This is an easy recipe for gluten-free thumbprint cookies that are soft, buttery and filled with elderberry jam.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I was trying to think of something new to add to our dessert spread. The kids and I typically decorate sugar cookies together, and we’ll continue to do that because it’s such a sweet and fun tradition for us.
See, my husband and I usually celebrate Valentine’s Day the weekend before the actual holiday. Restaurants are way less busy, and the calmer pace helps us enjoy each other’s company even more.
We don’t always go to restaurants, though. Maybe we’ll see a movie, hike or book a quick weekend away. As long as we’re carving out time together, that’s all that really matters.
On Valentine’s Day, though, we like to celebrate with our kids. I always tell them, “It’s a day of celebrating how beautiful and powerful love really is.” Then I go into mom mode. That means lots of heart-shaped foods (even if my boys think it’s corny), a special dinner and some yummy desserts.
For the last few years, I’ve been making more of a spread for our desserts instead of one grand treat. I used to bake a cheesecake or some kind of pie.
But now I love the idea of finger desserts. Mini cheesecakes, sugar cookies, truffles and this year I’m adding these beauties! My thumbprint cookies.
The Best Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
As you can tell by my blog here, I’m a baker. I love being in the kitchen and coming up with new ideas to make classic recipes healthier while staying delicious.
This is one of them! I was determined to cut the gluten because prolonged gluten exposure is linked to a leaky gut, and Leaky Gut Syndrome is tied to many health issues. That’s not something I want to mess around with.
So I started testing different ingredients, tweaking it a bit here and there and testing again (which means a lot of dishes, haha). I finally ended with this recipe that I couldn’t be more over the moon about.
These thumbprint cookies are crumbly, buttery and soft with a shortbread dough.
The elderberry jam filling adds just the right amount of sweetness to make this cookie absolutely irresistible. Not to mention how gorgeous these will look on your Valentine’s Day spread!
Why Elderberry Jam?
Well, besides the obvious reason (the fact that I’m Elderberry Queen), my question to you would be… why not elderberry jam?
Don’t get me wrong — I love raspberry and blackberry jam like no other. But sometimes, they can be overly sweet for me. Plus, the benefits of elderberry jam are one-of-a-kind.
Impressive Benefits of Elderberry Jam:
- A super easy recipe made from organic elderberry syrup
- Nothing artificial and no added sugar
- Sweetened with only real honey
- Superfood elderberries are packed with antioxidants
- Supports immune health
- Helps kick colds and the flu to the curb
See what I mean? I’m on team elderberry all day, every day!
And if you’re still skeptical after reading about the health benefits, I have a good feeling you’ll agree with me once you taste these thumbprint cookies. One will never be enough. Thank goodness these cookies freeze beautifully.
Quick Tip: Making the jam a day or two ahead of time will make the process go by a little faster.
Ingredients for Thumbprint Cookies
You’ll need a handful of ingredients for the delicious shortbread cookie dough to bring this recipe together:
- Sugar — for a healthier version and paleo friendly try coconut sugar (the cookies will have a slightly different texture)
- Butter — always try to go with grass-fed and organic, you can also sub for ghee
- An egg — the glue that holds the goodness together
- Milk — this recipe calls for almond milk, but you can use any variety you wish
- 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend — make sure it’s 1:1 ratio
- Baking Powder — gives a lift resulting in a fluffy cookie
- Baking Soda — helps give that golden touch
Only simple all-natural ingredients are used — for a cookie that will melt in your mouth and nourish your body.
Ingredients for Elderberry Jam
This jam recipe is super easy to whip up and only requires three simple ingredients.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Lemon Juice
- Organic Cornstarch
- Organic Elderberry Syrup
These ingredients will give the right amount of sweetness we all crave in a good cookie.
How to Make Thumbprint Cookies With Elderberry Jam
Ready to get started? If you’ve got a sweet tooth, it’s time to make these cookies.
Here are the basic steps to make these delicious thumbprint cookies:
1. Make the shortbread cookie dough. Use a mixer and cream sugar and butter together for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Then add the egg and milk and mix until combined. Finally add the flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix on low until dough forms.
2. Chill the dough. Form the dough into a ball, saran wrap it and place it in the fridge for about two hours.
3. Make the elderberry jam. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine lemon juice, cornstarch, and elderberry syrup and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat until at a low boil and stir occasionally for about 20-30 minutes. Once thickened to a jam-like consistency, pour into a mason jar and allow to cool while your dough chills.
4. Roll dough into balls. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it into small balls using the palm of your hands. Press your thumb in the center of each ball to create a well. Two thumbprints will create a heart-shaped well, which is adorable for Valentine’s Day.
5. Fill with jam. Then, fill the well with elderberry jam.
6. Bake and cool. Bake at 350℉ for 10-14 minutes until lightly golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before removing them.
Exact measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
Now it’s time to enjoy these deliciously sweet classic cookies! Soft, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth elderberry goodness. Yum!
Tips for the Best Thumbprint Cookies Ever
Even though this recipe is fail-proof, there are a few things you can do to make sure they turn out the best they can!
1. Make sure you’re using a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. If it’s not a 1:1 ratio, your cookies won’t turn out like they’re supposed to.
2. Let your eggs and butter come to room temperature before mixing them together. It ensures they will be light and fluffy!
3. Note that these cookies don’t get a dark golden brown. They’re done when they are touched with a kiss of light goldenness. If you overcook them, they will just fall apart.
How Should These Be Stored?
These thumbprint cookies will stay fresh on your counter in an airtight container for a week. In the fridge, they are good for about two weeks.
You can freeze these by placing them in an airtight container and using parchment paper between each layer of cookies, so the jam doesn’t stick. They keep well in the freezer for up to four months.
Whether you’re sprucing up your Valentine’s Day spread, hosting a party or just need a little treat — you’re going to love these easy elderberry thumbprint cookies!
💜 More Gluten-Free recipes to try: