This healthy thumbprint cookies recipe is gluten free, naturally sweetened, and vegan-friendly! Almond flour gives these cookies a sweet, nutty flavor. Perfect for Christmas along with our other holiday favorites, Healthier Sugar Cookies and Healthier Candy Cane Cookies!
When you were a kid, did your grandma ever have a tin of assorted cookies at Christmas? Did you ever dig through the tin, to find that one cookie that was your favorite?
I sure did, and my favorite was always the one with the raspberry jam in the middle.
I haven’t had those cookies in YEARS, so this season, I made sure to include my version of healthy thumbprint cookies in our annual cookie tradition!
Healthier Thumbprint Cookies
I’m pretty sure those cookies didn’t use REAL jam… they were kind of glue-y and my grandma had that tin on her table for WAAAAY longer than jam should be left unrefrigerated, LOL.
And I’m pretty sure we can all agree that any cookie you find in a Christmas tin at TJ Maxx or Marshalls is probably not going to be the healthiest cookie, right?
But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy healthier thumbprint cookies this season! My version of this holiday classic is:
- Naturally gluten-free
- Refined sugar-free (naturally sweetened!)
- Just 8 pantry-friendly ingredients
But that’s not all you guys. When I told my kids we were making “the kind of cookies that have raspberry jam in the middle,” my daughter LITERALLY pumped her fists and said “YESSSS!! Those are my FAVORITE!”
And the fact that she kept walking into the kitchen WAY more than normal – just to sneak a cookie in passing – proved her right!
Classic Thumbprint Cookie Recipe Ingredients
I mentioned that you only need 8 ingredients to make this classic thumbprint cookie recipe, so let’s talk about what you need. (Be sure to read my note about the almond flour and almond extract after this list!)
- Almond Flour or Almond Meal. Required for the classic almond flavor of these shortbread thumbprint cookies. If you make your own homemade almond milk, you can use the leftover almond meal!
- Oat Flour or Whole Wheat Flour. Both are optional, but both help to offset the cost of almond flour – even if it’s just a little bit!
- Coconut Oil or Butter.
- Maple Syrup or Honey. Use either one here, but know that the honey flavor will come through.
- Vanilla Extract.
- Almond Extract. We don’t need much, but a little splash gives amazing flavor!
- Salt. A pinch brings out the nuttiness of the almonds.
- Raspberry Jam. You can also use strawberry jam (with this super easy recipe) or apple pie jam or blueberry jam… whatever flavor you want really!
Do you have to use almond flour (or almond meal) and almond extract?
For the classic thumbprint cookie we know and love, yes. That’s how you get that almond flavor!
I don’t always keep these ingredients on hand, but I also don’t make these cookies year-round. For me, Christmas cookies are a special tradition, and I’m willing to buy a couple things to make them. Not to mention, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, almonds are really beneficial for our health!
We also tested several versions by substituting some of the almond flour with oat flour and whole wheat flour and found that you CAN substitute up to one full cup of flour with either one. However, my family picked the cookie made with mostly almond flour and some oat flour best, so that’s how the recipe is written.
What if I want strawberry jam cookies instead of raspberry thumbprint cookies?
There’s no rule that says you HAVE to use raspberry jam in these cookies – that’s just what is traditionally used. In the spirit of keeping things affordable, use whatever you happen to have.
If you want to splurge, cherry jam would be exceptionally good with the almond flavor in the cookie
How to Make Jam Thumbprint Cookies
You guys, this is one of THE EASIEST cookie recipes you’ll make this season.
- Cream the fat + sweetener + extracts. Add the flour and salt and mix into a dough.
- Scoop the dough, roll into balls and make a hole using your thumb.
- Fill with jam and bak
- Let the cookie cool and enjoy!
How long will thumbprint cookies stay fresh?
These will be good for up to 10 days when stored in the refrigerator, covered.
Do cookies with jam need to be refrigerated?
If you don’t eat the batch the day they’re made, yes. The jam is not shelf-stable.
Can you freeze thumbprint cookies?
Yes! They’re good for up to 3 months.
More Healthy Cookie Recipes
This recipe is part of an on-going journey to make traditional Christmas cookies healthier. Here are a few other recipes we’ve already transformed:
- Healthier Sugar Cookies
- Healthier Candy Cane Cookies
- Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
- Dark Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Cookies
- Naturally Sweetened Pumpkin Cookies
- 1½ cups almond flour or almond meal
- ½ cup oat flour OR whole wheat flour (or additional almond flour)
- ¼ cup butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup jam of choice
- preheat the oven to 350F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle blade attachment to combine all of the ingredients except the jam until it becomes a cohesive dough, about 1-3 minutes.
- Using a small cookie scoop OR a tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop the dough onto a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat.
- Wet your hands just a little bit and roll the dough into balls. Using a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon (tip: re-use the one you used to measure the almond extract!), make a small well in the middle of each cookie.
- Fill the wells with about ¾ teaspoon of jam.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are JUST slightly brown.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before removing to a cooling sheet to cool completely.
- Store the cookies at room temperature for one day, or covered in the refrigerated for up to 5 days.