Inspired by our soft, chewy, made-for-s'mores graham cracker cookies, this reinvented holiday version is made for the season's cookie plate. This twist on the classic thumbprint cookie bakes up plump and tender, thanks to a base made from a duo of crushed graham crackers and flour. Right in the center is a dollop of the jelly or jam of your choice.
The Best Jam for These Cookies
The highlight of any thumbprint cookie is the sweet valley of jam that rests at the center. Finish off these cookies with any type of jam or preserves you have on hand. Deep, jewel-toned jams, like currant, blackberry, raspberry, and cherry, have the most impact and add a pretty contrast against the brown color of the cookie.
How to Make Ahead and Freeze
Jam aside, the beauty of these graham cracker cookies is their make-ahead magic. They're quite easy to freeze and bake as needed. Prepare the cookies according to the recipe, stopping short of filling the centers with jam, then freeze, and bake when you're ready to fill your cookie plate. You can also freeze the baked cookies, but hold off on adding the jam until you're ready to serve them.
Graham Cracker Thumbprints
15 sheets graham crackers (5"x2.25" graham crackers or 2 cups graham cracker crumbs)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup jam
Process the graham crackers in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment until they are completely broken down into crumbs and have a sandy texture. Add the flour and salt, and pulse to combine; set aside.
Cream the butter, 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Fold in the graham cracker mixture until just combined.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Place the remaining sugar in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, measure 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough from the bowl. Roll between the palms of your hands to form a ball, then roll in the sugar until fully coated. Place on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Use your thumb to press down on the center of the ball of dough. Fill each with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
Bake until the cookies have set and the edges are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a flat spatula to transfer to them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make ahead: The dough can be made, formed into balls, rolled in sugar, pressed in the center, and frozen directly on the baking sheet. Store the frozen cookie dough in freezer zip-top bags or an airtight container for up to 2 months. Fill with jam and bake frozen, adding 1 to 2 minutes to the bake time. You can also freeze the fully baked cookies without jam; thaw completely before filling with jam.
- Storage: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.