These shortbread thumbprint cookies are filled with a bright, citrusy lemon filling and then dusted with powdered sugar. Perfect for spring baking or for an Easter treat.
The lemon filling can be store-bought lemon curd, lemon marmalade or even an orange jelly. The shortbread cookie part is easier than making a pie crust, so they come together quickly.
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This recipe uses a simple shortbread thumbprint cookie base and is filled with a citrus preserve. I’ve served them at Christmas with 5 other flavors of thumbprint cookies on a fancy tray, but I love to serve them also at Easter, as the lemon filling just screams spring.
I’ve also sent these cookies in care packages and found that they ship well. I sent them in an Easter care package to my kids when they were in college, and then as a gift package (along with some holiday Pfeffernusse cookies) to friends at Christmas.
Basic Process for Lemon Filled Thumbprint Cookies
Step 1: Mix together ingredients for the cookie dough in a stand mixer
Step 2. Scoop cookie dough onto a baking sheet and use a spoon to make an indentation for the filling
Step 3: Cool cookies on a rack after baking and fill with lemon filling after they are cooled.
*Tip: Make sure your cookie dough is well chilled before filling and baking. This helps make sure that the cookies don’t spread too much making the filling drip over the edges.
What is the Best Filling for Thumbprint Cookies?
Of course you can use any type of preserve you want in thumbprint cookies, which is why they are so wonderful.
Please a variety of palates and make your cookie tray beautiful with any of the following flavors:
Frequently Asked Questions
The shortbread cookies and be frozen without the filling in an airtight container for up to 1 month. When ready to eat, let them thaw out on the counter for about an hour and then fill with the lemon filling.
Black Tea, like Earl Grey, Darjeeling and English Breakfast is a classic with citrus desserts like lemon cookies or cake or tart. My favorite is this Black Currant Tea.
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Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies with Lemon Filling
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup lemon ginger marmalade or purchased lemon curd or lemon jelly
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets, or line with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to blend.2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in 2 additions and beat just until moist clumps form. Gather the dough together into a ball.2 sticks, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 large egg yolks, 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch off the dough to form 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Use your floured index finger or 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to create depressions in the center of each ball. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely (you may want to push down the puffed up indentation a bit at this point).
- Fill each indentation with nearly 1/2 teaspoon of lemon preserves.1/2 cup lemon ginger marmalade