This recipe for thimble cookies (also called thumbprint cookies or Swedish tea rings) comes from Marilyn Short. “I still use this recipe for jam-filled cookies every Christmas, working from an old card written in my grandmother’s script. We called my grandmother ‘Lil’ because she thought ‘Grandma’ sounded old and Chris, my sister, couldn’t pronounce ‘Hilda’ when she was small. Love the old-fashioned feel - imagine having a thimble around the house - and the taste!”

Makes about 24 cookies


  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 cup (250 mL) sifted cake-and-pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) finely chopped walnuts
  • strawberry or raspberry jam


  1. Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter; add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg yolk and beat well. Gradually stir in the flour until the dough is smooth.
  3. Shape into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls.
  4. In a small bowl, slightly beat the egg white. Roll each ball in the egg white, then in the walnuts; place on the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches (5 cm) apart. With a floured thimble or the end of a wooden spoon handle (or just your thumb), make a depression in the centre of each cookie.
  5. Bake in the centre of a 325°F (160°C) oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and make the depressions again; repair sides of the cookies if necessary. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Remove to a rack and fill each depression with some of the jam. (Make- ahead: Layer with waxed paper in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.)

Canada's Favourite Recipes by Rose Murray and Elizabeth Baird