jam drop thumbprint cookies with crabapple jelly


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

Since it’s pretty obvious that I kind of let canning take over my kitchen this year (judging by the overstocked pantry), I’ve been infusing some of the concoctions into different recipes. One of the fun recipes that popped up are these delicious jam drop cookies or to be more politically/culinary correct in this particular case, jelly drop cookies. Where shall I begin with my fondness for jam drop cookies? I first tried them as a kid and have since loved the appeal of jams and jellies on cookies. You can nibble from the edges of the cookie till you reach that delicious middle well of jammy goodness and then everything becomes perfect at that moment!

This crabapple jelly was a neighborly collaborative effort, my neighbor Farouk has a crabapple tree that was fruiting and he was kind enough to share some. Krysta who also lives next door helped me make the jelly and polish off a few glasses of gin that evening (surprisingly this is one jelly I did not add any alcohol to). She also has a dehydrator which she uses to do a lot of deliciously marvelous things, like a crabapple fruit leather with the leftover pulp. For the crabapple jelly, I stuck to the

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

(I love this book it is the bible for all things canning and teaches you the basics and principles of canning). The jelly is delicious and nothing like its progenitor, crabapples have a slight bitter and strong tart taste and though I have tried them raw, I would not do that again. On a fun nerd note, how interesting is it that roses, apples, and crabapples all belong to the same plant family,



This jam drop thumbprint cookie recipe is based on Martha Stewart’s

Aunt Maggie’s jam drop thumbprint cookie recipe

that I have tested and changed quite a bit. I’ve changed the butter, flour, and sugar ratios and also added a little bit of vanilla to complement the delicate flavor of the crabapple jelly. I bake the cookies till the edges just to start to get a little golden brown and immediately remove them from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool. The cookies will harden and will stay good in an airtight container for about 2 to 3 weeks. The result of these modifications is a buttery vanilla scented cookie with a gentle dollop of a deliciously sweet and citrusy crabapple jelly. Of course you can practically substitute any of your favorite jam or jellies on these cookies, so your options are limitless! This is the recipe that keeps on reinventing itself.

crabapple jelly


makes about eight 250mL jars


80 ounces ripe crabapples

5 cups cold water

7 1/2 cups sugar

1 pouch (85mL) liquid pectin

1. Wash the crabapples and trim the stem and blossom ends off. Place the trimmed crabapples with the cold water in a stockpot. Bring it to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat and cover loosely.  Cook for another 30 minutes with occasional stirring. 

3. Transfer and drain the liquid through a jelly bag or strainer lined with several layers of dampened muslin/cheesecloth. Let the liquid drip for at least 2 hours or overnight. Do not be tempted to squeeze the fruit pulp or the resulting jelly will appear cloudy.

4. In a large stockpot, pour the extracted crabapple juice and sugar. Cook on a high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. 

5.Bring the syrup to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. This is the critical stage at which the liquid pectin must be added. Stir in the pectin. Boil hard for 1 minute with constant stirring. Remove the stockpot from the stove and skim off any foam.

6. Quickly pour the jelly into hot sterile jars. Seal jars and place them in a canner until they are completely covered with water. Bring to a full boil and then process for another 10 minutes. Cool for another 5 minutes. Remove jars, cool, and store. The fully set jelly will be a peach pink in color.

crabapple jelly(jam) drop thumbprint cookies 


about 20-25 cookies


1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

a pinch of salt

1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg gently beaten

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

about 1/4 cup crabapple jelly or jam

1. Place the butter and sugar into the mixing bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment with the mixer set to medium speed, cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes till completely smooth.

2.  In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Keep aside.

3. Beat the egg and vanilla into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. This will take about 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed.

4. Add half of the whisked flour and salt mixture to the batter with constant mixing. Repeat this till all the flour is combined.

5. Transfer the cookie batter to a smaller bowl and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate the batter for at least 4 hours to overnight.

6. The batter will be stiffer now and scoop out about two tablespoons of dough to make a ball about an inch in diameter with your hands. 

7. At this point you can melt/warm the crabapple jelly in a microwave for a minute or keep it in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. This will liquefy the jelly a little, making it easy to pour into the cookie well.

8. Press the ball in the center with a wet thumb or finger just deep enough to make a well. (The well should not pass through the cookie or be too close to the bottom)

9. Spoon in a little melted crabapple jelly into the center of the well. 

10. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Place the cookies on a baking sheet prelined with baking paper. Space the cookies about 1.5 inches apart from each other. Bake the cookies in the oven for about 20 minutes till the edges just begin to turn golden. Immediately, remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them onto a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container with a sheet of wax paper between each layer of cookies.

Here is the label that I designed for this set of jams, feel free to use them as needed. Click on the image to the right to download the label pdf.


These labels are for personal use only. If you do use them or credit them, please post a link back to the related original recipe and not the file. 


 A Brown Table

11 Responses

  1. gorgeous jelly !! i seriously did not know that apple, rose and cranberry are the same plant family – that is a good nurdy note !!

  2. it looks perfect indeed and the yam has amazing color and I like that it's kind of transparent.

  3. I unknowingly bit into a crab apple when I was a child and was shocked, lol. I love the color and quality you've yielded with them…GENIUS!

  4. First time here and I am loving the recipes in your blog. The jelly looks so good and I can see myself using it in many dishes. Glad to have stumbled upon your blog.

  5. Hi! I made this jelly last year and gave it out as Christmas gifts (a few jars also found their way into my cupboard… and eventually my belly. 🙂 Anyway, I just found a jar tucked away and decided to make these cookies. However, I wasn’t able to see a temperature for baking the cookies. I went with 350, for about 22 minutes. They came out perfect – lightly-browned on the bottoms and firm throughout. I love these cookies! They are not too sweet, and the perfect compliment to the tart jelly. Thanks!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Sonia for letting me know, I’ve fixed it. I am really happy you loved the cookies and tried them out 🙂

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