Maple Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Cookie season is upon us. The social calendar is quickly filling up with parties and other cookie-appropriate gatherings. Your kitchen is probably covered in a fine layer of powdered sugar by this point. In a sea of sugar-laden, overly-processed baked goods, sometimes you want to be able to bring something to the party you can actually feel good about eating. Or at least not feel bad about eating. No need to sabotage those New Year’s Resolutions before they even have a chance to get started!
I’m the first to admit that I’m a chocolate snob. One look at a fruit-based dessert and I’ll quickly move on to something fudgy and decadently chocolate. These jam thumbprint cookies converted me. After one bite I was addicted … after eating nearly the whole batch, I quickly had to make a second batch so there would be some to actually take to the party! Lightly sweet and nutty, these naturally sweetened jam thumbprint cookies are the holiday cookies you can feel good about sharing.
This recipe was adapted (ever so slightly) from one created by the lovely Heidi of 101Cookbooks fame. If you haven’t stumbled across a recipe from Heidi’s blog, then frankly, I’m not sure what you’ve been spending your time on the Internet looking at. It seems that nearly every time I find myself Googling for a recipe, her site pops up in the top three results. Her recipes focus on whole, unprocessed ingredients and often unique flavor combos. My favorite is her collection of naturally-sweetened baked goods. If you don’t already own both of her exceptional cookbooks, buy them both immediately.
I can’t stand a “healthy” dessert that tastes like a “healthy” dessert. If it’s going to serve as a dessert, it better taste like one. These little beauties are naturally sweetened with maple syrup (I used organic Vermont Grade B syrup for extra flavor, expensive but totally worth it) and rely entirely on almonds, oats and whole wheat flour for the substance of the cookies. You can swap out any flavor of jam that you like. The red raspberry makes them festive enough for the holidays but you could certainly use an apricot or blackberry jam if you prefer (be sure to check the label and make sure you are using a 100% all fruit jam if you are concerned about additives).
Like most of Heidi’s recipes, these are endlessly adaptable. I’m already dreaming up a version that sprinkles dark chocolate slivers through the cookies and instead of being topped with jam, they are topped with a dark chocolate chunk that gets all melt-y and gooey … yeah, that’s totally happening.
Keeping these cookies small in size helps them pack a big flavor punch in a tiny little package. They are called thumbprint cookies, but really I used my pinky finger to make a tiny indent into each cookie before baking. I tried a couple larger cookies for comparison and the smaller cookies are definitely the way to go. Also, despite their deceptive appearance, they travel very well. Just layer them with a little wax paper liner between the layers and they are good to go. Just be sure to let the cookies cool before diving in … that piping hot jam will burn the roof of your mouth like you wouldn’t believe (trust me, I know)!
Maple Jam Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup ground almonds or almond meal
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (or cinnamon)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B preferably)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Jam of choice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or grease) and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond meal, oats, flour, salt and cardamom/cinnamon. Stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, combine the oil, maple syrup and vanilla.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until fully combined.
- Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto the prepared sheet (roll into small balls for a more uniform size and shape). Use your pinky finger to make a small indent in the middle of each cookie. Fill the indent with a small dollop of jam.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Adapted (ever so slightly) from 101Cookbooks' Honey-Sweetened Thumbprint Cookies