It’s been way too long since I’ve had some fun with holiday food, and with the Fourth of July just right around the corner, I figured I “had best get a move on” (pardon my southern) vetting out our potential menu options. We almost always have plans for Independence Day, but this is the first year I can try to contribute something more than just textbook grill food (although there will still be plenty of that to be had.)
So to start off, I only had to think about the colors of the occasion: red, white, and blue, and of course I immediately thought of strawberries, cream cheese frosting, and blueberries.
Because of course I did. Is there really anything else that would be a more perfect fit?
I’ve also been itching for an opportunity to expand on these Cherry Pie Cookies that I posted ages ago, primarily because the butter cookie base bakes up extremely soft and crumbly. So okay, yes, I may have just been looking for an excuse to make these delicious cookies again, but can you blame me? They’re as soft and yummy as they look.
These cookies are also extremely quick to make, topping out at about 30 minutes from start to finish – half of which is just for baking. A quicker dessert means you can devote the rest of your attention to other important things, like rotating meat on the grill, setting off fireworks, and making sure everyone has a cold beer in hand (including yourself).
Or, at least, I know that’s what I’ll be doing come this Fourth of July!
Do you have to chill the dough?
Because this recipe uses a lot of butter, you may want to consider chilling the dough for 1-2 hours before baking.
As for me, I have never chilled this dough and have always been happy with the results, so the recipe instructions do not mention chilling.
However, if you’re curious what chilling does do cookie dough and whether or not you’d like to try it for this recipe, be sure to check out this article: Chilling Cookie Dough: Does it Make a Difference?
Do you have to use margarine?
This recipe uses two types of butter: “standard” butter and margarine.
Margarine was very popular in older recipes like this one, but over time, that’s become less common because the ingredients in margarine have changed. Margarine used to have a lot more fat than butter, but from what I understand from my limited research, that’s no longer the case.
So, that begs the question: do you have to use margarine in this recipe?
I always have used margarine, so I don’t have any advice to give based on personal experience, but this discussion on Chowhound has some good info that can help you make the choice for your own baking.
Can you freeze baked thumbprint cookies?
Yes! You can totally freeze these cookies, but there’s a catch.
I can only recommend freezing the cookies before they’ve been decorated. Save the decorating for after the cookies have been thawed.
For best results, allow the cookies to cool completely, then arrange the cookies in a single layer (without touching) on a baking sheet or large plate. Freeze the cookies first, then once solid, they can be transferred to a container of your choice. If possible, separate layers of cookies with wax paper or parchment paper.
When stored correctly, baked cookies can be frozen for up to two months.
Notes and tips for these patriotic cookies
- If you’re doing a lot of baking, I highly recommend having some silicone baking mats or silicone baking mats on hand. Baking cookies takes enough time without having to cut or measure parchment paper. Or if you prefer using parchment paper, you can try using pre-cut parchment paper sheets instead.
- Plus, some quality baking sheets are a must for a cookie baking extravaganza!
- For this recipe, I highly recommend using a stand mixer or a hand mixer. This recipe would be difficult to make by hand with a whisk.
More Red, White, and Blue Recipes
More fun cookie recipes
Patriotic Fruit Pie Cookies
Celebrate the red, white, and blue holidays with these festive soft butter patriotic cookies topped with cream cheese frosting, chopped strawberries, and blueberries.
For the Butter Cookies
In a large bowl, sift together sugar and flour, then set aside.
Drop mixer speed to low and add vanilla extract, then blend for 30 seconds.
Keeping speed on low, quickly add dry ingredients to the wet. Tip: use a 1/3 or 1/2 measuring cup to continually scoop the dry ingredients in while the batter continues to mix (see above video for example). Continue to mix until dough begins to cling to the beater and has a soft and smooth texture, about 2-4 minutes.
Using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll it between your hands. Place finished cookie ball on prepared baking sheet. Repeat this step until all dough is used, placing cookies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
Use your thumb (or the back of a spoon) and press into the center of the cookie dough, creating a small well. See above video for example.
Bake cookies for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the sides of the cookies are puffed and bottoms of cookies begin to turn a light golden color.
Let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Cream Cheese & Fruit Topping
Keeping speed on low, slowly beat in powdered sugar until fully incorporated. If you need to adjust the consistency, try add more milk or powdered sugar (1 tsp at a time) until texture is correct. Frosting should be a standard thickness.
Putting it all Together
- Scoop 1 tablespoon of frosting in the well of each cookie. Place chopped fruit on top of frosting. Pour remaining frosting in a frosting bag (or in a ziplock bag with the corner cut) and drizzle more cream cheese frosting in decorative stripes across the top of the fruit as desired.
- Allow frosting to dry completely before serving or storing. Cookies can be stored within air tight container in a cool place for up to 5 days.