Tamarind And Lime Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

Thumbprints filled with fruit jam are a classic among holiday cookie recipes, perhaps because they're really quite simple to make. Developer A.J. Forget's recipe "brings a Caribbean flair" to the old-school dessert, and he assures any thumbprint purists out there that "the combination of a tangy, tamarind-lime curd with a buttery, allspice-infused cookie is just a perfect mouthful."

If you're wondering where on earth you're going to find tamarind-lime curd, the answer is that you'll be making it yourself in part one of this two-part recipe. You'll need to source some tamarind paste, which Forget says is "an ingredient that's prevalent in many cuisines but not particularly common in a lot of kitchens in the U.S." (Find it where Latin, Thai, or Indian groceries are sold.) With a sweet and sour flavor that pairs perfectly with the spiced cookie, this key ingredient will surprise and delight anyone used to a standard peanut butter chocolate thumbprint cookie recipe.

Gather the ingredients for these tamarind and lime thumbprint cookies

To make that homemade curd, you're going to need coconut oil, eggs, sugar, salt, tamarind paste, and limes — here you'll be using just the juice, but the zest will go into the cookies. Additional ingredients needed for the cookies include flour, baking powder, allspice, butter, and vanilla extract.

Make the tamarind-lime curd

Stir all of the ingredients for the curd until they're well combined, then cook the mixture over low heat. "The most important thing," says Forget, "is to ensure slow, even heating." Otherwise, the curd could overcook and end up resembling scrambled eggs. To avoid this, keep stirring as you cook and use a candy thermometer if you've got one.

Once the curd reaches 165 F, it should have thickened up to an almost pudding-y consistency. At this point, turn off the heat, then strain the curd to get out any bits of lime pulp or tamarind seed. Stick it in the fridge to cool while you make the cookies.

Make the cookie dough

Preheat the oven to 350 F, then mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and allspice) with the lime zest. Use a separate bowl to cream the sugar with the butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. (Forget likes to use a handheld electric mixer for this step.) Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until you have a dough. Pick up the dough and work it a bit with your hands on a clean surface, then gather it into a ball.

Shape and fill the cookies

To shape the thumbprints, pinch off a piece of dough that's roughly the size of a big marble. (This recipe makes 32 cookies, so you could just divide the dough in half, then in half again, and so on until you reduce it down to 32 pieces.) Take each dough piece and roll it into a sphere, then put it on a cookie sheet and stick your thumb in the middle to make an indentation for the curd.

Once you've shaped and dented all of the dough, divide the curd up between the cookies, plopping a spoonful right in the thumbprint.

Bake the cookies

Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes. When done, they'll appear toasted on the bottom (pry them up with a spatula to check) but will still look a bit soft on the top.

Let the thumbprints cool off a bit before serving them with your favorite beverage — Forget likes to eat these with a glass of cold coconut milk, although dairy milk, coffee, tea, or limeade would pair nicely, too. Planning a gathering? Forget says "these cookies would fit in perfectly both at Grandma's cookie swap and after a beachside meal of callaloo and jerk chicken." And if you want to keep the sweet and sour theme going, why not serve these after a plate of homemade tamarind-honey shrimp?

Leftovers? The cookies should remain fresh for a week at room temperature in an airtight container, but they can be frozen for about a month if you won't be eating them so quickly.

Tamarind And Lime Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
5 from 37 ratings
Move over, strawberry jam. This tamarind twist on a classic thumbprint cookie is sweet, sour, and worthy of any cookie exchange.
Prep Time
Cook Time
thumbprint cookies with brown filling
Total time: 50 minutes
  • 6 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 5 eggs, divided
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar, divided
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. To make the tamarind-lime curd, beat together the coconut oil, 3 eggs, ½ cup sugar, lime juice, tamarind paste, and a pinch of salt (about ⅛ teaspoon) in a small saucepan.
  2. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches 165 F. (The curd should have thickened to a custardy consistency at this point.)
  3. Strain the curd, discard any solids, and refrigerate it while you prepare the cookies.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  5. Combine the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, lime zest, and allspice in a large bowl.
  6. In a medium bowl, cream the remaining ¾ cup sugar with the butter, remaining 2 eggs, and vanilla extract, then add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms.
  7. Work the dough briefly with your hands on a clean surface, then form it into a ball.
  8. Pinch off a piece of dough that's about the size of a large marble, and roll it into a sphere. Place the piece of dough on a cookie sheet and press your thumb into the center to form an indentation. Repeat until all the dough is used.
  9. Spoon the tamarind-lime curd into the center of each cookie.
  10. Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes or until they are toasted on the bottom and slightly soft on top.
Calories per Serving 193
Total Fat 11.9 g
Saturated Fat 7.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 47.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 19.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 8.2 g
Sodium 95.6 mg
Protein 2.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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