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Lemon Hibiscus Thumprint Cookies

Prep Time:

15 minutes

Cook Time:

15 minutes


20 cookies

About the Recipe

I love thumbprint cookies. They are so simple yet perfect. From their no fuss aesthetic to the flavor combo of the buttery cookie and the delicate stickyness of the jam. No wonder they have become a classic.
I have often made them by simply using store bought jam. From strawberry to apricot and everything else in between, fill them with whatever flavors you crave.
These particular cookies were made for a collaboration with Selefina Spices. I wanted to showcase their beautiful dried Hibiscus Flowers. I will say, that this was the first time that I used hibiscus flowers to make a preserve, it was a complete experiment.
Having usually boiled hibiscus flowers to make tea, I wasn't entirely sure that the preserve would actually come together and I certainly wasn’t expecting the color to turn out to be so dark and dramatic. I thought I would likely achieve a more transparent kind of ruby pink.
However, sometimes unexpected cooking surprises make the bakes even lovelier than expected. I love how the deep contrast of the hibiscus jam pairs with the light bright lemony feel of the cookies.
A perfect way to showcase the fun shape of the heart print.


For the cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons lemon zest

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Hibiscus Jam or Preserve (see below)

For the hibiscus preserve:

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers

1 tablespoon hibiscus powder

1 teaspoon lemon peel powder

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Begin by making your hibiscus preserve, as this will need a little bit of time to cool before adding it to your cookies. Homemade hibiscus preserve is really easy to make. Simply follow my easy steps below.

Homemade Hibiscus Preserve:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the dried hibiscus petals and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the petals are softened.

  2. Strain the liquid from the petals, pressing the petals to extract as much liquid as possible.

  3. Return the liquid to the saucepan and add sugar and lemon juice. Stir well to combine.

  4. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the jam thickens to your desired consistency.

Tip: to test the consistency of the jam, place a small dollop on a cold plate, let it sit and cool a few minutes. When cool run your finger through it. If the jam wrinkles up and sticks to your finger (in a jam-like consistency) you're ready to go.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the hibiscus jam cool to room temperature.

Now that your hibiscus preserve is ready, stick it in the fridge and allow it to cool as you start creating the cookies.

The Cookies:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.

3. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Gradually add this dry mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.

5. Shape the cookie dough into small balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet.

6. Make an indentation in the center of each cookie using your thumb or the back of a spoon.

Tip: to make these cute heart shapes I used my pinky. First press your pinky into the dough at an angle and the do another on the opposite side, with the bottom of each imprint touching.

7. Fill each indentation with hibiscus jam or preserves.

8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden.

9. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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