cranberry almond thumbprint cookies


Sparkling cranberry almond thumbprint cookies are a beautiful and festive treat for the holiday season. Dress up melt-in-your-mouth almond shortbread cookies with a jeweled cranberry-Amaretto filling, then finish with a drizzle of almond glaze for one fine cookie.

Cranberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Sweet and buttery, these pillowy cookies are utterly adorable and absolutely scrumptious.

Cranberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

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Cranberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

  • Yield: 26 cookies



  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour


  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp Amaretto
  • 1 Tbsp water

For rolling

  • 3 Tbsp sugar


  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pure almond extract
  • 2 tsp water


  1. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until combined; add almond extract and salt and beat until incorporated. Scrape down bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour until incorporated and dough begins to come together in large pieces. Scrape dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and wrap well. Chill dough until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  2. While the dough chills, making the filling. Combine cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, salt, Amaretto, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and pressing firmly to crush cranberries. When mixture is reduced and thickened (like a warm jam), pour into a glass bowl and cool for 15 minutes, then cover and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper; place sugar in a shallow bowl. Form 1-inch balls of dough and roll in sugar. Place on baking sheets and use the back of a 1/2 tsp measuring spoon to make an indentation in each cookie. Chill on baking sheets in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer filing to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Bake cookies for 8 minutes, then carefully remove from oven and deepen indentations with measuring spoon. Pipe filling into each indentation, then return baking sheets to the oven and continue baking another 8 minutes, or until the edges are set. Let cookies cool for 15 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, salt, almond extract, and water in a small bowl. Transfer to a small piping bag and drizzle over cookies; let set before serving.


Make ahead: The shortbread dough can be made ahead, shaped into cookies, and frozen until you’re ready to bake (add 1-2 minutes to baking time). The filling can be made a day ahead of assembling the cookies – store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


  • Calories: 148
  • Carbohydrates: 20


  1. So perfectly festive! I can easily pass up those thumbprints filled with ordinary jams and jellies, but this spiked cranberry compote sounds amazing!!

  2. These cute little cookies are adorable! I love the color of the cranberry and love that you added amaretto to the filling! perfect with the almond base 🙂 and the glaze!!!

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