We’re in the thick of holiday season which, if you’re lucky, means that cookies are, inescapably, in your area. I tried to take my cookie game to the next level this year by making some shortbread cookies, vegan style. I’ve always loved the buttery richness of shortbread and wanted to see how it translated with a vegan version. I furiously made these in advance of a wine club gathering at our house (translation: 7 friends drinking more wine than usual while eating pizza) and brought them out as the night was winding down Good decision. In the unpaid and brutally honest words of my friend, Caleb: “These are better than my grandma’s cookies! Sorry grandma!” The truth can’t hide from wine club, ya’ll.
what’s the history of thumbprint cookies?
Clearly, the name “thumbprint cookie” comes from the small indentation you create using your thumb. That’s the surface answer, anyway. But think of thumbprint cookies like an onion, and let’s begin to peel back their mysterious cookie past. Who was the first person in the world to decide to press their thumb in cookie dough and then fill it with fruity jam? I wish we could give definitive credit to a single soul for this invention, but many cultures lay claim to this cookie prestige. Jewish folks from eastern Europe, Swedes, Poles, and a few Middle Eastern cultures all believe their thumbprints were the first. So there’s no real answer here, but a good fact instead! Thumbprint cookies are called Hallongrotta in Swedish, which translates to “raspberry cave.” Cute.
how do I make vegan thumbprint cookies?
Since I’m a longtime consumer, short time baker of shortbread cookies, I decided to use Loving it Vegan’s delicious recipe for inspiration. These vegan shortbread cookies are very easy to make and contain a grand total of eight ingredients.
To prepare, simply cream your butter, sugar, and almond extract together using an electric mixer. Add in the flour and salt, and work together until you have a thick dough. Roll the dough into balls, place on your parchment-lined baking sheet, and press your thumb evenly into each. Pop them in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes so they harden a bit before adding the jam filling. When ready, remove from the oven, fill with your jam of choice, and bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. While baking, make your glaze and put into a piping bag if you have one handy. If not, try adding the glaze to a ziplock bag and pushing it all to one corner, and then cutting off the corner with a very small cut on the side with the glaze. Apply stable pressure to get the glaze to come out at the speed you want. Once the cookies are finished baking, let them cool for about 30 minutes before glazing and enjoying.
To keep the cookie vibes coming, try these vegan sugar cookies, vegan chocolate chip cookies, vegan snickerdoodles,or vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. If you make these delicious vegan thumbprint cookies, leave a comment, rate the recipe, and and tag a photo with #plantandvine on Instagram.
vegan thumbprint cookies and wine pairings
Cookies and wine, no better way to dine [insert winks and finger guns]. Thumbprint cookies are good to pair with wine because they’re more rich and savory than sweet, and they’re literally loaded with berries, so your wine won’t get as overwhelmed with the sugar as other desserts might. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Pinot Noir: Light, fruity red with flavors of raspberry, cranberry, and cherry. I drank both a Pinot Noir and a Beaujolais at our wine party where these were served and I was happy with both pairings.
- Suggested Regions: Burgundy, France or Willamette Valley, France
- Moscato: Made from the Muscat Blanc grapes, this wine brings sweet flavors of peaches and orange blossoms. If you’re looking for something a little bubbly to dress up the cookies, try Moscato d’Asti (semi-sparkling) or Asti Spumante (sparkling).
- Suggested Regions: Asti, Piedmont, Italy
- Sauternes: if you really want a luscious pairing with a full-fledged dessert wine, Sauternes is a delicious choice. Made from Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc, it adds butterscotch, apricot, ripe peach, and toasted baking spices. In other words, it’s straight-up delicious.
- Suggested Regions: Sauternes or Barsac, Bordeaux, France
Vegan Thumbprint Cookies
Delicious vegan thumbprint cookies that are crowd-pleasers anytime of year.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 60 minutes
- Yield: 20 cookies
- Category: Vegan, Vegetarian, Dessert, Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American, Vegan, Healthy
- 1 cup vegan butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup Fruit Jam (use whatever type you prefer; I went for half raspberry and half marionberry jams).
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon almond milk (or other non-dairy milk), you will likely need a small additional amount
- 1-2 drops almond extract
- Add the vegan butter and sugar to a bowl and cream them together, using an electric mixer (or a super strong bicep). Add the almond extract and mix together.
- Add in the flour and salt to the bowl with the creamed butter and sugar. Stir in by hand until it forms a thick dough.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Roll dough into balls, about 1″ in diameter, and place the balls onto the tray. Use your thumb to create even thumbprints in the dough balls (see picture for example). Using your fingers, try to smooth out any cracks that occur around the edges of the cookies when you create the thumb indentations.
- Place the tray with the cookies into the freezer for 15-20 minutes. This helps the dough firm up which will better support the jam while baking.
- While the cookies are freezing, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- After 15-20 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and fill the thumbprints with your preferred jam.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are slightly browned. You don’t want the edges to be fully browned, only slightly, as we’re going for a mix between soft and crunchy.
- Let them cool for at least 30 minutes before glazing. If you’re in a hurry, you can stick them in fridge for 5 minutes to expedite this process.
- To make the glaze, add the powdered sugar, soy milk, and two drops of almond extract to a small bowl. Using your electric mixer or some hand-powered vigorous stirring, mix until the ingredients become a glaze. You will likely need to add a few extra drops of soy milk to get the right amount.
- To drizzle the glaze over your cookies, use a piping bag to pipe it on or make a makeshift piping bag but using a ziplock bag. Add the glaze to ziplock bag then cut off a tiny snippet from the corner where you collect the glaze. Varying the amount of steady pressure will determine how thickly your glaze comes out.
- Store in covered container at room temperature once completely cooled. Will keep for 3 days in container.
*Recipe is a guide. Adapt as desired.
Keywords: vegan thumbprint cookies, thumbprint cookies, raspberry jam cookies