These healthier almond flour thumbprint cookies are so fun to make and easy too! They only require 7 simple ingredients and are so amazingly soft and tender with just the right amount of almond flavor. They make for very joyful and appetizing vegan cookies to serve during any holiday, especially Christmas!
As we are entering the holiday season (it's December, yay!), I'm such in a frenetic state of Christmasy dessert making. My kids clearly suspect something went wrong with me as they stare while I serve them a slice of vegan pineapple upside down cake for breakfast. They also had endless portions of chocolate orange cake (stay tuned, coming up soon!). Well, they obv don't complain about it.
They also didn't argue when I let them eat the whole batch of these healthy almond cookies. My husband Chris helped out, but still, they were ALL gone within 20 minutes.
Not surprising that they disappeared so fast: slightly crispy edges with a decadent soft and tender middle. And not to mention the combination with fruit jam that makes them so special. And so beautifully appetizing!
Plus, their flavor is top-notch! They include almond extract, which pairs so well with the almond flour but also, it gives it that deep sweet 'Amaretto' flavor that will remind you of frangipane. Such a treat!
You can use your favorite jam, the dough comes together within a few minutes and they cook quickly too. You can play around with the colors of the jam (or filling) to match any festivity, such as Christmas, Valentine's day, Easter (choose chocolate!) or Mother's Day! A perfect last minute and very festive vegan cookie. Happy baking!
Thumbprint cookies made with almond flour
Almond flour is easy to work with and also makes for a good choice in baking when following a gluten-free diet. It makes for perfectly textured thumbprint cookies: moist and softer yet with a crispier outside (just like in these coffee bean cookies). Plus, it provides rich, nutty and almost buttery flavored cookies.
Choose a blanched (meaning skins off) and fine almond flour (avoid almond meal) as they will give these cookies that perfectly delicate texture you are looking for. I use the almond flour from Bob's Red Mill.
Healthier cookie recipe
A classic thumbprint cookie usually includes refined sugar, eggs and a good amount of butter to provide them with that typical chewy texture.
This vegan thumbprint cookie recipe obv exclude the eggs and butter, but also is made without using any granulated sugar.
You will need some coconut oil, just a little, so they get soft and rich. But also, they are sweetened using maple syrup plus the jam center that brings more sweet flavor. It makes for a tasty cookies that's also wholesome.
Ingredients you'll need
- Almond flour
- Oat flour
- Coconut oil
- Maple syrup
- Plant milk
- Baking powder
- Almond extract
- Jam of your choice
How to make them
Start by pre-heating the oven to 350º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Make the almond cookie batter
Combine the dry ingredients (almond flour, oat flour and baking powder).
Then, combine the wet (melted coconut oil, maple syrup, almond extract and plant milk). Stir or whisk well until it forms a uniform consistency.
Pour the wet over the dry and combine. It might look a little dry at first, but keep stirring until it forms a large moist ball. I like to use a spatula to help break the almond flour clumps when mixing.
Shape the cookies
Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (I like to use my small ice cream scoop for this) and roll them in between your palms so it forms smooth balls. Place them on the prepared baking sheet apart from each other.
Then, using your thumb or the back of a measuring teaspoon, create a hole/cavity right in the middle of each ball. They will expand slightly as you do that (and might crack a bit, that's fine). Also, don't go all the way through them so the jam does not leak.
Fill with jam and bake
Fill the cavities with your jam. Depending on the consistency of your jam, you might not want to go all the way to the top so it does not leak as it bakes (even if the jam leaks a little, it's fine, it will look more rustic that way).
Then, bake for 9-10 minutes. I usually go for 9 minutes, as I like them softer, smooth and pale-ish. But, aim for 10 minutes if you want them on the crispier side. Watch them carefully and take them out once you see that they start to turn golden brown.
Watch how to make them
- They will be very soft right after baked. Don't touch them! Let them rest on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before enjoying so you can fully appreciate their amazing texture.
- They also cook very quickly, 9-10 minutes is plenty. Take them out when they start to brown, but they will mostly remain light in color.
- If you don't have almond extract, then try adding vanilla extract instead. Cinnamon, cardamom or a touch of lemon zest would be good ways to flavor them as well.
- Depending on your jam, it might fade in color while baking. Add a little more once out of the oven to brighten up their color.
- I usually choose refined coconut oil to avoid a coconut flavor for this recipe.
