holiday preparations | vegan strawberry-almond thumbprint cookies

this week has involved a lot of holiday prep – from walking amongst tens of thousands of spruce and fir trees to find two of our very own, to finally beginning my christmas shopping, to holiday recipe development – i stop for a second; my mind is up, ready to go, even slightly hyper feeling but my eyes and my limbs are not keeping up. lucky for me, i really have nothing pressing. i’m grateful for these days as i know they will not last.

in other news (or perhaps not, if you follow me on instagram), i made my very first lemon tarts a couple days ago. my neighbor asked me late that afternoon to have them ready for the following afternoon. i knew i had a reliable pie crust recipe, but the filling? ah. i followed a recipe for “vegan lemon curd” with the result being a (tasty, nonetheless) lemon syrup. not good. my first batch of pie crusts turned out more like shallow saucers, and were much too hard (busy & distracted = forgetful). ditching all recipes, i totally winged it, making a vegan lemon “cream” as a filling, using plain coconut yogurt, the lemon syrup, and a few add ins, topping them with shredded coconut. i baked brand new flaky pie crusts the morning of, around 5:30 am. the result was lovely, despite the many complications previous. i think there’s a lesson hidden in there somewhere, something about patience and persistence.

we all have special treats that are really only special because of the memories they hold; reminiscent of birthdays, holidays, rainy weekends. thumbprint cookies, to me, were always reminiscent of the holidays, as they rarely made an appearance at any other time of the year. sometimes they would be filled with milk chocolate (in my milk chocolate days), sometimes caramel chips, or jam. this year, being as it’s my first Christmas with any kind of baking experience, i knew having thumbprint cookies around would be essential. i wanted them to be simple, just as the ones in my childhood were, with a light crumb and a decadent filling in it’s own right. fill them with what you wish, i really can’t think of any flavour that wouldn’t work here.

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Vegan (Strawberry-Almond) Thumbprint Cookies
(inspired by Joy The Baker)

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup almond meal (can sub any ground nut)
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup solid virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (can sub vanilla extract)
  • ~ 12-13 tsp strawberry jam (or jam of your choice)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk ground flax and water and set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, or stand mixer, cream together solid coconut oil and cane sugar until light and creamy. Add in your flax egg and extract of choice and combine.
  4. Add flour and ground almonds (or other nut) and combine thoroughly. I used a fork here, really working to create a consistent wet sand texture. This cookie dough will be very crumby, but resist adding any liquid.
  5. Grab roughly a heaping tablespoon’s worth of dough, working with your hands until it forms a ball. The dough should come together as the heat from your hands melts the coconut oil and releases the natural nut oils. Lightly press down on the middle and work around dough ball to create a dip in the middle. Repeat. I was able to make 10 medium sized cookies and 6 smaller cookies. The medium cookies filled with a teaspoon of jam and the smaller ones with half a teaspoon.
  6. Bake cookies for 15 minutes. They will be just barely golden around the edges and will still feel soft to touch and the jam will be quite runny. This is okay, they will firm up as they cool.

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