These Cherry Almond Cookies are buttery, crumbly, and full of flavor – everything a cookie should be! A red maraschino cherry tops the baked blue and white dough, making them not only a delicious treat but a patriotic one that is perfect for 4th of July!
They are quick and simple to make, and the kids will love helping to bake a batch of these thumbprint cookies – especially when they have to press their thumb into the dough for the cherry to sit in! You can easily change the colors and toppings for different seasonal events too, which means they are a fabulous cookie to make the whole year round!
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Cherry Almond Cookies
The combination of cherry and almonds has got to be up there as one of my favourites. I love Bakewell Tart which is a much loved British dessert, that exact flavour combo. It just so happens, that cherries are my favourite fruit; and it would be sacrilegious as a woman of Greek-Cypriot heritage, to not love almonds too! (Although, pecans are my favourite nut!)
These red, white, and blue cookies are great for getting the kids involved. The dough is ready in mere moments, and you only need to put it in the fridge for around 5 mins for it to firm up a bit before shaping into the cookies. They cook in 9-12 minutes, so they’re baked in no time – the hardest part is waiting for them to cool down enough to eat!
What are thumbprint cookies?
This recipe is actually a thumbprint cookie recipe, which is a very popular type of American cookie – often made around Christmas time. They get their name from the thumbprint that you place on a ball of cookie dough to flatten them down – leaving behind an indentation that you can fill with all sorts of good things.
Thumbprint cookies are not an American invention though – they are originally from Sweden, and called Hallongrotta, which translates to ‘raspberry cave’, The thumbprint indentations of Hallongrotta are filled with raspberry jam; and in the 4th of July cookies that I’m sharing, the thumbprint is filled with a maraschino cherry!
You can get really inventive with flavours and fillings of these cookies, and I’ve got some yummy suggestions at the end of this post!
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How do I make these cherry almond cookies?
To make the cookies you will need some standard baking ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, butter, and vanilla extract, all of which you may have in your pantry already. But you will also need almond extract, blue food coloring gel, and maraschino cherries.
You can use either a stand mixer – my trusty Kenwood mixer has been used in more baking recipes than I can count! Or you could use a hand mixer, which is a much more affordable option if you’re just starting out with baking recipes. Of course, you could use an old fashioned wooden spoon to beat the ingredients together – but who has time for that?!
Before anything else, place some parchment paper onto cookie sheets, and preheat the oven. All the temperatures and measurements can be found in the recipe card further down the page.
Start by whisking together the butter and sugar, then add in the egg, flour, baking powder, and vanilla, and almond extracts. Then divide the cookie dough in half, and color one of half blue.
Place the two bowls of cookie dough into the refrigerator to chill for about 5 minutes, and while that is happening, remove the stems from the cherries, and pat dry with a paper towel.
Now it’s time to form the cookies!
Flour your work surface, and your hands, and take about a teaspoon of each colored dough, press together, and roll to form a ball – be mindful not to mix the colors too much.
Place the dough ball onto your prepared cookie sheet, gently press in the center of the dough with your thumb, and place a cherry in the indentation. Repeat these steps with the rest of the cookie dough – you should get around 24 cookies. If you don’t want to use your thumb, you could always use the back of a ¼ tsp measuring spoon instead.
Place the cookies in the oven to bake for 9-12 minutes until lightly browned. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Enjoy these delicious, patriotic cookies with a glass of milk, or a cup of tea or coffee!
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For my UK readers:
This recipe uses American cup measurements. Since I use this type of measurement often, I find it handy to have a set of these cups in the kitchen. I have also included weights in grams and ounces should you prefer to weight your ingredients.
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp almond extract
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups unbleached white flour (plus extra for dusting)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 24 stemless maraschino cherries
- Blue food coloring gel
- Preheat oven to 350F/175C/Gas 5, and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or a hand mixer), beat butter and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
- Add egg, almond, and vanilla extracts, flour, baking powder and salt.
- Mix for about 30 seconds, or until combined.
- Divide mixture evenly between two bowls.
- Add blue food coloring gel to one of the bowls and mix to evenly distribute the coloring. Add a small amount first as you can always add more gel, but can't take it away!
- Place both bowls of dough into refrigerator for 5 minutes.
- Drain cherries well and dry on a paper towel, patting the top to dry as much as possible.
- Take dough out of refrigerator, a dust work surface and hands with flour.
- Take about 1 tsp of each color, press together, and gently roll into a ball, taking care not to mix the colors too much.
- Place dough ball on cookie sheet and gently press the center with your thumb.
- Add a cherry to each thumbprint.
- Bake for 9-12 minutes, until lightly golden.
- Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, before transferring to wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Food coloring gel or paste works best as the color is more vibrant and doesn't alter the consistency of the dough like food coloring liquid can.
Weights of ingredients:
170g/6oz/¾ cup caster sugar
227g/8oz/1 cup/2 sticks butter, softened
240g/9oz/2 cups unbleached white flour (plus extra for dusting)
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 142 Total Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 28mg Sodium: 123mg Carbohydrates: 16g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 8g Protein: 1g
More Recipes Using Cherries & Almonds
Thumbprint Cookie Variations
Here are some yummy variations that you could experiment with. The basic thumbprint cookie only has vanilla extract, so you can switch flavors quite easily.
I will be making some of these, so keep an eye out for them in the future!
- Make a vanilla cookie, and fill with your favourite jam flavour – my fav is apricot.
- Add some lemon zest to the cookie mix, and fill with raspberry or blueberry jam.
- Add some mint extract to the mix, and bake without a filling. As soon as they come out of the oven, press a square of chocolate into the cookie.
- Add some orange zest, and press in a square of chocolate once out of the oven.
- Add lime zest, and fill with some candied pineapple.
- Make it a mojito! Add rum extract, and finely chopped mint, fill with lime preserves.
- Bake without filling, and add caramel sauce and sea salt when cooked.
- Add some banana extract, and press in a piece of hard caramel. When cooked, sprinkle with grated chocolate.
You can also use different colours for the dough for seasonal events throughout the year!
- For Halloween use orange, red, black, purple or green, and top with a piece of candy corn, or a candy pumpkin.
- For Valentine’s use red or pink, and top with a Hershey’s Kiss.
- For Christmas, use green, or red, and fill with white chocolate and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
- For Easter, use pastel colors, and press in mini eggs when hot out of the oven.
I could go on – I’ve got so many ideas, but I think I’ll finish it there for now!
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Make It A Meal!
Looking for some mealtime inspiration to go with these cookies? I’ve got you covered!
- Main Dish: Kalua Pork – Hawaiian Style Pulled Pork
- Vegetable Side Dish: Mayo-Less Coleslaw
- Starch Side Dish: Tropical Rice Salad
- Beverage: Totally Tropical Blue Hawaiian Cocktail (Kid-friendly mocktail included!)
- Another Dessert: Pineapple Upside Down Cake Fudge
More Cookies Recipes
Once you’ve made these cherry almond cookies you’ll be wanting more cookies recipes! Here are some more for you to check out: