The Best Thumb Prints Ever or Banbury Tarts

The Best Thumbprint Cookies Ever If I were to ask any of my boys what cookies are their favorites, they would invariably say, “the ones with the jam in them.”

This recipe was originally posted in November 2008, but when my two 11-year-olds were told to each bring a dozen cookies to a Boy Scout court of honor and that the cookies were going to be judged, I knew there was only one thing to do.  Both boys brought a plate of these cookies (and I had to re-post this recipe). The Best Thumbprint Cookies Ever After all, I couldn’t let one boy take a different kind when both felt like these were the best.  If either won, I’d hear about it for weeks….from the other brother.

Banbury Tarts: the best thumbprint cookiesAfter we got to the court of honor, the scout master announced that the cookies were not going to be judged on taste, but on presentation.  Ours, plated on lovely white paper plates, lost to chocolate chip cookie sandwiches (chocolate frosting in between) on sturdy plastic plates that had a colorful square design.  Oh well.

We know that ours tasted the best.The Best Thumbprint Cookies Ever

The Best Thumb Prints Ever
  • 1½ cups butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • jam (we like strawberry the best)
  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add egg and vanilla.
  3. Add flour.
  4. Form into 1 inch balls, make an indentation and fill with jam.
  5. Bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
I have found that a clean flower water tube like the one pictured here make perfect indentations without any mess.


7 thoughts on “The Best Thumb Prints Ever or Banbury Tarts

  1. >I make the peanut butter cookies w/kisses and they don’t last long here. But if you use the kisses w/caramel they are to died for.

  2. >Wow! That sounds really easy! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us and I look forward to seeing you next week! Have a great holiday season!

  3. Hi there! I tried this recipe last night, and I am wondering if you may have put the wrong amounts for the flour? The cookies were very doughy and had very little flavor. The dough was so dry that I had to add a bit of room temp butter to each cookie ball just to get them to hold together in the oven.

    I looked into other thumbprint cookie recipes and none of them use this ratio of butter to flour, or sugar to flour.

    I mean no disrespect, but I am a very experience baker & they just did not turn out as I had hoped, and I had to toss them.

    1. Hi Jamie, I am so sad that you were so disappointed in these cookies. The recipe really is correct as written. I have been making this recipe for over 25 years and my mother before me made it for another 20, at least. With 3/4 pound of butter in it, I am surprised that you had to add more. The dough is usually very buttery.

      1. I wonder if our altitude has anything to do with it? I just tried ANOTHER thumbprint recipe and while the dough tasted good, they spread like crazy even after being in the fridge all day. This is crazy!!

        Thanks for getting back to me. Feel free to delete my comment, I don’t want to taint your reviews, lol!

        Thanks again,


        1. I would usually say yes, altitude has a ton to do with how things come out, but in this case, I live in FL at 15 feet and my mother lives in the AZ mountains at about 5K feet, so that isn’t it. I wish I had the master baking crystal ball that could solve this problem, because I really want you to enjoy those cookies!

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