Grandma’s Bird’s Nest Cookies

{Christmas riddles: a fun idea for Christmas morning}

These buttery cookies are rich and delicious with a fruity sweetness and a crispy, nutty outside.

They were my husband’s favorite cookies growing up. The recipe was passed down from his grandmother, who was a cookie master. Thanks to his sister Sara for getting me the recipe from his aunt Bert.

Grandma’s Bird’s Nest Cookies


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
  • 4 eggs, whites separated from yolks
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 cups white flour
  • pinch salt
  • chopped walnuts (about one cup, chopped fine)
  • raspberry or strawberry jam (about 1/2 cup)


  • Cream sugars, salt, butter, and shortening.
  • Add egg yolks and flour. Mix to combine until a soft dough forms.
  • Shape into small balls, using about a teaspoon of dough for each.
  • Dip each in egg whites and then in nuts.
  • Turn over (nut side up) and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for five minutes at 325 degrees F.
  • Remove from oven and make a dent in the center of each.
  • Put ¼ teaspoon raspberry or strawberry jam in each dent. (My husband insists on raspberry jam.)
  • Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes more.

Makes about four dozen cookies.

Optional: Serve with snowmen.

It was so much fun to participate in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I received delicious White/Dark Chocolate Salted Oatmeal Cookies and Peach Cookies from AJ and Jas @ Sisters’ Snacktime: Munchies for Two; Roses, a Serbian cookie, from Lana @ Bibberche; and Lemon Oatmeal Cookies from Nyree @ Foodie, Interrupted.

I sent my Grandma’s Bird’s Nest Cookies to Amy @ My Life as a Lazy Girl, Melissa @ Melissa Likes To Eat, and Blair @ The Blair Sandwich Project.

You can see a great round-up of all the Cookie Swap recipes.

Grandma's Bird's Nest Cookies

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

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23 Responses to Grandma’s Bird’s Nest Cookies

  1. Buckeroomama says:

    Oh my, I am SO going to try these! My MIL has a similar recipe that I was just about to ask her for. Thanks for sharing the recipe. =)

  2. AikoVenus says:

    They’re so small and cute! ^^ It is interesting to see the different names for these cookies – normally I see them called “thumbprint cookies”.

  3. cardiogirl says:

    I am in love with your fantastic photography! Excellent job. I’ll have to give these a whirl; I’m not usually a fan of jelly in cookies but I bet these would be pretty good without or with a Hershey Kiss instead.
    cardiogirl recently posted..She was a bitch but she could bake a tasty cookieMy Profile

    • Marcy says:

      I am sure the Heshey Kiss would be great in it. Now that you mention it, why am I not putting chocolate it them!? Thanks.

      • cardiogirl says:

        Totally off topic, but I’ve seen your header many times and every time I see it I want to ask you:

        Was that tiger just taking a cat nap? Please tell me that tiger was heavily sedated before you sat behind it and held its hind leg.
        cardiogirl recently posted..She was a bitch but she could bake a tasty cookieMy Profile

        • Marcy says:

          I don’t know whether it was sedated. It seemed pretty sleepy during the intense heat of the daytime, but it did look up and around very alertly for part of the time, and it started tearing apart a coconut. It was such a cool, intense experience. I’ve been trying to write about it for an upcoming “Scene from a memoir” post, but so far I haven’t been able to come up with anything I like.

  4. Looks absolutely delightful, and I agree that they should come with a side of snowmen 😉

    Thank you for sharing them with us at Rub Some Dirt On It!!
    Becky @ Rub Some Dirt On It recently posted..The Gift’s Afoot!My Profile

  5. These look so yummy Marcy!! 😛
    Shannon ~ My Place In The Race recently posted..Cookie Swap 2011My Profile

  6. These look delicious! Thanks for stopping by my little corner of blogland earlier. I’m so glad you did!
    Jennifer Dawn recently posted..Happy SundayMy Profile

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  8. If I’ve learned anything, I know that when a recipe starts with “Grandma” it has to be good! These look great 😉

    Thanks for partying with us at Keep Calm & Link Up last week! Our party is starting a tad later this Thursday evening at 9 PM EST! Come join us when you get a chance sometime this weekend…can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on!
    xo, Meredith @

  9. 21stcenturyhousewife says:

    These cookies are so pretty and they look delicious. I love family recipes!

  10. Your bird nest cookies look tasty. Thanks for sharing your cookies with us at the Gallery of Favorites.

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  15. Nora says:

    Hello! I just made these cookies and I think there is a flaw in the recipe. I would bet that it is supposed to be 1/2 c butter and 1/2 c shortening, not a cup of each. They are very greasy. You may want to double-check.

    • Marcy says:

      This is how I make them. It looks like the same ratio of butter (and/or shortening) to flour that I see in other cookie recipes, such as for shortbread cookies. Feel free to adjust it to suit your taste. Thanks.

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