Friday, November 16, 2012

Thumbprint Cookies for Kids and Grown Ups (gluten- and refined sugar-free)

Thumbprint Cookies for Kids and Grown Ups (gluten- and refined sugar-free)
When Advice starts to bring out beautiful holiday items, we know that the season is drawing near.  With holiday season comes baked goods. Many, many different kinds of baked goods that are delicious, yet can turn us into sugar (and gluten monsters). Keep reading for a great recipe for a delicious (and filling) cookie that you can make with your kids. I’ve included a gingery adult variation, too.
I was inspired to make the base of the cookie from nuts after seeing peanut butter thumbprint cookies at a lovely little cafĂ© in Montreal this summer. Off on a recipe quest I went, trying and re-trying several variations of the thumbprint cookie. This is a delicious, filling, gluten and refined sugar free variation that contains a boatload of healthy ingredients. Here’s a lowdown on what’s in these nutrition-packed cookies:

Almond flour (or almond meal, as it is sometimes called) is a flour made from ground almonds. It’s gluten-free, and packed with protein and good fats that will help your belly feel full! You can buy almond flour in specialty stores (such as Whole Foods), or you can grind the almonds into a flour yourself. Grinding almonds into almond flour takes 2 minutes; just throw one cup of almonds into a food processor and pulse a few times until the almonds turn start to look like a flour or meal. Pulse too much and you’ve got almond butter. Win/win.
Almond butter is a staple in my kitchen. It replaces peanut butter in any situation (which is impressive, as those are big shoes to fill). Almond butter makes a wonderful breakfast when spread on gluten free toast with some chopped banana on top, makes a delicious snack when spread on apple slices, and can be added to smoothies (with a little chocolate) to create a creamy and delicious treat.
Honey is one of the best sweeteners that you can buy. It is a little lower on the glycemic index than maple syrup (meaning that it won’t raise blood sugar as quickly). Honey, when raw and unpasteurized, provides anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal benefits. The friendly bacteria in honey can also help to increase immunity (especially during this time of year). Important: Although honey is a wonder-food, its bacteria are not safe for children under 1 year.
Cinnamon is a wonder when it comes to controlling blood sugar. Use it liberally! Add it to baking, smoothies, or even almond butter toast.

Yummy Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup almond meal (or almond flour)
1/4 cup almond butter
3 tbsp raw unpasteurized honey
1 tbsp ground flax
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coconut oil
Naturally sweetened jam or apple butter of your choice (I love raspberry or strawberry, which make the cookies taste like almond butter and jam sandwiches).

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, almond butter, honey, flax and cinnamon. You may need to get your hands in there to thoroughly mix everything! Test the dough’s stickiness by forming a small ball. If it’s too crumbly and won’t hold together, add one to two tablespoons of water.
Grease a cookie sheet with the coconut oil. Using a tablespoon to measure, scoop out some dough and form it into a ball. When the ball looks tight, put on cookie sheet and make an indent with your thumb. This is where you’ll put the jam. Repeat with the rest of the dough, then add the jam to each indent.
Bake in the oven until the cookies are browned, around 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before eating, as the jam will be very, very hot.
Makes around 18 cookies.
Adult variation:
Add ½ teaspoon of ground ginger to the dough. Use peach or apricot jam (or even red pepper jelly if you’re so inclined) for a gingery adult cookie.

Andrea Sarjeant, CNP, is a holistic nutritionist based out of Toronto. She believes that food can be both healthy and delicious and is constantly working on creating fun recipes that will tantalize your taste buds and help you feel your very best. Find out more at
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