Let me start with a disclaimer: I think most food fads – Paleo, juicing, Atkins, etc – are a little silly. I am a firm believer in the everything-in-moderation diet. I reserve the right to consume bread and cheese and wine on a Friday night after a long week, and to not feel bad about it.
Considering that baking is one of my passions, it’s a cruel joke that I actually can’t tolerate dairy very well. This is going to sound crazy, but dairy makes my nose all stuffy. After a wild night eating ice cream or hitting the cheese board pretty hard, my sinuses are a mess. Apparently, for people like me who already have bad allergies, milk products can make allergies worse. I know this from lots of personal experience. If you or your child has chronic sinus problems, I highly recommend eliminating all milk products for about two weeks. I think you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel.
Ok, end of soapbox!
I tell you all of this because lately, I’ve realized that I need to experiment with recipes that don’t use those ingredients that cause problems for me. I have good news! As it turns out, almonds and coconut oil actually make pretty delicious cookies. Now, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you these ingredients taste as good as these or these. But if you’re trying to avoid butter and gluten, or just want a healthier sweet, this recipe for almond thumbprint cookies is pretty damn good.
Almond Thumbprint Cookies
Adapted from this recipe. I made my own nut flours by grounding up raw slivered almonds and cashews in a food processor. Makes about one dozen cookies.
1 cup of almond flour
1 cup of cashew flour
1/4 cup of gluten-free oats (optional)
1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup of cherry or apricot jam (I like Bonne Maman)
2 T dark chocolate, chopped (optional; I made a few with chocolate in the center instead of jam. They were really good.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. In a mixing bowl, cream together the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond extracts until relatively smooth (there will still be some lumps). Slowly add the nut flours, oats, shredded coconut, and salt until a dough forms.
Use your hands to roll the dough into smooth balls. Place them on the cookie sheet and use your thumb to press into the center of each ball, making a well for the jam. Spoon a small amount of jam in the middle of each cookie .
Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool and enjoy.