User post: My Baking Thumb: Gluten-Free, Vegan Thumbprint Cookies


Well, hello there! I don't know about where y'all live, but the last few days here have been rather crappy on the weather home front. We're talking torrential downpours, flooding, and gloom and doom all the way around. So, you can imagine my delight this morning when I woke up and heard the birds chirping. I took one peek outside and knew today was going to be a real beaut of a day.

That little bit of "outdoor" inspiration got me motivated to hit the kitchen early and get to work. I have been planning to attempt gluten-free, vegan thumbprint cookies for a few days now, and I felt like today was as good a time as ever.

I feel like I need to preface this recipe by saying that prior to my Celiac disease diagnosis, thumbprint cookies were one of my all-time-favorite treats. I know they are a cookie you can find year-round, but for some reason they always seemed to call my name around the time spring weather began to emerge. Something about those Easter chick-y colors pressed in the center of a simple but delicious cookie really called out to me.

Oddly enough, however, I had never attempted to make them on my own. But, then again, that was before I removed gluten from my life and realized yummy, gluten-free thumbprints aren't so easy to come by. So, when I went to the grocery store the other day and spotted them in the bakery section, I became completely hung up on finding a way to make them gluten-free.

I was honestly not expecting to nail it the first time around, but I must say ... I really did. (If I do say so myself.) This cookie will fulfill the little thumbprint-sized hole that's been missing in your cookie heart.

Promise.



Gluten-free, Vegan Thumbprint Cookies
(makes 24 cookies)

(Print me!)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup safflower (or canola) oil
  • 1 cup vegan cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-natural, unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (preferably pecans, macadamia nuts or almonds)

NOTES: I used Whole Foods brand vegan sugar, Bob's Red Mill brown rice flour, potato starch, almond meal/flour and xanthan gum for this recipe. You can also make your own brown rice flour if you have the supplies. I also used macadamia nuts as my option for the chopped nuts.


Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, "cream" oil, sugar, applesauce and potato starch with a hand mixer on low speed until fluffy (about 1 minute). Stir in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together brown rice flour, almond meal, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, stirring until well combined. (NOTE: The dough will have a flaky quality that looks similar to brown sugar -- see first photo below. When shaped into a ball, the dough will stick together.)

Roll 1" balls of dough in the chopped nuts until completely coated. Place on prepared cookie sheets, and then press down the center of each cookie with your thumb, creating a "well" for the icing. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through the bake time. Cool for 10 minutes on the tray and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.


Notice below that pressing down on the cookie, may cause it to crack on the sides. That's OK: Just reshape the sides by smoothing them with your fingers as I am in the bottom right hand corner.

While the cookies are cooling, let's whip up some icing. I'm giving you two options from which to choose because I'm cool like that.


Icing #1: (Adapted from the Babycakes vanilla frosting recipe in their first book. This is the one I used.)

  • 1/2 cup almond or rice milk
  • 3/4 cup dry soy milk or rice milk powder
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Food coloring, as desired

Put all ingredients into a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer on low speed, mix ingredients until well combined. Add food coloring to achieve desired color(s). I separated my icing into two bowls and added one drop of pink food dye to one bowl and two drops of lime green food dye to the other bowl. (I found neon food dye at the store!) No matter what colors you choose, stir the food dye until mixed throughout icing.

Scoop the icing into each of the cookies thumbprints (about 1 teaspoon each). Refrigerate cookies for 30 minutes - 1 hour and allow icing to set.


Icing #2: (adapted from this recipe)

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons water
  • Food coloring, as desired

Put all ingredients into a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer on low speed, mix ingredients until well combined. Add food coloring to achieve desired color(s). Stir the food dye until mixed throughout icing.

Scoop the icing into each of the cookies thumbprints (about 1 teaspoon each). Refrigerate cookies for 30 minutes - 1 hour and allow icing to set.


One bite:

Two bites:

Well, you know what happened to the rest ....

As I mentioned above, the dough for this cookie has a flaky nature. Don't panic -- that's how it's supposed to be. Once you start manipulating it with your hands, you'll find it will shape nicely. That texture is what we need in order to achieve the kind of cookie we have come to know as the thumbprint.


Note: This recipe is gluten-free and vegan. (If you have allergies or food sensitivities, always check specific manufacturer's products for allergens and/or cross-contamination issues.)

_________________________________________


Munching on these cookies made me smile as I thought about the many, many times in my life that I had enjoyed thumbprint cookies -- from my elementary days of requesting a free one at the grocery store bakery to cramming for a college test and eating them like they were my dinner (because they totally were).

Is there a cookie in your life that can take you back in time? Transport you to fond memories and put a smile on your face no matter the kind of day you are having?

Find more recipes, gluten-free information and healthy living tips at The G-Spot.