a great hand mixer if you don’t want to make the investment into a stand mixer
  • Parchment Paper
  • Cookie Sheets
  • Cooling racks <– I have and love these tiered cooling racks, they save so much counter space and are also oven-safe
  • Small bowl, for holding the sprinkles
  • Cookie Scoop

How to Make Cherry Thumbprint Cookies

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy, at least 2 minutes.

Beat in vanilla extract and then slowly beat in the flour until just incorporated.

Use a cookie scoop to portion out the dough on the prepared cookie sheets, about 1″ apart.

Use an inverted teaspoon to press down on the cookies, flattening them and making a small dip in the center of each cookie.

Press a maraschino cherry securely into the indent on each shortbread.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden brown.

Cool on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes.

Makes 35-40 cookies.

 

Pin this Easy Cherry Thumbprint Cookie for your next holiday baking session:

How to make cherry thumbprint shortbread cookies, a 5-ingredient Christmas cookie the kids will love getting to help make. Buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread with a juicy maraschino cherry center

Grab your free printable recipe card for our cherry thumbprint shortbread cookie recipe:

Yield: 40 Cookies

Cherry Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies

Cherry Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies

Melt-in-your-mouth, buttery shortbread cookies with a sweet and juicy maraschino cherry center - ready in less than 25 minutes and with just 5 ingredients!

Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 35-40 Maraschino Cherries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy, at least 2 minutes.
  4. Beat in vanilla extract and then slowly beat in the flour until just incorporated.
  5. Use a cookie scoop to portion out the dough on the prepared cookie sheets, about 1" apart.
  6. Use an inverted teaspoon to press down on the cookies, flattening them and making a small dip in the center of each cookie.
  7. Press a maraschino cherry securely into the indent on each shortbread.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  9. Cool on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

40

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 124Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 55mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.

Pin this Recipe for Later

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I hope your family loves these buttery cherry shortbread cookies as much as mine did!

For more scrumptious cookies, check out our full cookie recipe collection here:

Or for more decadent desserts, check out our full dessert collection here:

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