Lemon-Scented Jam Thumbprints

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By Emily Paster

Since swapping food has become such a big part of my life, this year I decided to participate in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is just what it sounds like: the food bloggers who participate receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. You send each of them one dozen of the same kind of cookie. You receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers. On a designated day (today!), all the participating bloggers post the recipe that they made.

But the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is about more than just showing off your fancy baking and getting treats in the mail. It is actually a fundraiser for Cookies for Kids Cancer, a nonprofit committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer, which claims the lives of more children in the US than any other disease. By participating in this cookie swap, food bloggers are not only building community, but they are also supporting a great cause. This year, the participating bloggers and the brand partners who matched the donations, which included Dixie Crystals, OXO, Gold Medal Flour and Grandma's Molasses, raised over $13,000 for the fight against pediatric cancer.

I agonized over what cookies to make for my matches. Baking for other food bloggers is a lot of pressure! But in the end, I decided that I wanted to make a cookie that showcased some of the beautiful jams that I put up this year with fruit from my beloved Oak Park farmers' market. There is no better way to get a sense of who I am as a cook that to try some of my Black Raspberry Mint Jam or Blackberry Sage Jam made with fruit from local — if local includes Michigan –  farms.

The classic jam cookie is the jam thumbprint. But you can't just make any old jam thumbprint for food bloggers. I decided to trick out my jam thumbprints with a healthy dose of lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The lemon flavor pairs especially well with the berry jams I used. The result is a very grown-up cookie indeed.

If you don't make jam yourself, you can absolutely still make these cookies. Just use the very best jam you can find. We all have a fancy jar of jam sitting in a cupboard or the back of the fridge from some long-forgotten house present or hostess gift. Dig out that neglected jar and give it a new life in some cookies!

Lemon-Scented Jam Thumbprints

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 TB each lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 oz. jam, such as blackberry or raspberry, preferably homemade


  1. Mix together dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg yolks one at a time.
  4. Add vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest and combine.
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix until dough comes together.
  6. Gather dough into a ball and chill for at least four hours or overnight.
  7. To bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375.
  8. Shape small pieces of dough into balls approximately 1" around and place on lined cookie sheet, approximately 1" apart.
  9. Make a small indentation in each cookie with your thumb.
  10. Using a small spoon, fill the indentation with jam.
  11. Bake 20 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
  12. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

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