The ideal Holiday Cookie: Gluten-Free Almond Thumbprint Cookies
Holiday season is in full swing. Holiday parties and holiday cookies are no exception. I developed this recipe for gluten-free almond thumbprint cookies for my Thanksgiving cooking workshops this year and they were a huge hit. I purposely used cranberries because I consider cranberries and cranberry sauce a Thanksgiving staple. Then I found out that many people serve cranberry sauce for Christmas as well. I had so many private messages through Instagram and Facebook asking for the recipe, that I decided to post it. There is still time to make some for the holidays and the feedback I’ve had is that they are delicious to eat anytime (including breakfast!!).
A healthier version of Thumbprint Cookies.
Part of the appeal is that these cookies are gluten-free and vegan—naturally, so there are no substitutions to make. One health coaching client of mine lets her kids eat them for breakfast (she also makes these healthy cookies for her kids) ……they have no refined sugar and good amounts of protein, making them a better choice than many other grab and go options.
Traditional thumbprint cookies are loaded with saturated fat and refined sugar. A couple of easy swaps makes these almond thumbprint cookies vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and full of protein. Even the jam in this recipe is healthy….though if you’re pressed for time, you can buy already made jam in the store and there are many sugar-free varieties to choose from.
One of my favorite things about his recipe is that they freeze beautifully. I make a double batch and keep them in the freezer so they are always available when someone stops over, of if I’m invited out last minute. Almond thumbprint cookies are a healthy addition to any dessert table.
The fact that these almond thumbprint cookies use ingredients that I usually have in my pantry , and the fact that they’re not time consuming to whip up, makes them my new “go to” when I need to make a healthy dessert at the last minute. If you don’t have any fresh cranberries, you can substitute raspberries, blueberries, blackberries…..and even frozen berries work well in the recipe. Like I said, super simple. Check your pantry, and your freezer….you just may be able to make a batch without having to run to the store….which is a HUGE win this week!
Almond Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal (preferably blanched)
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds (flax meal)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup smooth almond butter
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Cranberry Chia Jam
- 1 orange, zested and juiced (approx 1/4 cup juice)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 7 oz. (approx 2 cups) fresh cranberries
- 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- Preheat oven to 350 and line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- Combine almond meal, arrowroot, flax, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
- In glass measuring cup, combine almond butter, maple syrup and almond extract and mix until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.
- Form the dough into 1" balls. You should have about 24.
- Use the back of a teaspoon or your thumb to make an indent and fill with jam.
- Bake for 13 minutes, until cookies are set and beginning to brown.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely before storing.
- Store cookies in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- If you're smart, you'll make a double batch----there will be plenty of jam to fill 6 dozen cookies.
Make Chia Jam
- Mix orange juice, zest, maple syrup, water and cranberries in a saucepan and cook, stirring often over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Cranberries will begin to pop as they heat up. Continue to cook until cranberries are soft enough to mash with the back of a spoon. 5-8 minutes.
- Take off heat, and mash most of the cranberries. Let mixture cool slightly and then add in the chia seeds. Mix well. Let sit for another 5 minutes for jam to thicken up. Add to cookies or store jam in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
There is enough jam in one recipe to fill 6 dozen cookies.
Cranberry chia jam stays good in the fridge for 3 weeks in a glass jar and can be used as cranberry sauce at thanksgiving or on your favorite toast inside a PBJ.
Serving Size2 cookies
Amount Per Serving Calories 105 Total Fat 6g Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 5g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 45mg Carbohydrates 12g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 3g Sugar 7g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 3g