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A delicious and tender thumbprint cookie rolled in jimmies then topped off with a pile of sweet buttercream frosting.
I am a Pittsburgh girl. I grew up in Pittsburgh and while I have moved away my entire family still lives there so I still go home several times a year. Pittsburgh is truly one of my favorite cities in the world.
Growing up I can remember getting thumbprint cookies when we went to Giant Eagle or people carrying them to events in white bakery boxes. They weren’t the traditional thumbprints with jam in the middle. These thumbprints were special to the Pittsburgh area.
They were the Kaufmann’s Thumbprint Cookies. Kaufmann’s had a huge store downtown and in that store was the Arcade Bakery. This bakery made the now famous Pittsburgh thumbprints.
- vanilla extract
- almond extract (I like using Taylor & Colledge almond extract paste)
- cake flour
To Make the Cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine the sugar, shortening, salt, and butter. Mix for 2-3 minutes or until fluffy. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix well. Add in the cake flour and mix gently until just combined. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll into the jimmies then place on a baking sheet. Press in your thumbprint. Bake for 15 minutes.
These thumbprints aren’t your traditional cookies. It’s funny, until I saw this recipe I had forgotten all about them. Once I saw the recipe I knew I had to make them as I could remember eating these cookies after church, at potlucks, and at the grocery store.
The cookie itself is firm and not very sweet. When you see the amount of sugar don’t be worried, it’s really only a bit. You don’t want the cookie too sweet because the filling is super sweet.
While firm, the cookie is tender and crumbly. They are rolled in your choice of jimmies. Yes, make sure they are jimmies and not sprinkles. You can find an awesome set of jimmies HERE.
I don’t have cake flour, what can I use?
Making your own cake flour is super easy! Simply add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 2 cups of all purpose flour and mix well.
Do I have to use the shortening?
If you want your cookies to be firm yet tender you really need to add the shortening. The first batch I made substituted butter for the shortening and they just weren’t the same. I use Crisco shortening and it works so well in this recipe.
Can I use sprinkles instead of jimmies?
Ok can you use sprinkles? Yes. Will it be the same? No because jimmies are what real Pittsburghers use. I like that jimmies hold their shape and color in the oven where sprinkles can melt into the dough. However you can use sprinkles if that’s what you have at home.
Do I need both almond and vanilla extracts?
If you want the flavor of the actual cookie and buttercream from Arcade Bakery you need to use both. If you don’t care if the flavor is a little off you can use just one or the other. Be careful when using almond extract as it is a very strong flavor. Only use the tiny bit mentioned in the recipe.
I used Taylor & Colledge extract pastes in this recipe because they pack a ton of flavor without adding any extra liquid. You can check out their flavors HERE. Then check out the end of this post to see how you can win some of these for your own holiday baking!
After the cookies are baked they need to cool on the rack. Once cooled start on your buttercream frosting. I usually make one batch of buttercream then dye it different colors. My favorite food coloring is Americolor Gel Food Coloring.
Then using a star tip simply pipe the frosting into the indentation. They are really stunning cookies and they taste great. My first bite took me back to being a kid and it was really cool to be able to have a treat from my childhood.
More Cookie Recipes:
- Polish Cream Cheese Cookies
- Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies
- Caramel Macchiato Cookies
- Caramel Butter Pecan Cookies
If you’ve tried my Pittsburgh Thumbprint Cookies or any other recipe on Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:
For the cookies:
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1/3 c. shortening
- 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 c. cake flour
- Colored jimmies
For the frosting:
- 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl combine the sugar, butter, shortening, and salt. Mix well for 2-3 minutes or until smooth.
- Add in the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and mix well.
- Add in the cake flour and gently mix until just combined.
- Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in jimmies and place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Press your thumb into each dough ball.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
- Cool completely.
- Meanwhile place the butter in a large bowl. Beat on medium high speed until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond extract and mix until a frosting forms.
- Dye the frosting desired colors. Put in a piping bag with a star tip and pipe into the center of each cookie.
Recipe from Heritage Cookies