Monday, December 17, 2012

Grandma's Jelly Buttons

Not a year goes by that I don't make these cookies...I HAVE to carry on Grandma's tradition.  The first Christmas after she passed away, I made these and sent them to everyone in the family along with a copy of her handwritten recipe.  Now, I think it is time that I share it on here!  Chances are, you have tried these cookies somewhere may know them as "thumb print cookies", or "thimble cookies", but I have been calling them "jelly buttons".  Christmas just wouldn't be complete without a batch of these...I know Grandma would want you all to enjoy them as well!

My cousins make them too of course - here is a pic from this year...

AND the kiddo's that I used to babysit obviously adapted the tradition from ME.... I love that they make "Sessy's Grandma's cookies"!

Jelly Buttons
*Grams considered this a double batch - if you make them small enough, you should get about 80-100 cookies!
2 Sticks of unsalted butter
2 Sticks of margarine
1 Cup of brown sugar- packed down
4 Egg Yolks (save the whites in a separate bowl)
4 Cups of Flour
2 cups of finely chopped walnuts (buy them chopped, and then finish them off in a chopper if you want them to be more fine)
Preserves....I use Raspberry (my favorite), Apricot (Grandma's favorite), and Strawberry
Confectioners Sugar

*The best part about these directions are that they are the specific instructions that I scribbled down one year when she told me the recipe over the phone...makes it more fun!  
1.  Make sure the margarine and butter are room temperature....(it is a pain to do this when it is right out of the fridge)
2.  Cream the butter and margarine together with the brown sugar - this may take a while, use a wooden spoon and keep smearing it against the side of the bowl (don't try to use a mixer becuase it will just all get stuck on the thingys)
3.  When it is all mixed together, add in the 4 yolks and mix some more (don't forget you are saving the egg whites in a separate bowl)
4.  Mix in the flour one cup at a time as best you will eventually need to get your hands dirty - put some flour on the table and your hands to prevent it from sticking a little bit.... add more flour if it is too the end you will probably have to add more than the four cups in order to work it all into a dough but try to use the bare minimum if you can. (i made it this weekend and used about 4 and a quarter cups of flour)
5.  Make the dough into a log shape and wrap in plastic wrap, put in fridge for about a half hour (Grams told me I could skip this, but it made it easier to roll the dough out for the cookies if it hardens and settles a bit)
6.  Roll the dough into small balls (Grams was very specific...a TINY bit smaller than the size of a ping pong ball)
7.  Dip half in the egg whites and then in the walnuts, and put face up on an UNGREASED cookie sheet
8.  Press your finger into the dough, be careful not to push all the way through because cookie will break after they are cooked
9.  Fill the holes with the preserves....make sure they are level, if you put too much it will melt after you bake them and it will be a MESS!!!
10.  Bake at 350 Degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden brown
11.  Sprinkle with the confectioners sugar when they cool off

I did acquire her actual recipe book....she had such pretty handwriting! 
Gotta make it with love
The process can get a little messy, so worth it!  
Now, blast some Christmas music.... and get baking!  Enjoy!  


  1. love the pictures! Gonna have to follow you on Instagram :) They sound delicious!

  2. I love that this is something so special for you.We love these cookies at our house too :) I like the name "Jelly buttons" way better than Thumbprint cookies :)


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