Christmas cookies week is a sponsored event that includes gifts to me from the participating brands. All thoughts and opinions are my own, but I think you’ll enjoy this iced thumbprint cookies recipe as much as I do. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Food Above Gold happen.
These brown butter iced thumbprint cookies are made with a shortbread dough and creamy brown butter icing that is topped with toasted pecans.
This brown butter iced thumbprint cookie recipe is seriously one of my favorites. Ever. The brown butter is absolutely divine and gives the cookies a brilliant depth of flavor.
Why Did My Cookies Spread?
If your thumbprint cookies spread, it is because they aren’t cold enough before baking. You need to appropriately chill them to keep them from becoming flat.
Now, to be clear, some spreading is required or else you’ll get hard and dense cookies. However, if they spread so much that you don’t get a have a basin for the icing then they were too warm.To get the cookies just right for baking, either refrigerate them for 90 minutes, or freeze them for 45.
Pro Tips For Making Thumbprint Cookies
- Ice the cookies after they cool completely. If you add the icing too early, it will make it so warm that it runs out of the thumbprint basin.
- Cut the pecans AFTER toasting. If you toast the pecans whole, you have a smaller chance of them burning. The smaller the pieces are during toasting, the faster they will burn. You have much better control toasting the pecans whole.
- Make your own brown butter. Making your own brown butter is a quick process that gives you control over how deep the flavor is. Learn more about making it yourself in my tutorial for how to make brown butter.
- If the shaped balls aren’t smooth, they will crack. If you want the shortbread iced thumbprint cookies to be free of any breaks or cracks, the dough needs to be smooth when rolled into balls. If you add on extra dough and don’t get it mixed in well enough it will break away from the rest of the dough when you add the indentation.
- Make the cookies more festive with food coloring. Since these are holiday cookies, you can give the brown butter icing a more festive flair by adding a few drops of your favorite food coloring. I recommend using a gel based color because it will show overpower the color of the icing much better.
Thank you to Ellen of Family Around the Table and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures for hosting #ChristmasCookies Week! And a huge thank you to our sponsors Adams Extract and Millican Pecan Company for supporting the bloggers and events like Christmas Cookies Week.
Check out today’s cookie recipes:Brown Butter Thumbprint Cookies by Food Above Gold
Buttered Pecan Shortbread Cookies by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Candy Cane Whoopie Pies by Strawberry Blondie Kitchen
Cherry Pecan Shortbread Rounds by Family Around the Table
Chocolate Cherry Cookies by Sweet Beginnings
Chocolate-Dipped Christmas Butter Cookies by Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
Christmas Crinkle Cookies by Blogghetti
Christmas Pecan Bar Cookies by Intelligent Domestications
Cinnamon Roll Blondies by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Dark Chocolate Dipped Citrus Spice Shortbread by The Spiffy Cookie
Easy Italian Pizzelles by Frugal & Fit
Ginger Spice Cookies by Red Cottage Chronicles
Kahlua Hot Chocolate Cookies by Books n’ Cooks
Linzer Cookies by Palatable Pastime
Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe by Everyday Eileen
Pecan Pie Cookies by Daily Dish Recipes
Pecan Pie Cut Out Cookies by Love and Confections
Brown Butter Iced Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
Before you begin creaming together the butter and sugar, check how soft your butter is. It should only just indent when touched. If the butter is too soft, it will require a longer chilling time.
Want a free printable grocery list for these iced thumbprint cookies? Get it here.
Use this grocery list to help simplify shopping. Everything is listed in standard grocery store amounts. If no size is specified, even the smallest package will provide more than enough.
Happy Cooking! 🙂
Brown Butter Iced Thumbprint Cookies
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ⅔ cups granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- Sift together flour and salt. Set aside. Toast pecans in a small pan over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned. Set aside to cool completely then chop into small pieces.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Scrape down the sides then mix in the egg yolks one at a time on a slow speed, until each is just combined. Stir in vanilla extract.
- Scoop the dough out shape it into one-inch balls. Place them on a flat surface and press your thumb or use bottom of a one-teaspoon measuring spoon to make an indentation.
- Making sure the thumbprint cookies don’t touch, transfer to a tray and refrigerate for 90 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and transfer cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Leave two inches between the cookies, fitting twelve on a pan at a time. (Keep any remaining cookies chilled until ready to bake.) Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown.
- Optional: Once the cookies are out of the oven, use a measuring spoon to deepen the indentation.
- Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Brown Butter Icing
- In a small bowl, mix together melt the brown butter. Stir in vanilla extract and salt. Sift the powdered sugar and beat vigorously with a fork until the icing is smooth.
- Use a spoon to drizzle about one teaspoon of icing into the indentation of each thumbprint cookie. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and serve.
- If you make the indentation while the cookies are on the tray, you make it more likely that the pressure will cause the cookies to stick to the it.
- When the cookies are done baking, the indentation in the middle may seem a little shiny and undercooked. It will finish cooking during the cooling process.
- Once the icing is done being mixed, work quickly to fill each of the thumbprint cookies. The icing will harden as the brown butter cools.
- Store the iced thumbprint cookies in an airtight container for up to a week. Keep them in a single layer to preserve the brown butter icing.