Vegan and Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies With Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

 

Though I don't label myself as vegan or gluten-free, when it comes to desserts, i have such a fun time eliminating dairy and wheat products. Why is that? Because that means I get to substitute them with more natural and healthful ingredients such as fruit and nuts. 

Part of what I love about cooking healthy food isn't that I'm making some crazy health bar with obscure ingredients that may be good for you but taste pretty funky. Enjoying your food is part of the process for me, and one of my favorite parts is challenging myself to make delicious comfort food, such as dessert, still taste amazing while using the best ingredients possible. This is the best way to get non-healthy eaters to eat healthy! 

Cue these UNREAL thumbprint cookies. Chances are, if I told you this was a normal cookie, I'm sure you would believe me. My close friend made a variation of these for me on my birthday and got the recipe from his mom. I tweaked the recipe a little bit and made my own lightly sweetened, pectin-free jam, and I have to say, I almost want to go back another batch right this second. I promise you that vegans and non-vegans alike will go ga-ga for these cookies. And they're quite simple to make, so you don't have to worry about your baking skills. 

Ingredients (makes about a dozen cookies)

  • For cookies:
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup oats (I used old fashioned)
  • 1 cup flour of choice (I used gluten-free, but you can also use whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • For jam:
  • 2 cups chopped strawberries
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

To make jam:

1. Chop up strawberries and zest your lemon. 

2. Heat strawberries in a pot on medium to low heat. Add in coconut sugar, lemon zest, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

3. Heat and stir for about 5-10 minutes on low heat until strawberry mix thickens. 

I recommend making the jam a little bit before the cookies so it has time to cool and thicken. Leave out for about 2 hours before refrigerating. 

To make cookies:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all your ingredients in a bowl. If you're mixture feels too dry, add a little bit more almond milk.

2. If you like your cookies chunky and more oatmeal-cookie-like, skip this step. If not, blend ingredients in a blender for 30 seconds or so until pretty much smooth (it's okay to have some oat chunks left for texture).

3. Place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use aluminum foil greased with a little bit of coconut oil. Cookies should have about a two inch diameter once you press your thumb down. (Make them into a little bigger than walnut-sized balls and then flatten using your thumb). Place a dollop of jam inside the crevice of each thumbprint.

4. Bake for 10-15 minutes just until golden