These gluten-free thumbprint cookies are made with my almond flour sugar cookie recipe as a base and a bit of delicious jam right on top. Enjoy these thumbprint cookies on a dairy-free or vegan diet too!
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Thumbprint cookies are a classic cookie that I feel like only get their moment to shine around the holidays. They’re great year round, and yet I really ever notice anyone making them around Christmas time.
I’m not entirely sure why that’s the case, as they’re just a twist on a traditional sugar cookie, another cookie that’s great year round.
Either way, I’ve made this batch up in September wondering how my cookie-loving husband and son would react to them being made in late summer rather than the holiday season.
Truth be told, as much as I love that I’ve been able to recreate some traditional cookie recipes to make them gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free, sometimes I wonder if they’re actually good to people who can enjoy those foods.
After I tested these cookies and shared them with my guys, I was surprised that they had no holiday associations with them AND that they barely lasted a day in my house!
Now, it’s possible that they’re just kind to me, because no one else makes cookies in my household and they know I won’t bake as often if I get complaints.
Or on the other hand, they could just be that good that even folks who can eat flour, butter, and eggs still approve. I am going to go with that line of thought, because I loved them and I’m pretty sure you will when you make them too.
This post will walk you through everything you need to know about how to make your own batch of gluten-free thumbprint cookies. I’ll walk you through some common questions about them, plus give you step-by-step instructions to also make them dairy-free and vegan.
How to make thumbprint cookies gluten-free
This thumbprint cookie recipe is made with a base of my gluten-free sugar cookies. This recipe comes together very quickly with just six ingredients.
I use almond flour for my sugar and thumbprint cookies, because it lends a little fiber and healthy fats with each cookie. A little nutrition in my treats is never a bad idea in my mind, plus they’re a little more filling than your average sugar cookie.
How to make thumbprint cookies dairy-free
This thumbprint cookie recipe uses coconut oil or vegan butter in place of normal butter. If you decide to opt for vegan butter, you can omit the salt from the recipe as vegan butter is most always salted.
How to make thumbprint cookies vegan
To make gluten-free thumbprint cookies vegan, omit the egg and butter from a traditional recipe. If you don’t follow an egg-free diet or vegan diet, you don’t have to do this in most recipes.
But for me, I also have an egg intolerance, so I make all my baked goods without eggs.
Of course, it’s also kind of handy to have recipes on hand that you can bake if you run out of eggs and don’t want to run to the store.
In some cookie recipes, it’s wise to use a flax egg to replace a chicken egg. In this recipe (and most of my cookie recipes), I actually don’t replace each egg.
I’ve found that with coconut oil or vegan butter, plus maple syrup, I don’t actually need much else to bind the cookies together.
Ingredients for gluten-free thumbprint cookies
Gluten-free thumbprint cookies don’t need too many ingredients. This is what I used and what I recommend for this recipe.
Instead of a gluten-free flour blend, I’ve opted to use almond flour instead. I like when the cookies I bake also have some kind of nutrient-density to them.
With almond flour, you get some healthy fats and fiber. I’m also a whole lot more likely to be satisfied with one cookie instead of two, because the almond flour is a little more filling.
Read on: Is almond flour gluten-free?
These cookies get their rise from baking powder. Any brand that’s gluten-free will work here.
Maple syrup serves two purposes in this recipe. It lends sweetness to the cookies, and also binds the cookies together, so they don’t fall apart.
The white sugar in this recipe is optional. The sugar cookies that I make I like to roll in white sugar, because it feels silly to make sugar cookies without any sugar at all.
The cookie dough is rolled in white sugar before you imprint them with your thumbs to create wells for the jam.
If you want to skip any type of refined sugar, you may omit this ingredient and they’ll be just as delicious.
You can use any jam that you love for this recipe. I used two different kinds of jam for my cookies and got different results. Both were delicious but one certainly looked better than the other.
Store-bought jam will look best, regardless of flavor. The consistency is just right for staying within the thumbprint wells while baking.
Homemade jam is delicious, but I found mine to be too runny and the liquid seeped farther out than the thumbprint wells. The cookies still tasted great, but they looked less photo-worthy than the store-bought jam cookies.
Now that you know what’s in these gluten-free thumbprint cookies, let’s talk about how to make them step by step.
How to make vegan gluten-free thumbprint cookies
Making these thumbprint cookies is incredibly simple. If you have kids, it’s a fun recipe to include them in to roll the balls in sugar or add their thumbprints to the dough.
Preheat the oven
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, prepare your baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
Place white sugar on a plate and set aside.
Make the cookie dough
In a bowl, combine almond flour, melted coconut oil or vegan butter, maple syrup, baking powder, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine. Stir well until everything is well combined.
Scoop the thumbprint cookie dough
Using rounded tablespoons or a 1 ½-inch cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough out onto your prepared cookie sheet.
The smaller you make the cookies, the more cookies you’ll have and the faster they’ll bake. You will have at least 12 cookies, maybe more depending on the size of your scoop.
Roll the dough into cookie dough balls
Roll the dough between your palms to create a smooth surface for each cookie dough ball.
Then roll the dough in the prepared white sugar, coating it on all sides, then place back on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all other cookie dough balls.
Press the thumbprint wells into the cookie dough
Using a clean thumb, press into the center of each cookie creating a well for the jam.
Fill the thumbprint wells with jam
Using a ½ tsp measuring spoon, scoop the jam from the jam jar and place it into the center of each thumbprint well. Repeat for all cookies.
Bake the gluten-free thumbprint cookies
Transfer to the oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
You can really see the difference here in how the homemade jam differed from the store bought jam.
Cool the cookies and enjoy
Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before moving off the baking sheet, otherwise the cookies may fall apart. Enjoy with a glass of dairy-free milk or cup of coffee.
Do I need to chill the dough?
These cookies come together very quickly and don’t require chilling before rolling out the dough or baking.
How to store gluten-free thumbprint cookies
These cookies soften up after about a day at room temperature in an airtight container. If you want them to last longer (they barely lasted overnight in my house!), you can store them in the fridge to extend their life and texture. They’ll keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- 2 cups almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut oil or vegan butter, melted
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 2 to 3 tbsp your favorite jam
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- In a large bowl, combine almond flour, melted vegan butter, maple syrup, baking soda, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
- Using rounded tablespoons or a 1 ½-inch cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough out onto your prepared cookie sheet.
- Roll the dough between your palms to create a smooth surface for each cookie dough ball, then roll in the prepared white sugar, coating it on all sides. Place each cookie back on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all other cookie dough balls.
- Press your thumb into each of the cookies to create a small indentation in the middle of each cookie.
- Spoon ½ tsp of your favorite jam into each cookie.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 11 to 14 minutes.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before enjoying.
These cookies soften up after about a day at room temperature in an airtight container. If you want them to last longer (they never last very long in my house!), you can store them in the fridge to extend their life and texture.
If you love thumbprint cookies and are looking to avoid gluten, dairy, and eggs, give this recipe a try and let me know what you think in the comments!
Enjoy these cookies around the holidays, Christmas, or any time of the year! Here’s to keeping cookies non-holiday specific so we can enjoy them whenever we want!