This healthy strawberry jam thumbprint cookie recipe is festive for the holidays with a red center and a green sugar coating. If you want to skip making your own naturally dyed sugar, look for green sparkling or decorating sugar prepared with botanical ingredients. For sources for natural dyes and sugars, see Tips.


Recipe Summary test

2 hrs 30 mins

Nutrition Profile:



Natural Green Decorating Sugar
Cookie Dough & Filling


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare decorating sugar: Place sugar in a small bowl. Add a few drops of dye and stir until evenly blended. Adjust color with more dye as desired.

  • Spread the colored sugar in a thin layer on a small parchment-lined baking sheet. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees F for 2 minutes, then immediately turn it off. (The warm oven dries the sugar, but too much heat will burn it.) Let the sugar stand in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. (The sugar may be refrigerated airtight for up to 1 year.)

  • To prepare & decorate cookies: Position a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.

  • Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat oil, butter, sugar, egg and lemon zest in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Beat in honey, vanilla and almond (or lemon) extract until evenly incorporated.

  • With the mixer on low speed, then medium speed, beat about half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until incorporated. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.

  • Divide the dough into quarters. Roll each quarter into a 9-inch "log." Slice the log into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.

  • Place the green sugar on a small plate. Roll each ball in the sugar. Place about 1 1/2 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet. Press a well into the center of each cookie with a thumb. Fill with about 1/2 teaspoon jam.

  • Bake the cookies on the center rack, one pan at a time, until firm when pressed near the edge, 8 to 12 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool to room temperature.


Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate colored sugar airtight for up to 1 year. Cover and refrigerate the cookie dough for up to 1 day. Store baked cookies airtight in a single layer for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Find clear (or white) sanding sugar (aka sparkling or coarse sugar) in well-stocked baking stores, gourmet food shops or online at

Find green and other natural liquid dyes plus a rainbow of already-dyed decorating sugars at

White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. It is available at large supermarkets and natural-foods stores and online at or Store it in the freezer.

Nutrition Facts

1 1/2-inch cookie
82 calories; protein 0.9g; carbohydrates 13.9g; dietary fiber 0.4g; sugars 7.9g; fat 2.7g; saturated fat 0.8g; cholesterol 6.4mg; vitamin a iu 35.4IU; vitamin c 0.6mg; folate 16.1mcg; calcium 11.2mg; iron 0.5mg; magnesium 1.6mg; potassium 14mg; sodium 30.3mg; added sugar 8g.

1/2 starch, 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1/2 fat