Heart Jam Cookies (Shortbread Thumbprint)
These Heart Jam Cookies are shortbread thumbprints that are perfect for Valentine’s Day or tea time. Easy to make and elegant, they’ll melt in your mouth!
We don’t take Valentine’s Day too seriously around here, but I do like it for one reason: it gives you an reason to cook or bake or eat something special in what is otherwise a pretty cold and dreary month.
Now that my daughter is old enough to understand this kind of silly holiday a little better, I also wanted to do a baking activity for just me and her, and I’m sorry to report that she doesn’t appreciate the wonders of chocolate creme brulee just yet.
So, we made these rich and buttery shortbread cookies that we thumbprinted with heart shapes and then filled with jam. These heart jam cookies are perfect for Valentine’s Day, and they also reminded us of tea time in London!
Ingredients you’ll need for heart jam cookies
- unsalted butter – high quality unsalted butter is the base of any great shortbread cookie. Make sure it’s at room temperature before you begin making heart jam cookies.
- sugar – the other key part of the short bread.
- egg yolks – we’re using the yolks only to make our cookies extra rich. Put the whites to use in an egg white omelet, perhaps?
- vanilla extract – this is the main flavor component of the shortbread, so make sure you’re using a high quality vanilla.
- flour – regular all-purpose flour is what we want for these heart cookies!
- cornstarch – this might sound like an unusual ingredient for baking (it’s more commonly used to thicken the sauce in dishes like orange ginger chicken), but it gives these strawberry jam cookies a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- salt – I believe that all baked goods need a pinch of salt to make them taste the best they can.
- jam or preserves – you can use strawberry or raspberry, and either jam or preserves are great.
One special piece of equipment you’ll need for shortbread thumbprint cookies
You’ll need something to use to press the heart shapes in the cookie dough balls. You might already have something like this around the house.
I happened to have these espresso spoons in my drawer, and the size and shape of the end of the spoon handle worked perfectly for these heart jam cookies.
You can use anything you have around that is a similar size and shape, or simply use your thumb (if it’s small enough!) to make the hearts for these heart cookies.
How to make thumbprint heart cookies
1. BUTTER. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. EGGS. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until well combined.
3. FLOUR. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until all flour is incorporated. Transfer the dough to the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
4. ROLL. Roll dough into 24 balls. Flatten the balls slightly and place them on parchment-lined cookie sheets.
5. PRESS. Using the end of a small spoon or your thumb, gently press a heart shape into each ball.
6. FILL. Fill each heart cavity with 1/2 teaspoon jam or preserves. You may need slightly less than 1/2 teaspoon, even. Don’t overfill.
7. FREEZE & BAKE. Transfer the cookies to the freezer to chill for 10 minutes. Then, bake cookies 12 to 14 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.
8. COOL. Transfer baking sheets to cooling racks and let cookies cool on pans for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.
There are two “chill times” for these heart cookies – don’t skip them!
You’ll first need to chill the dough right after you mix it up. Then, after you form and fill the heart cookies, you’ll briefly freeze them again (10 minutes) before baking them.
Don’t skip these chill times or your shortbread thumbprint cookies will spread and not turn out well.
Use light pressure when making heart thumbprint cookies.
Be careful when printing the heart into the cookie dough balls. Be sure to flatten the balls slightly before stamping the heart on, which will help. Use light pressure when stamping in the heart so you don’t crack your shortbread thumbprint cookies.
If you do have cracks (honestly, a few here and there are unavoidable) you can just mold them back together with the warmth of your fingers. No big deal.
Feel free to use a different type of jam for jam heart cookies, but don’t overfill!
I like raspberry or strawberry jam or preserves if I’m making these for Valentine’s Day, but any type of jam or preserve works for these heart cookies.
Apricot preserves (the star of my apricot glazed salmon) and blueberry jam are other delicious choices for shortbread thumbprint cookies.
Whatever you use, don’t overfill the heart cavities or the jam will leak out as the cookies bake and they won’t have a pretty presentation. I would say that you can fit about 1/2 teaspoon jam AT MOST into each cookie. Sometimes it’s better to do a little less, even.
How long do strawberry jam cookies keep?
These heart jam cookies can last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 1 week.
Can strawberry thumbprint cookies be frozen?
Yes, just like my egg muffins recipe and brownie pie, you can freeze these shortbread thumbprint cookies for up to 3 months. Wrap the heart cookies well and keep them in an airtight container. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
My coconut creme brulee is another freezer-friendly dessert perfect for V-day.
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup strawberry or raspberry jam or preserves
- In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch and salt until well combined.
- In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally.
- Add egg yolks and vanilla and mix at medium speed until well combined.
- With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture until all of flour mixture is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Cover mixer bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a medium cookie scoop or slightly heaping tablespoon, scoop dough and roll into 24 balls in the palms of your hands. Flatten balls slightly and place evenly spaced about 1 inch apart, 12 balls on each cookie sheet.
- Using the end of a small spoon or your thumb, gently press a heart shape into each ball. Fill each heart cavity with 1/2 teaspoon jam or preserves (you may need slightly less, even. Do not overfill).
- Transfer cookies to freezer to chill for 10 minutes (if cookie sheets won't fit in your freezer, you can carefully transfer cookies to parchment-lined plates, then transfer them back to cookie sheets before baking).
- Transfer cookies to oven and bake 12 to 14 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Transfer baking sheets to cooling racks and let cookies cool on pans for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 22mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 2g
This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.