cranberry pecan thumbprint cookies

I attended my first Christmas cookie swap of the season over the weekend. It was raining and miserable out and I had spent most of my day lounging about in my pajamas watching Christmas movies with the boys and creating Christmas magic. I didn’t feel motivated to bake – at all – but I eventually rallied and made Cranberry Pecan Thumbprint Cookies for the swap. 

Even for the most unmotivated baker could whip up these Cranberry Pecan Thumbprint Cookies in as little as 30 minutes. The dough forms easily, the cookies bake quickly and they don’t require a lot of extra decorating once they are done. 

I  happened to have leftover homemade cranberry sauce lying around but feel free to use the canned variety if that’s what you have. Seriously, the holidays are hectic enough. Why stress over your Christmas cookies?

After willing myself off the couch I am pleased to say I had two batches of these Cranberry Pecan Thumbprint Cookies. Each batch makes about 30 cookies and I had to bring 5 dozen to the cookie swap and two batches gave me the exact quantity I needed.

With a quick press of my thumb into the baked cookie, a dollop of cranberry sauce and a drizzle of white chocolate, my cookies were done. 

By the time I was ready to leave it was still raining so my drive the swap was pretty depressing but when I arrived I was greeted with a table full of beautiful, decorated Christmas cookies. My mood was immediately improved.

christmas cookies

There was a nice variety of cookies and in true Christmas spirit there was a competition. Awards were given for “Best Tasting” and “Best Looking” cookies. I am proud to say my Cranberry Pecan Thumbprint Cookies won in the “Best Looking” category and was a close contender for “Best Tasting.” 

Cranberry Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

The perfect Christmas cookie
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Author: Linda Arceo


  • 6 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter flavoring extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 - 1 cup cranberry sauce homemade or canned
  • Melted white chocolate for drizzling optional


  • In a large bowl cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg. Beat in oil, vanilla, butter flavoring. Combine the flour cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Stir into creamed mixture.
  • Roll into 1-inch balls. In a small bowl lightly whip egg whites. Dip each bowl halfway into egg white and then into pecans. Place nut side up 1-inch apart on baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Make an thumb indentation in to the center of each cookie. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Re-press thumbprint if needed while still warm. Remove to wire racks. Fill each cookie with 1/4 teaspoon of cranberry sauce and let cool. Drizzle with melted white chocolate (optional) and allow to set.
If you are looking for a great holiday cookie that will brighten up your cookie tray and add a burst of flavor, make sure to add my Cranberry Pecan Thumbprint Cookies to your Christmas cookie baking list.

This post was written by food blogger Linda Arceo for Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps. All rights reserved. 


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