These warmly spiced gluten-free thumbprint cookies are one of my favorite healthy treats, and they are super easy to make.
They're made with almond flour, filled with delicious (raspberry) jam, and baked with warm and sweet spices that give these soft baked goods a beautiful flavor—festive enough to serve for the Holidays or every time you crave a light sweet bite with your favorite warm drink.
Gluten-free, paleo, and refined sugar-free.
If you are craving a warm-spiced cookie but want to keep it super healthy and simple, then this recipe is for you.
These healthy almond flour cookies are soft, chewy with just a hint of natural sweetness while the warm spices come through at the end of each bite—a great match to pair with that cup of coffee or tea.
They're even festive enough to serve for the Holidays, and I often make them in conjunction with my Speculoos cookies—something on the table for everyone.
But, because they come together in less than 30 minutes, you can easily bake them anytime you want to satisfy that cookie craving, the healthy way.
Let's bake some!
Almond flour—–for the best results, I use ultra-fine blanched almond flour. Although I haven't tried it yet, I imagine that an almond meal will work just as well. Usually, I use the ultra-fine almond flour from Bob's Red Mill, but I've used Costco's Kirkland blanched almond flour in the past as well, another great option.
Creamy almond butter—I am adding some nut butter to add healthy fats, mainly because very little butter goes into this cookie. But, if you are allergic to nuts, sunflower butter is a great alternative option.
One egg is enough to hold the structure of these baked goods. I have not yet tried it with a chia egg to make them egg-free. If you do, please let me know how they turned out.
Medjool dates—to add natural sweetness. Although ten Medjool dates might seem a lot at first, know that some of that sweetness will get lost during baking. The main reason I like to use this dried fruit is because of its intense caramel flavor. It pairs well with the warm spices and makes these cookies incredibly chewy on the inside—delicious with that cup of coffee or tea.
Butter—I'm only adding three tablespoons, enough to make them a tad buttery.
Preserve, or jam—these cookies are meant to be filled with either a Fig Preserve or raspberry jam after baking them. Look for unsweetened spreads or with 50 to 70% fruit, if possible. Explore with other types of flavors and see what you like best!
The spices—a combination of warm spices like cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, cloves, and ginger will enhance the flavors of these gluten-free thumbprint cookies. I'm adding a tad of salt to balance the sweet flavors.
Note: Another great option, if you have it on hand, is using a Speculaas mix (about 2 to 3 teaspoons), which is merely a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, anise, ginger, white pepper, or licorice, and cardamom (depending on the brand these prepackaged spice bags may differ somewhat in flavor).
You can easily purchase these spices online from local brands such as King Arthur Flour Speculaas Spice.
How to make almond flour thumbprint cookies
The biggest appeal to making these healthy almond thumbprint cookies? They're so easy to make, and the baking time is only 15 minutes.
Start with lining a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
Then prepare the cookie dough—here are the steps.
Now they are ready to pop into the oven for 15 minutes.
Filling for the thumbprint cookies
After the cookies come out of the oven, the dent in the center might have shrunk a bit.
Use the back of a teaspoon again, and with a gentle press, make it larger. Of course, you can only do this when the cookies are still hot.
Then, fill each indent with a jam of choice, as shown below. A teaspoon per cookie is enough.
How to store healthy almond flour cookies
These healthy bites don't last very long in my house—two days max. But if they survive beyond that time, I usually place them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days with jam.
But without the jam filling, these spice thumbprint cookies keep for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature. Then fill with jam before enjoying or serving them or whenever a craving hits!
You could also freeze the cookies before filling them. Then, remove from the freezer and thaw at room temperature before adding the jam.
How will these easy thumbprint cookies taste
They're only slightly sweet because the jam filling will make these cookies sweeter. At first bite, you'll mainly taste the jam, but a few seconds later, the lovely warm spices come through, joining that delicious chewy texture.
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- 1 ½ cups (150 grams) blanched almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 egg
- 1 cup packed (180 grams) Medjool dates, pitted (about 10)
- ½ cup (150 grams) creamy almond butter
- 3 tablespoons (55 grams) butter, softened
- Fig Preserve or Raspberry or berry jam, unsweetened (you'll need about 5 ounces or 140 grams to fill the cookies and to serve extra at the table
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C.
- Place the almond flour in a bowl, then add the spices. Using a whisk, combine the spices with the flour until blended in; set aside.
- Place the egg, dates, almond butter, and softened butter in a blender. Blend until you get a sticky brown paste; transfer into a bowl.
- Add the almond flour-spice mix to the brown paste and with a (wooden) spoon, start stirring and folding it in at first. Then continue to knead it in with your hands until you get a solid ball of dough (see pics in the post).
- Take a large baking sheet and cover it with parchment paper.
- Scoop up a tablespoon of the cookie dough. Roll into a ball and place it on the prepared sheet. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Ensure they're spaced well apart.
- Use the back of a teaspoon measure to press gently in the center of each cookie dough ball to form a small hole. Note that the sides of the cookies might crack slightly as you press down, and that's fine. Any large cracks in the sides can be pinched together.
- When you've put a dent in the middle of each cookie dough ball, they are ready to pop into the oven.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Take out of the oven. While still hot, make the dent in the middle of the cookies a little larger (they may have shrunk a bit in the oven) with the back of a teaspoon. Just a small gentle press is enough.
- When cooled (about 5 minutes), fill the dents with one teaspoon of the jam.
Storage: Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The cookies without the jam keep for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature. Then fill with jam before enjoying or serving them or whenever a craving hits! You could also freeze the cookies before filling them. Then, remove from the freezer and thaw at room temperature before adding the jam.
Serving suggestion: Serve with a bit of extra jam on the side.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 23 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 102Total Fat: 6.2gSaturated Fat: 1.6gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 68mgCarbohydrates: 11.3gFiber: 1.6gSugar: 8.1gProtein: 2.3g
Vitamin D 2mcg 10%, Calcium 8mg 1%, Iron 1mg 6%. The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice. Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third-party tools and is only intended as a reference.
(Note: this post was initially published in November 2018. This post has been updated to include new info and photos)