Where are all of my cheesecake lovers because these Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies are incredibly flavorful and very easy to make! They are extremely moist and require very few ingredients and minimal work is required. This recipe makes 18 cookies.
What are Thumbprint cookies?
Thumbprint cookies are very similar shortbread cookies because they require butter, sugar, and flour as their main ingredients. Once the dough is prepared, they are rolled into balls then in the center of each ball, they have an indent that is filled with preserved of your choice. The indent in the center has traditionally been formed using your thumb, giving them the name-“thumbprint cookies.”
While very popular in the United States during the holiday season, thumbprint cookies actually originated in Sweden. These cookies are called Rosenmunnar in Swedish, meaning “strawberry cave.”
This recipe, however, is not for a basic thumbprint cookie. These Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies resemble the taste of a cheesecake, giving them an American twist.
What to expect when preparing these cookies:
- basic ingredients
- refrigeration of 1-2 hours is required
- Quick baking time (12-13 minutes)
All about the dough:
This dough for Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies comes together extremely quickly. The main ingredients in these are the cream cheese, butter, sugar, flour, and preserves of your choice. The lemon zest and vanilla extract are for extra flavor that makes these cookies incredibly flavorful.
Preparing the dough is simple. Start with creaming together the cream cheese and butter. They should be room temperature before you start so that they cream smoothly and will leave you with a light, airy, and creamy texture. Next add the sugar to your creamy butter and cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer again until the mixture is smooth.
Once your cream cheese, butter, and sugar are creamed together, add the lemon zest and granulated sugar and mix again. The last ingredient in these cheesecake thumbprint cookies will be the flour. Add the flour about a quarter cup at a time and mix until just combined. It is important to mix the ingredients just until they are combined. Be careful not to over mix the dough. Over mixing causes more air bubbles to get inside the dough which will in turn leave your cookies flatter instead of puffier when baked.
Shaping the Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies:
Shape the cookies while the dough is at room temperature– this will make is much easier since they dough gets harder once it is refrigerated. Using a small cookies scoop, scoop out about one tablespoon of dough for each ball and roll it into a smooth ball. Once the dough is formed into a ball, using your thumb, lightly press the center of the cookies to make an indent. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Why is refrigerating this dough required:
Trust me I know you are probably as impatient as I was to try these Cheesecake Thumbprint cookies but this dough requires refrigeration. The butter and cream cheese should be solidified so that once baked, your cookies do not over spread. Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies cookies should be thick and soft instead of flat and crispy. For this recipe, I recommend 1-2 hours of refrigeration and while 2 hours will give the best results, refrigeration of at least one hour will definitely put you in the safe zone. I recommend shaping the Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies prior to refrigerating them so that they are easier to work with. The dough will harden once it is refrigerated, making it more difficult to roll out.
Baking these Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies does not take a long time. In fact, it only takes about 11-13 minutes. One important tip to remember is to preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit 30 minutes prior to baking them. This is to make sure that the temperature of the oven has reached 375 Fahrenheit prior to placing your cookies inside of the oven. If the oven has not reached that temperature, the cookies will soften before they actually bake, resulting in more spreading.
You can absolutely freeze these cookies for up to 2 months. Make sure that you cookies have cooled completely prior to freezing them. Place cookies in a freezer bag, tightly seal the bag, and place in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (115g)
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature (85g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (105g)
- 1 cup flour (150g)
- 1/4 cup preserves of your choice (90g)
- In the mixing bowl or the body of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.
- Add the sugar and beat well.
- Add vanilla and lemon zest and mix again.
- Add in flour a quarter of a cup at a time and mix just until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- In a large baking sheet with parchment paper scoop out 1 tablespoon sized balls of dough, roll them into smooth balls , and place them on the cookie sheet.
- Lightly press your thumb in the center of each ball of dough and fill each thumb press with about 1/2 teaspoon of preserves.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
- Once oven has preheated, place baking sheet in the oven to bake for 12-13 minutes, or until just golden at the edges. They will look undone and still be very soft when you take them out.
- Allow them to cool on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes then transfer them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.