- I haven't tried it, but you could try rolling the balls in finely chopped nuts before making the cave and filling with jam. It would add some more texture and a crunch. Try using almonds or walnuts. Make sure the nuts are crushed so they stick well to the dough.
What kind of jam to use
You can pretty much use your favorite jam to make it.
I used my blueberry chia jam when making them, and I also changed up the recipe to make a strawberry and peach version as well (using frozen fruits).
But feel free to use store-bought jam or even marmalade.
Other filling ideas
Try out other filling as well! Use a date caramel or even fill the cavities with a few mini chocolate chips. Also try cherry pie filling, combine some peanut butter + jam for a PB&J version or any vegan icing (add after the cookies are baked), if you already have some ready to go.
Again, they cook quickly so your filling probably won't have enough time to dry out, but if it fades away, then add some more after baked.
Or, let the holes empty while baking, let them completely cool down and fill them with coconut whipped cream!
Almond flour absorbs moisture very easily, which is why it is better to keep them in a dry-ish area so they don't become too soft or sticky.
Keep them at room temperature for up to 5 days. Also, you might want to leave your container slightly opened, again, so the moisture doesn't get trapped and alter their texture too much. Avoid the refrigerator too as the cookies would soften significantly (As a side note: I did that mistake at first and they got super soft, but still were holding well and the flavor remained as delicious).
You can freeze them, but expect some changes in texture after thawed.
Coconut oil is the kind of oil you will need to make these cookies. It is solid at room temperature or after being chilled, which sets it apart from other kind of liquid oil. Coconut is essential to get that perfectly chewy and soft texture, so do not swap for any other kind of oil.
No. Almond flour is very different than all-purpose flour: heavier, more humid and holds on to moisture easier. If using all-purpose flour, then you would end up with a very different texture that might not work.
The main ingredients for these cookies is almond flour, which makes them NOT allergy friendly.
More almond flour recipes to try
- Gluten-free shortcrust pastry
- Coffee bean cookies
- Vegan millionaire shortbread
- Vanilla almond granola
- Vegan banana muffins
- Coconut matcha energy balls
- Strawberry chocolate bars
- Almond flour peanut butter cookies
I hope you enjoy these almond flour thumbprint cookies as much as we do! If you try them, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how they were. Your feedback is so helpful!
Almond Flour Thumbprint Cookies (Gluten-Free & Vegan)
- 1 ½ cup almond flour - finely ground and blanched
- ¾ cup oat flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp almond extract - can swap for vanilla extract
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 tbsp coconut oil - melted
- 1 tbsp plant milk
- jam of your choice
- Pre-heat the oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, oat flour and baking powder.
- In a medium bowl, melt the coconut oil (I use the microwave) and then add the maple syrup, plant milk and almond extract. Whisk well until it becomes uniform.
- Pour the wet ingredient over the dry and combine the batter. It might look dry at first, but keep stirring until it forms a large moist ball of dough. Make sure to break up all the almond flour clumps as you stir.
- Divide the dough in 12 equal portions (I like to use my small ice cream scoop) and shape them in balls by rolling in between your hands. Then, place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Using your finger or the back of a measuring teaspoon, press in the middle of each ball to create a cavity (don't go all the way through!).
- Fill the cavity with the jam of your choice. If your jam is thinner, then don't go all the way to the top so it does not leak on the sides (although it's fine if it leaks, it gives them a nice rustic look!).
- Bake in the oven for 9-10 minutes or until they start to get golden brown (although they should remain mostly pale). Once they are baked, let the cookies COOL DOWN for at least 10-15 minutes before enjoying (they will be VERY SOFT when just out of the oven). Enjoy!
- Do not use any other kind of oil. Coconut oil is essential for best texture. Choose a refined coconut oil to avoid coconut flavor.
- Storage: almond flour absorbs moisture easily, so keep them at room temperature for up to 5 days in a dry-ish place so they don't soften too much. Try to keep your container half opened as well so you don't trap moisture inside. Avoid storing them in the fridge: they will soften or even get sticky. You can freeze them if you must, but expect a change in texture after thawed.
- Use your favorite jam! I used my own homemade chia jam, but any store-bought jam will work. Try filling them with chocolate chips, date caramel, peanut butter + jam, or marmalade. If the filling fades while baking, simply top with more after out of the oven.