A classic Christmas cookie, these gluten free thumbprint cookies will sparkle on your holiday tray this year!
Dense and buttery morsels filled with any favorite jam, the walnut coating is totally optional but oh so delicious!
Thumbprint cookies have always been one of my most favorite Christmas cookies (a close second are my playful gluten free chocolate waffle iron cookies). That always seemed bizarre. I was never really into nuts…especially walnuts, and jelly I could take or leave in most instances.
But somehow…when these few ingredients come together, the cookies created take on a magical combination.
A rich, buttery cookie off-set by the toasted nuts and some homemade jam.
It was high time I perfected a new allergy-friendly version of this recipe! And let me tell you…these are a Christmas treat in this house…otherwise I would eat WAY to many of these delectable morsels!
Thumbprints are also very flexible…if you would like to leave the nuts out, or change them to pecans or brazil nuts…go for it.
Not much for jelly? How about some dark chocolate chips nestled in that cute little indentation? We like to do a variety of jams in different colors for a festive look.
Can I make these gluten free thumbprints without dairy?
When doing a dairy free version, I have used Earth Balance Soy Free Cubes in this (which incidentally is NOT the same as the spread which has more oil to make it spreadable and would change the texture big time in these…so don’t swap).
While this is not my preferred fat…with a son who thus far cannot even tolerate casein free grass-fed ghee, this is the fat I need to use to achieve the buttery flavor traditional to thumbprints.
If you would like to use solid coconut oil or palm shortening, or can tolerate butter or ghee, those can be used here.
The flavor will not be traditional with coconut oil or palm shortening, but they will still be tasty.
Some grass fed Kerrygold butter is a great option for those who CAN tolerate dairy, and my preferred ingredient choice in these cookies.
Additional thumbprint filling options:
- Have any leftover cranberry sauce? Makes a yummy filling!
- Any melted chocolate mixed with a touch of coconut oil to keep it softer….for the chocoholic in your life (poured in AFTER you bake)!
- Trader Joe’s carries some excellent organic, reduced sugar jellies we love, and they also have organic jelly sweetened entirely with apple juice if cane sugar is a no for you.
More gluten free holiday cookies you could try!
- A classic cut out with a vegan option: Gluten Free Sugar Cookies.
- A classic flavor combo, these Paleo Chocolate Peppermint Cookies are dense and chocolaty and oh so satisfying!
- My Keto Cheesecake Cookies can be sprinkled with powdered sugar for a festive look!
- Bar cookies always take less time and effort than their cookie counterparts: Paleo Sugar Cookie Bars
Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies Recipe:
If you try these gluten Free Christmas cookies, be sure to come back ad leave a comment!
Gluten Free & Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 cup butter or any allowed butter, palm shortening, or coconut oil (see notes above in post)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar or palm sugar. May add more to taste.
- 1 large egg yolk egg white reserved, OR 3 tablespoons applesauce
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon guar gum or xantham gum
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup sorghum flour or millet
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour or cassava
- 1/2 cup rice flour or sweet rice flour, or cassava
- 1 cup walnuts finely diced
- 1 reserved egg white or omit for egg free
- 1/2 cup jam any favorite. Additional options in post above.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, beat the the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes until fluffy.
Turn the mixer down to low, and add in the egg yolk, and vanilla. Beat well.
With mixer still running on low, sprinkle in the remaining dry ingredients one at a time, in the order they are listed. Hold off on the jelly and nuts at this point! Dough will be stiff.
Grab about a tablespoon of dough and roll into ball. Continue until you have rolled them all. If dough seems overly soft and warm, chill the balls for 10-15 minutes.
If you are using nuts, now is the time to roll the balls into the finely chopped walnuts. With no egg, you roll firmly to gently press the nuts slightly into the ball, OR roll in the whipped egg white first, then roll in the nuts.
Place on a cookie sheet and press your thumb in the center to make an indentation for fillings.
Use about a 1/2 teaspoon-1 teaspoon of jam per cookie. No exact science here, just fill your holes up...but don't overfill...the jam will spill out while it bakes and it does not look as pretty.
Bake for about 10 minutes. Cookies should still be soft, but firm up perfectly as they cool.
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Renee D Kohley says
I love the chopped nuts around them! I love the twist on this classic!
Diane Keller says
I have a question on the thumb prints. Can something else be substitute something else for the guar gum?
Diane, if you are not not avoiding gums entirely, xanthum gum will work too. Otherwise psyllium husks (1-2 tablespoons) or gelatin (2 teaspoons mixed in with dry) should work, although I have not tested it!
Julia @ Swirls and Spice says
I’m pinning these cookies to try! They look incredible!
Grace Cinotti says
Mmmm. Sweet-goodness! I want one..
Agreed my friend. Thumbprint cookies are also one of my favorites. Love the flaky shortbread with the sweet jelly middle. Your pictures are stunning! I’m working on a thumbprint cookie myself (a grain free carob with a pumpkin coconut middle) – but you know and baking…give me another 5 months. Ha ha.
Wishing you and your sweet family a fabulous holiday & amazing new year.
Dawn @ Peeling Back the Onion Layers says
Tessa, you’ve done it again! I always get hungry from visiting your site. Thanks for sharing at Healing with Food Friday!
I love them, too! Thank you so much for the recipe. We’ll share with our FB followers at homesteadlady.com.
Pat @ Elegantly, Gluten-Free says
These thumbprint cookies look so tempting with the sweet dough, the crunchy nuts and the beautiful dollop of jam in the center. I could enjoy some of them right now….
I hope you have a wonderful week and a beautiful Christmas!
Love and hugs,