12 Days of Christmas Cookies – Thumbprint Cookies with Bobbie Hampson

My mother in law, Bobbie, is an extraordinary cook. She is the first person I’ve ever known to make cauliflower taste good, and there are some things that I know she makes that I don’t even try to replicate. It would be a fool’s errand! Over Thanksgiving, I of course asked her to teach me to make one of her favorite Christmas cookies: thumbprints!

My favorite part of this recipe is that while we were making them together, I experienced the first instance in the six years I’ve known him that my father in law has delivered a very, very specific request. As one of the kindest and most accommodating men on earth, I hardly ever hear him make a big deal of his own preferences. With these cookies, though, he was very insistent! You see, long ago, the decision to put icing instead of the traditional jelly on these cookies was made. The icing is dyed pink and green and for some very valid reason that I am not privy to Dr. Hampson decided: the green ones taste better.

Now, I tasted both, and I can’t tell you if it is the placebo effect, or the actual taste, but I did like the green better. Do they actually taste better? Do I just trust his judgement? Do me a favor, if you’re reading this: make these cookies, and then help me decide. Green or pink?


¼ cup butter or margarine, softened

¼ cup shortening

¼ cup brown sugar (packed)

1 egg, separated

1.2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup finely chopped nuts


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla.

Work in flour and salt until dough holds together.

Shape dough by teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls.

Beat egg white slightly. Dip each ball into egg white, then roll in nuts.IMG_0739

Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Press thumb deeply into center of each.


Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown.


Immediately remove from baking sheet, then let cool before icing.

For the Icing

3 3/4 cups (1 lb. box) Domino® Confectioners Sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions (From the Domino’s Sugar Box)

In a large bowl, with electric mixer at low speed, combine sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. Beat at medium speed 1 to 2 minutes, until creamy. If desired, add more milk until frosting is spreading consistency.

Separate the icing into two bowls and add desired amount of food coloring to create colors.


3 thoughts on “12 Days of Christmas Cookies – Thumbprint Cookies with Bobbie Hampson”

  1. I am blushing, ☺️ thank you for your vote of confidence. I cannot in good conscience take credit for these cookies, however. My sister-in-law, Mary Hampson Minifie, Showed me how to make them. John and Mary’s grandmother had a fabulous cook named Florence, the innovator who gets credit for substituting luscious buttercream for the jelly found in most other thumbprint recipes. I’m glad you like them. Frankly, I encourage people to eat the green ones because that leaves more (aka pink ones) for moi 🐷!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s