When you’re craving a delicious homemade dessert, it can be difficult to find the right recipe when you’re on a restricted diet.
Nothing says “simplicity” like reducing your diet to nothing but fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy for a week – which is exactly what we did recently, when we temporarily cut out grains and sugar from our daily meals (even the good kinds).
In the beginning, I felt hungry. But by the end, I felt fantastic.
Today, whenever I eat something sweet, I start craving a vegetable. I’m not even kidding. I see this as a very good thing.
Last Saturday, in the midst of this dietary experiment, we were planning a movie and dinner date with a few good friends, and wanted to bring something with us to snack on.
If you’re also the type to sneak healthy treats into the movie theater, I’m sure you’ve been in our shoes: you want something that’s easy to transport in your bag, easy to share, non-sticky, and totally appropriate to enjoy with the jug of water that you’ve also got shoved in your purse.
For us, this usually means cookies. The only problem last week was that this meant we needed a cookie made without flour – or at least with only a little flour. Come on, we were allowed to cheat a little!
I was reminded of some adorable little thumbprint cookies I’d seen online, and saved on Pinterest last month.
Reminiscent of kolachkes but made with ground almonds (aka almond meal or flour) rather than wheat flour, these little desserts look like baby danishes and smell like bakery doughnuts, featuring dollops of fruit preserves right in the center.
We made a batch on Friday and they were almost gone by the next day, so we made a second batch on Saturday, that time subbing whole-grain spelt flour for a portion of the ground almonds when we ran out.
Both times, these little cookies were just what we were after: small, sweet, and best of all, so simple.
They’re made with simple ingredients, with an uncomplicated baking process, and once they’re out of the oven, you’ll find blissful enjoyment – whether you’re at the movie theater, enjoying a cup of coffee at your desk, or grabbing a few off the kitchen counter as you pass by, on your way to do other things.Print
When you want to kick back with a cup of tea and the ideal treat, it’s time to break out the best flourless almond thumbprint cookies. Get the recipe now.
- 2 3/4 cups + 1 Tbsp almond meal
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup seedless jam
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Add the almond meal, butter, ¾ cup sugar, egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt to a food processor and process until well combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Gently roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on the cookie sheets at least two inches apart.
- Make a “thumbprint” in the middle of each cookie and fill with about 1/2-1 teaspoon of jam. Do not overfill!
- Bake in the top half of the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are starting to brown.
- Place remaining granulated sugar on a small plate or saucer.
- Remove trays from the oven and let cool slightly. After about 5 minutes, roll each cookie in the granulated sugar. Transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: holiday baking, Christmas, cookie, gluten free, almond
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Soften Butter and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Soften butter by setting it out at room temperature for 30-60 minutes, until it is soft enough to spread. If you want to do this more quickly, microwave it at 30% power for 15 seconds.
Measure out all remaining ingredients as listed in the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Make Dough
To make the dough, add almond meal, butter, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt to the bowl of a food processor.
Process until the dough comes together completely and the butter is completely incorporated. Make sure that you scrape down the sides as necessary to fully incorporate all of the ingredients.
Step 3 – Form and Fill
Using your hands, roll the dough into walnut-sized balls. Place them on the prepared cookie sheets, at least 2 inches apart.
Make a “thumbprint” well in the middle of each cookie, using your thumb or first finger. You could also use the back end of a wooden spoon, or the top of a clean, old-fashioned wooden clothespin (not the clip kind).
Fill each with 1/2-1 teaspoon of jam. I like to use two different types of jam for variety! Apricot and raspberry are pictured here. You will need 1/4 cup of each type if you are using two flavors.
Step 4 – Bake
Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. The edges should start to turn golden brown.
While the cookies are baking, add ½ cup granulated sugar to a small plate.
Once the cookies are done, remove them from the oven let them cool on the pans for 5 minutes.
Step 5 – Roll
Roll the sides of the cookies in the granulated sugar, making sure to avoid getting sugar on the jam portion of the cookie.
Place on cooling racks. Cool completely before serving.
Are These Good Cookies to Ship?
These jewel-toned jam-filled treats are perfect to bring to any holiday event to share with loved ones.
When it comes to delightful baked treats, I am constantly asked if they will stand up to shipping. With the holidays coming up and the season of cookie exchanges almost upon us, the time to start collecting the cookie recipes you want to make is now.
I personally love these cookies for sharing with friends and family. When it comes to shipping, these can be a little bit tricky because they are filled with jam. They will stand up to shipping if you pack them carefully, but I would recommend doing a two-day ship so they get there quickly.
Who will you gift these to? Tell us in the comments below. And once you try them, be sure to come back and rate the recipe!
Looking for more gluten-free cookie recipes? Try out these tasty morsels:
- Soft Gingers
- Lemon Almond Coconut
- Chocolate Chip
- White Chocolate Almond
- Cinnamon Coconut Flour
- Chewy Flourless Monster
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published August 3, 2011. Last updated: October 24, 2020 at 21:24 pm. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.