After I finished up these cookies the other night, I wasn’t completely satisfied. For just an instance, I slipped into feeling sorry for myself. Wanting them to be exactly like their gluten-filled counterpart.
You see, Sunday I spent the entire day baking with gluten.
Crazy, I know.
But my mother-in-law needed the hands of many to make light work of her baking this year, so I was first in line to be one of her elves.
That’s what you do for family.
And even though I couldn’t eat one of those cookies, or lick the spoon after the mixing was done, that didn’t matter. It was about time spent with family. Letting my mother-in-law sit for a moment and just relax — sharing stories of baking over the years. Having her there to show the techniques, give the baking tips, and remind us to double the batches. THAT is what this time of year is about.
(and celebrating with sprinkles — two three year olds’ dream come true — to them, they were perfect, just like these thumbprints are)
It’s not about having perfect cookies. Or the lighting you want for photos. It’s about being with family and cherishing every single moment.
And after the horrific event in Connecticut last week, it was just what I needed. Many tears were shed over the weekend and early this week. I’m still left feeling helpless, angry, confused, and full of the kind of sadness that physically hurts.
It feels funny sharing recipes to celebrate this holiday season, when the families of those sweet angels and brave educators are making funeral arrangements. I still have no words.
But for many of us, cooking and baking brings us comfort. When days are rough, and I feel helpless or lost, I head to the kitchen and find peace in putting my hands to work — sharing with you here brings us together, something we could use plenty more of in this world.
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter, room temp
280g (aprox. 2 ¼ cups) GF flour blend (plus ½ teaspoon xanthan or guar gum if making your own blend)
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla extract to make them nut-free)
½ cup jam of your choice
½ cup white baking chips
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar, until well combined. Add egg and almond extract and give it another whirl in the mixer. Slowly add flour mix until everything is combined, then chill in the fridge for up to an hour. (or longer if you’d like)
Roll into small balls and press a “print” into each ball using a small measuring spoon. (the ¼ teaspoon or the ½ teaspoon work well.) Place onto parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until cookies are set, then remove from oven, re-print each one using the same little spoon, and fill each small indent with the jam. To make things easy, you can scoop the jam into a small baggie, cut off the tip of one corner, and fill.
Return to the oven for 2-4 minutes, until edges just start to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, then move to wire rack to cool. While they are cooling, melt chocolate pieces in double boiler or microwave.
Spoon melted chocolate into small baggie and again cut the tip off the corner. Drizzle each cookie with white chocolate and allow them to cool completely.
*Sarah’s Notes: there have been times over the years when these cookies ended up spreading out in the oven… be sure to check that your oven is running at the correct temperature, when that has happened to me, it was about 25-50 degrees too hot, which can make a huge difference. Oven thermometers are inexpensive and you can pick them up at most stores — adjust your oven up or down to make sure it’s running in tip top cookie shape. It also helps to chill the dough, and sometimes I even chill the pans. I also updated the recipe to include one egg yolk as it helps hold things together and now include weight for the flour.
They can be delicate little buggers, but these cookies are worth it and requested every single year at our gluten-free cookie exchange!
Share them with your family.
So it didn’t matter that these cookies weren’t exactly like the family recipe version that my husband has put at the top of his list for years. And it’s Wisconsin, there won’t be the light I’m looking for on a dark, Monday night.
But I’m here. And light creeps into this darkness in little ways — reminding me that sometimes you have to seek out the good. It’s there.
What’s your favorite holiday cookie? Stop back soon for the peanut butter reindeer recipe I’m in the kitchen with tonight.
22 thoughts on “|| Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies ||”
Absolutely delicious. So nice to find a gluten-free recipe that is actually really very good. I’m the only one on my husband side family with a gluten intolerance. Sometimes the family is a little leery on trying my new recipes but this one I know they’re going to love this Christmas 😋
Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas
Oh, I’m so happy you are enjoying them!! Merry Christmas!
Wonderful cookies and I used Pamela’s gluten free flour. They were a big hit and I drizzled milk chocolate chips over some and some I put a cherry o instead of the jam. Thank you
Hi Darlene! So happy to hear you liked them and am digging your additions!
Hi I’m wondering what kind of sugar to use? Raw? White?
I often use fine baking sugar, but regular white sugar is fine. Raw may be a bit coarse, but let me know if you experiment.
I’m making them tomorrow and was wondering if brown sugar would work?
I’ve never made them with brown sugar, but you could try… they are pretty finicky (and sometimes spread) so you may not want to experiment.
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Just tried this and all the cookies melted together on the sheet. it looks like peanut brittle without the peanuts. Boo- that was expensive gluten free flour.
Hi, “someone.” Sorry to hear these didn’t work for you this time — it is frustrating when flours are so expensive. I’ve never had an issue with spreading with these but have with some other cookies and here are a few things I’ve learned: make sure the oven is the right temp, (oven thermometers are inexpensive and even if your oven is off just a little it can make a big difference with baking) be sure you do allow them to chill in the fridge, it can help to chill the pan as well, double check the ingredients to be sure nothing was left out. Hope that helps and that they work for you next time!
I just tried to make thumbprint cookies with my King Arthur’s GF flour and they failed. I thought it was the flour, but now I think it was the recipe (not a gluten free recipe). I thought I’d have to give up until I searched and found this one. I’m going to try again. Thanks! BTW, I think we’re distantly not really related. Your mother-in-law looks like Jane, my brother’s mother-in-law. You’re in WI, cooking GF and wearing Packers shirts, so I’m sure I’m on the right track. Merry Christmas!
Hi Debbie! I’m going to have to do some detective work tonight with the family, small world! Let me know how these turn out — King Arthur flour is hit or miss for me with recipes, but Cup4Cup always works! Merry Christmas!
I just made these and although the flavor is absolutely delicious, the texture is kind of dry and gritty. I used Pilsbury all purpose gluten free flour. This is also the first time I have ever baked anything gluten free. I still think they are good enough to serve to the person that I intended. Do you think I messed something up or is that the normal texture and I’m just not used to it?
Hi Haley — how sweet that you’re making for someone. These have quite a bit of butter so I’ve never had them dry at all, they are so buttery and delicious. I haven’t worked with that specific flour, but often those type (large, mainstream companies) have rice flour which can have a gritty texture. And if they were dry, it may have been a bit too much flour. I am careful not to pack the flour in too much as well. Sorry they didn’t turn out as you had hoped — they are a favorite of our friends and family, maybe try another flour mix, I use Cup4Cup.
how many does this make??
Hi Elizabeth — it depends on how large you make the balls, but mine is typically two dozen or so.
I just used this recipe and it came out absolutely amazing!!! Thank you soo much for posting this! Happy Thanksgiving!
I forgot the part saying that the Kursteaz flour is what I used for them.
I just made these today and they are delicious!!! I found a GF flour at Sam’s made my Krusteaz that I had not tried yet. I will be making these again for the holidays. YUM!
Hi Judy! Thanks for stopping by — I love hearing when readers have success with recipes and love them as much as I do. I haven’t tried that flour blend yet, but thanks for sharing, will have to check it out. The fun part about these is that you can use any kind of jam, they are so pretty during the holidays.