Cranberry Bliss Thumbprint Cookies were my surprise recipe this year. They were super easy to make, and they were outstanding! I didn’t know what to think about making the jam with cranberries, but loved the sweet and tart combo!
This recipe was first out on our Christmas in July Day 20 celebration in 2019. It was a lot of fun sharing all of these ideas with you without all the pressure of the holidays actually being here! Silly as that seems, it is true!
Full disclosure, Christmas in July showed us I am a “wee-bit” obsessed with infusing Cranberry Bliss into as many treats as I can! I know! See how many recipes I posted? What can I say? I love the taste that comes from the mixture of lemon, orange, cranberries, and white chocolate.
Frozen Cranberries – We used frozen here as you can get these in the freezer department at the grocery store all year long.
Lemon and Orange Zest – This is a big part of the flavor of these cookies that our favorite coffee shop uses. If you’ve never used zest before, it’s really easy to do using a zester and gently rubbing the outer skin of the fruit. Just be careful to not get the white section called, pith, that is between the skin and the fruit as it’s a little bitter.
Step One: Combine one bag of frozen cranberries, one half cup of sugar, and one half cup of water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Step Two: Boil for about 8-18 minutes stirring constantly. The cranberries will start to pop and the sugar water will thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
You have the option to leave the compote/jam rustic with the peels exposed or put the entire mixture in a blender or food processor for a couple of pulses to smooth it. It makes it more consistent texture and the presentation is really a bit nicer. I have done both and the taste is the same, obviously.
Step One: Combine the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix well. Add in the vanilla extract and continue to mix.
Step Two: Add in the flour and lemon/orange zest and mix well. Wrap the dough into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill.
⚠️ Word of caution: Don’t leave the dough in longer as it dries out and hardens. If you remove the dough from the refrigerator and it feels drier than you think it should be, take a one inch ball of dough at a time and work it in your hands. The heat from your hands will soften it.
Step Three: Form the dough into one inch balls, place them on the cookie sheet and make a thumbprint in the center of the cookie.
Step Four: Add a small teaspoon of Cranberry Jam to the thumbprint.
Step Five: Bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes. Watch them closely starting at about the 9 minute mark as each oven is different. You want them to come out golden brown, not burnt and hard. Don’t over-bake!
Step Six: Once cooled, heat up a little bit of the Candi Quik melting chocolate and gently drizzle on top and allow to cool.
📝 Expert Tips
- If you are making a lot of these, your hands will get tired. I used a wooden mini-tart shaper, which is a small wooden tool with rounded ends that made the thumbprints for me.
- If you have kids, put them to work making the thumbprints and adding the dollops of jam. They will love to help out and bake cookies with you!
- Mix up the jams to make a rainbow of colors. This makes a phenomenal presentation.
If you want to keep the lemon and orange zest flavoring, use orange marmalade in the center. If you want to double up on lemon zest and take out the orange, use blueberry jam for a delicious Blueberry Lemon Thumbprint Cookie.
A lot of thumbprint cookies have nuts sprinkled on the dough, but the Cranberry Bliss Bars at Starbucks don’t have them, so I excluded them here. Traditionalists should add crushed walnuts.
Yes, you can. I would flash freeze these. Lay the cookies out on a sheet pan and freeze for 6-8 hours. Remove from them from the freezer and then layer them in a bag or container dividing it with parchment. Remove the day before you want to serve. If the icing breaks off, reapply it with no problem. If you know you are going to freeze these cookies, I would suggest adding the little big chocolate icing the day after you remove from the freezer so they have a fresh, crisp look to them.
🔖 Related Recipes
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Cranberry Bliss Thumbprint Cookies
- 12 oz Cranberries frozen
- ½ cup Sugar
- ½ cup Water
Sugar Cookie Thumbprint
- 3 sticks Butter softened
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 ½ cups Flour
- 1 tsp Lemon Zest
- 1 tsp Orange Zest
- 3-5 tbsp Candi Quik melting chocolate, melted
Sugar Cookie Thumbprint
- Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix together.
- Add vanilla extract, lemon zest and orange zest and mix.
- Add the flour, a little at a time, and mix well.
- Wrap up the dough into a ball and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
- Once the cookies have been in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, remove and working with your hands, roll the dough into 1 inch balls. If the dough feels dry to the touch, gently work it in your hands for a moment and it will warm up and soften.
- Place balls on cookie sheet and with your thumb, press a little indentation into the center being careful to not push all the way through.
- Add about ½ – 1 tsp of cranberry compote to the center of each cookie.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes or until slightly brown. Don't overbake.
- Once cooled, drizzle the white chocolate on top and allow to harden.
- Combine the cranberries, sugar and water in a small 2 qt pan and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-20 minutes until the cranberries have popped.
- Allow to cool and blend in a food processor or blender to make smooth.