Meringue Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

Baking around the holidays is extra special to me since it’s a tradition that I remember all the way back to being a little kid baking in my Grandma’s kitchen. She would have multiple mixers out and everyone in the family was involved in the production of dozens upon dozens of holiday cookies to make cookie trays for friends, family and Christmas Day. My Grandpa was in charge of putting sprinkles on top of the Italian wedding cookies, while my Grandma perfected the timing of her Italian pizelles on the waffle iron. I always remember swiping the extra preserves that baked out of the Italian thumbprint cookies off the tray. So in the spirit of tradition, I give you my Aunt Betty’s recipe for these Meringue Coconut Thumbprint Cookies.
I asked my mom to send me pictures of any of the recipe cards she could find from my Grandma’s recipe book. She found this one from my Aunt Betty dated 1975. The cookies were called something different on the recipe card that isn’t PC in 2021 so we’ll go with calling them Meringue Coconut Thumbprint Cookies. When I started baking these, I had thought these were just regular Italian Thumbprint Cookies, and didn’t realize the meringue part until I was already well into baking. But I never let a stiff peak scare me off before.
I made my cookies a little bigger, using more of a tablespoon size instead of the recommended teaspoon size in the recipe, which yielded closer to 18 cookies instead of the 30 the recipe suggests.
I also wasn’t sure what to do with the meringue so I winged it and just tried to swirl it on top of each cookie. If i was more prepared, I think you’d have an easier time putting it in a pastry bag and doing a little swirl on top like you were frosting a cupcake. I also did half apricot jam and half raspberry preserves. The raspberry was definitely my favorite, but both were absolutely DELICIOUS.
The meringue has a little crunch, with the sweet jammy center and then soft coconut cookie base. It’s really the perfect cookie. This was also the sixth year I’ve organized The Salted Cookie Holiday Swap with about 20 friends and friends of friends. I had my long-time friend Ania as my cookie swap match, so shipped these over to her in Somerville. The meringue doesn’t hold up well in shipping, so I should have just driven them over and hand delivered, but she said she ate four immediately upon arrival.

So if you’re looking for one more addition to your holiday cookie trays this year, definitely add these beautiful and delicious Meringue Coconut Thumbprint Cookies.

Meringue Coconut Thumbprint Cookies
Yield: 30-40 Cookies

Meringue Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

From my family's recipe box, these Meringue Coconut Thumbprint Cookies are the perfect addition to your holiday cookie trays.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup raspberry preserves (can also substitute strawberry or apricot)
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (for the meringue)


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line your baking sheets with a sil-pat liner or parchment paper. Sift together flour and salt.
  2. Cream together butter and 1 cup confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract to creamed mixture and beat well.
  4. Gradually blend the sifted dry ingredients into the creamed mixture and stir until batter is smooth.
  5. Add coconut to the batter and mix thoroughly.
  6. Roll teaspoon sized balls of dough and place on the prepared baking sheet. Use your thumb to make a depression in the center of each cookie and fill with preserves.
  7. To make the meringue, beat the egg whites with 1/8 teaspoon salt until frothy. Gradually add 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  8. Top each cookie with a teaspoonfuls of the meringue to cover the preserves.
  9. Bake at 300 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Enjoy!