Jam thumbprint cookies are a perfect sweet treat that are so melt-in-your-mouth good, you would never guess they're gluten-free! A bit of your favorite jam in a coconut-coated almond shortbread cookie, it's definitely something to savor with a hot cup of tea or coffee.
If you are looking for holiday cookie, these jam thumbprint cookies are IT!
I have always associated making these cookies especially during the holidays.
But really, they are so melt-in-your-mouth insanely delicious that you will love them any time of the year!
And they're gluten-free without you even realizing it!
This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's Jam Thumbprint Cookies, which I used to make every Christmas when I lived in California. After moving to Hong Kong, however, I stopped making them, and then I got re-inspired to making them again this year.
But I made some changes...
Less Is More
The biggest thing is that this is a gluten-free version, so if you are on a gluten-free diet, you can enjoy these cookies! That being said, anyone who takes a bite of one of these gems will have no clue that the gluten is missing!
There is still a little bit of sugar to give the cookie a bit of sweetness and its texture, but I've reduced the sugar by HALF and let me assure you that you don't miss it one bit!
Another slight modification is that I used unsweetened flaked coconut. Besides the fact that I don't think you need to add more sweetness to the cookies, I actually had a very difficult time finding sweetened flaked coconut in Hong Kong. So I went with the unsweetened, only to discover that it was just as good, if not better!
Finally, I substituted some of the dry ingredients with almond flour which gives the cookies a slight nuttiness that only enhances their deliciousness! They also make the cookies even more melt-in-your-mouth.
The dough for these cookies can be easily whipped up in a bowl with a spoon. You can use a mixer, but it's not necessary.
Like standard cookies recipes, you start by creaming the butter and sugar together. Then you add the dry, which is a simple gluten-free blend of brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and almond flour. Mix it all together until you get a cohesive dough and no dry ingredients remain in the bowl.
Since the dough is very soft at this stage, it needs to rest in the fridge for 30-40 minutes to let the butter stiffen up again and it will be easier to handle when it comes time to make the cookies.
Rolling and Coating the Cookie Balls
Once the dough has had a chance to chill, then comes the fun part! Portion the dough out to make 1 ¼" dough balls, about 1 oz. of dough each. Do all of this before you start doing any dipping/coating.
Coat each dough ball in egg wash, being sure to let any excess drip away before coating the dough ball in coconut. Place the coconut coated balls on a parchment lined baking sheet.
To make the indent in the cookies, I used a ⅛ teaspoon measuring spoon and that worked like a charm! However, I've also used my fingertip or the round end of a mixing spoon. Despite the name, my thumb is too big! 😉
Fill each indent with your favorite jam. We usually have St. Dalfour jams in the house, and I used raspberry for this recipe. All you need is about ¼ - ½ teaspoon of jam...don't overfill as you don't want the jam to bubble over when it's baking.
Bake in a 425 deg F (220C) oven for 20 minutes and you are going to have a tray full of cookie deliciousness!!
Crumbly almond shortbread with a subtle coconut flavor and just the right amount of sweet jam...these cookies are just ridiculously good. And they go so well with Yummy Cuppa English Tea Latte or your favorite hot beverage.
Melt-in-your-mouth delicious and gluten-free...what more could you want from a cookie? Even my boys, who are are more fans of chocolate chip type cookies, admitted that they were "pretty good"!
Make up a batch to give away to friends, to serve for dessert, to enjoy with an afternoon tea...or do like I did and have one for breakfast (don't worry, I won't tell!).
Coconut Almond Jam Thumbprint Cookies
- Combine room temperature butter and sugar and cream together using either a mixer or a spoon. Add vanilla and mix.
- Combine brown rice flour, tapioca starch, almond flour. Add to the butter.
- Beat mixture together until dough comes together and there is no more loose flour at the bottom of the bowl.
- With hands lightly dusted with brown rice flour or tapioca starch, press and shape dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes.
- Preheat oven 350 deg F (180C).
- Beat together 1 egg and 1 tbs water for egg wash.
- Remove dough from fridge and portion out into 1 ¼" balls (about 1 oz. each).
- Roll each dough ball in egg wash, being sure to let any excess egg drip away before rolling it in shredded coconut. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Press an indentation into each dough ball with the back of a ⅛ teaspoon measuring spoon, your finger, or the tip of a mixing spoon handle.
- Fill indentation with about ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon jam. Do not overfill.
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Let cookies cool 10 minutes on the pan before using a spatula to transfer them to a sheet of foil on the counter to cool completely.
- Store cookies in a container at room temperature or in the fridge.
- Cream the butter and sugar using a mixer or by hand using a spoon. Be sure the butter is room temperature so it is easy to cream.
- Refrigerating the dough before rolling the balls is necessary so that it can firm up and is easier to handle.
- Make the dough ahead of when you actually plan to bake and simply keep it in the fridge. In this case, let the dough sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes so the dough is soft enough to handle and roll into balls.
- You can use sweetened shredded coconut if you prefer a sweeter cookie. Because sweetened shredded coconut is stiffer and stickier than unsweetened, you may have to press the coconut into the dough balls as it may not stick as easily on its own.
- Skip the coconut, if desired.
- Be sure not to overfill the indents with jam. I use about ¼ to ½ teaspoon Any more than that and it the jam will bubble over.
- These cookies will hold together better when eaten a day after making them, or if they are kept chilled. They are delicious on the same day of baking, but will be more crumbly.
**Recipe updated December 15th, 2020 because of a slight error in the measurements.