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Lemon-Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

Lemon-Pecan Thumbprint Cookies are a traditional jelly thumbprint cookie after a slight makeover featuring a lemon curd filling in a pecan-studded cookie. Sprinkle with powdered sugar for a dressier look.


My hand unexpectedly volunteered to host a get-together for my Bible Study Fellowship group last week. It was the motivation I needed to finish decorating my house for Christmas.

But I was feeling lazy and incompetent about doing my tree. It’s not terribly big or fancy–I just wasn’t in the mood, and I don’t usually think it looks all that good when I’m finished.

Then Superman Rob came to the rescue.

My daughter-in-law’s brother does a fabulous job decorating homes (interiors only) for Christmas. Part of our deal was the promise of a lemony treat.

For this reason, I set to work on these Lemon Pecan Thumbprint Cookies. They are a variation of my husband’s favorite Christmas Thumbprint Cookies.

I mixed the pecans into the dough instead of coating the cookie (to save time), used lemon curd instead of frosting in the center, and sprinkled the finished cookies with powdered sugar.

My husband and my sister, visiting from Alabama, raided my freezer a couple of nights ago looking for these cookies. After eating several, they said, “Be sure to tell everybody these are really good.”

I said, “Thank-you. Get out of my freezer.”

Kitchen Secrets for Lemon Thumbprints:

  • Toasting nuts makes a difference. Skip it and miss out on the best flavor. It only takes 2 minutes with a microwave–directions here.
  • Lemon curd can be homemade or store-bought.  Here is my recipe for making it in the microwave.  Want something different?  Try making orange or lime curd for a unique variation.
  • Putting the cookies in the oven for a couple of minutes before making a crater helps soften the dough so you won’t have cracks around the edge that leak filling.  No guarantees–you may still get a few–but it works for me.
  • Be sure cookies are completely cooled before dusting with powdered sugar or it will melt and disappear.
Lemon-Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

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Lemon-Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

Lemon-Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

Yield: 18 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

The traditional jelly thumbprint cookie gets a slight makeover with a lemon curd filling in a pecan studded cookie.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon curd
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place flour, toasted pecans and salt in bowl of food processor and pulse until nuts are finely chopped.
  2. Use electric mixer to combine butter and sugar, beating until light-colored and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla, mixing well. Pour flour mixture in all at once and gently combine just until flour disappears. Scrape bowl a couple times to be sure there are no chunks or streaks of butter left unmixed.
  3. Roll dough into tablespoon-size balls and place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. (If dough is too soft to handle, chill for about 30 minutes.) Bake for 2 minutes. Remove tray and use your thumb or a rounded teaspoon to make indentation in each cookie. Bake another 8-9 minutes and remove cookies from the oven.
  4. Working quickly, re-indent center with thumb or spoon and fill with a half-teaspoon of lemon curd. Return to the oven another 8-10 minutes until cookies start to brown on the edges. Allow cookies to cool about 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack. When completely cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 59mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g

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Tuesday 22nd of January 2013

I made these with freshly ground whole wheat flour. They are very good!

Jules @ Everyday Mommy

Monday 13th of December 2010

I can't stop staring at these cookies.

Jules @ Everyday Mommy

Monday 13th of December 2010

Okay. That's it. Your photos are just plain dangerous. Your blog needs a warning label :)


Monday 13th of December 2010

Great looking cookies. Now I know how that extra jar of lemon curd in the pantry will be used for Christmas baking.


Monday 13th of December 2010

Sounds delicious and I agree with Scooter-I love lemon and am sure they are a welcome change to everything chocolate- although I love that too. Will have to try these for the holidays!