These simple and quick gluten free thumbprint cookies will be the easiest, yummiest holiday cookie you make this season!
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Christmas season classics!
If you haven’t noticed already, I’ve been trying to pull some of my older recipes (like my Christmas Sugar Cookies!) that we still use all the time, to give them a little photograph refresh, as well as step by step guide! Back when I created this recipe, the sweetpea in this picture was just over the age of 1, and not even eating cookies yet! Her preschool and kindergarten sisters were though, and with that much “crazy” in the house, these simple, delicious thumbprint cookies were about all I could handle at the time. She is 10 now, and boy, oh boy, does this age love to be in the kitchen baking!
What are thumbprint cookies?
This classic holiday cookie is literally made for those holiday cookie plate exchanges. Small little shortbread cookie bites with sweet jam in the center makes the easiest prep, and the best little bite for a cookie spread! The buttery cookie is just lightly sweet, which brings me to the sugar discussion!
Avoiding the sugar crash
As far as cookies are concerned, my little thumbprint cookies are the least likely to leave your kiddos sugar crashing. I’m not one to take recipes that are supposed to be a once a year fun treat, and doctor it up to be “healthy.” In my house, cookies are occasional treats, and it’s ok to have some sugar on a holiday. These thumbprint cookies are naturally higher in fat because of the butter and almond flour, as well as a little hit of protein from the almond flour, so what little sugar is in the cookie and jam hits the blood sugar a little slower.
The Method :: The Dry Ingredients for the Thumbprint Cookies
To make the thumbprint cookie dough, you’ll start with cold butter and the dry ingredients. Everything goes into the food processor to make a “sandy” texture, distributing the butter throughout. I used the King Arthur Gluten Free Flour Blend in this recipe since that is what Costco is carrying right now, but for years I used the Namaste Gluten Free Flour Blend. If you tolerate wheat, an Einkorn or all purpose flour should be fine here.
The Method :: Finishing the Dough with the Wet Ingredients
Once you have that sandy texture in the food processor, add the 2 wet ingredients and blend it up until it forms a big ball of dough. This takes a little patience, and you’ll have to remind your kids of this! Scrape down the sides if you need, and just keep it blending. It will come together within a minute or so!
The Method :: Rolling the thumbprint cookie dough
You don’t need to chill this dough, although you could if you need to break up the process a little. The dough will feel like play-doh, and you can roll up little one or two inch balls of dough, and set them on a lined baking sheet.
Now the fun part!
I cannot say this loud and clear enough, but please let them do this part! And don’t come behind them and fix anything! I may have made most of these cookies “pretty” for the photos in this post, but when the girls were little they looked very…rustic! The whole point of them sticking their thumb into the cookie is the fun! You can help them make the well for the jam a little bigger if you want since their little thumbs won’t make as big of a dent as most people want for jam. The dough is super forgiving. If there are little cracks, you can smooth them out. If the kids punch their thumb all the way through, just roll it up and start over!
The Method :: The Jam
Once you have the little “thumbprints” in your cookie dough, you can fill them with jam of your choosing. I used store bought, but if you made jam over the summer, that makes these so special!
The Method :: Baking the Thumbprint Cookies
The cookies will need just 15 minutes in the oven, and you’re done! Start to finish, you can get your thumbprint cookies done in less than half hour! Now that is a holiday treat just about anyone can do!
Do the cookies freeze good?
Probably my favorite part about my thumbprint cookies is that the freeze well. That means you can make them days or even weeks in advance when you have time and stash them away for when you need them. We all scan our holiday calendars and try to work around those cookie days, and this one can be made as early as November to put away for Christmas!
Simple and Quick Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies
- 7 TB cold butter
- 3-4 TB organic pure cane sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 cup blanched almond flour
- 1 cup King Arthur Gluten Free Flour Blend
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp almond extract Vanilla extract works if you don’t have almond extract on hand.
- Jam of your choosing for the middle of the cookie – you you'll need a good 1/4 cup or so depending on how big you make the "thumbprints"
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper or Silpat liner.
- Put everything but the egg and almond extract in the food processor and blend to until you get a sandy texture.
- Add the egg and almond extract and blend through until the dough forms a ball. This takes a little bit – be patient!
- Roll 1-2 inch balls of dough, place them on the baking sheet, and use your thumb to press an indent into the middle of the ball. I like to "shape" it a little bit using my fingers. This dough is super pliable and forgiving, so if there is a little crack, just pinch it closed like play-doh.
- Spoon a little jam in the center of each cookie.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Check them around the 10 minute mark in case our ovens run differently.
- Most gluten free flour blends with xanthan gum should work in this recipe for the flour. I have used both the KA blend like above, as well as the Namaste Gluten Free Flour blend for a number of years.
- If you tolerate wheat, an Einkorn or all purpose flour should be fine here.