Classic jam thumbprints made gluten-free. The cookies are buttery and topped with a little jam. To make things easy, use a gluten-free flour blend. (Dairy-free variation included with the recipe.)
Jam thumbprints are one of my favorite cookies. There’s just something about the combination of the buttery cookie and the jam topping. Not only are they tasty, they’re so fun to make. You can roll them in granulated sugar, powdered sugar, or leave them plain before baking. As for the jam, I usually use strawberry or raspberry. But any jam works. Use whatever you love.
If you love buttery cookies, consider making a batch of gluten-free shortbread to go along with these. They make a nice pair if you make cookie tins to give as gifts.
Simple Ingredients. Tasty Cookies.
- Gluten-Free Flour. Use a gluten-free flour blend that contains xanthan gum. It helps the cookies hold their shape. If your blend doesn’t contain xanthan, whisk a ¼ teaspoon into it before making the dough.
- Granulated Sugar. Adds sweetness.
- Salt. Enhances the other flavors.
- Baking Powder. A tiny amount of baking powder gives the cookies a delicate texture.
- Butter. Softened butter is critical to making the dough. Both salted and unsalted butter work in this recipe. I prefer salted butter because I think it gives the cookies a richer flavor. If you’re using a dairy-free butter replacement, make sure it’s suitable for baking. Avoid using oil. It makes for greasy cookies.
- Egg. One large egg brings the dough together.
- Jam. You can use your favorite jelly, jam, or preserves. They all work and they’re all tasty.
- Vanilla or Almond Extract. Adds flavor. You can use either vanilla or almond extract. If you have both on hand, use them. The blend adds a really nice flavor.
How to Make Gluten-Free Jam Thumbprints.
There are four simple steps to making these cookies: prepare the dough, roll them into balls, fill them with jam, and bake. Let’s take a look at each.
Step One: Make the dough.
The key to making these cookies is to use softened butter. If the butter is too cold the dough won’t come together. Start by mixing together the butter and sugar until it’s thick and creamy. There’s no need to mix until it’s fluffy, like you do when making a gluten-free pound cake. In fact, if you over-mix the butter and sugar, the cookies can spread. So stop once the butter and sugar come together.
Once you mix the butter and sugar, add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until the egg is thoroughly combined. The butter should lighten a little. It will almost look like thick frosting. When it does, stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Most of the time, even if your butter is at the right temperature, a thin layer of butter and sugar clings to the bowl. You want off the side of the bowl before you add the flour mixture. Because if it’s left clinging to the bowl, it can add streaks of butter to the dough. When baked, these streaks can make the dough greasy.
Finally, add the gluten-free dry ingredients. Mix until a dough forms. This only takes about 30 seconds or so. The dough will be firm. After mixing, chill the dough for about 10 minutes.
Step Two: Roll into Balls.
Roll the dough into balls. I like to use a cookie scoop for this step. First, I scoop the dough and then roll it into balls. If you don’t have a cookie scoop, use a measuring spoon. Place the cookies about two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
If you’d like, you can roll the dough in granulated sugar for a sweet crunch or powdered sugar for a pretty snowball-like appearance.
Step Three: Add the Jam.
Now the fun part. Press a small indentation into each cookie. You can either use your finger or thumb or the back of a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon. If the dough starts sticking to your finger or spoon, dust it with a little gluten-free flour. It keeps the dough from sticking.
Try not to press so hard that the cookie dough cracks. If it does, press the cookie back together. Once each cookie has a little indentation, fill it with a little jam. You really don’t need much jam. About a ¼ teaspoon is usually enough. If you add too much jam, it can run over the edge of the cookies and make a mess.
Step Four: Bake.
A pan of these cookies takes 12 to 15 minutes to bake. Look for the edges to be a pale golden color. When you remove them from the oven, let the cookies cool on the pan for about three minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
You’re going to want to wait before eating them. The jam is very hot right out of the oven. So it’s best to let them cook before taking a bite.
Follow these tips to make the best gluten-free jam thumbprints every time.
Chill the Dough
Pop the dough into the fridge for about 10 minutes before rolling it into balls. This gives the dough time to firm up a bit. If your kitchen is very warm, chill the dough for longer.
Don’t use too much jam.
If you love jam, you might want to put a big spoonful of jam onto each cookie. I understand this! But you’re going to want to resist this urge. If you use too much, the jam will run all over the cookies as they bake. About a ¼ teaspoon really is enough.
These cookies keep at room temperature for up to five days when stored in an airtight container. Don’t place warm cookies into a container or they’ll steam and fall apart.
To freeze: These cookies freeze beautifully. Once they’re fully cooled, place them into a freezer container. I like to layer them with a piece of parchment between each layer. They keep for up to two months in the freezer.
Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 ¾ cups gluten-free flour, see note (8 ounces; 226 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup butter, softened (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (3 ½ ounces; 100 grams)
- 1 large egg (about 2 ounces; 56 grams out of shell)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract, see note
- ¼ cup jam, any flavor (3 ounces; 85 grams)
Preheat oven to 350℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Whisk together gluten-free flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, mix butter and granulated sugar together until thick and creamy. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until light. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Run mixer for about 10 seconds to incorporate wherever you’ve scraped from the sides.
Add the dry ingredients. Mix until a dough forms. Chill dough for ten minutes.
Scoop dough, about one tablespoon each, and roll into balls. Place cookies, about two inches apart, on the prepared baking pan.
Using your finger or the back of a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon, press an indentation into each cookie. If the cookie dough cracks, gently press it back together.
Spoon about ¼ teaspoon of jam into each indentation.
Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are firm and the edges are light golden brown.
Let the cookies cool on the pan for three minutes. Then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store cookies in an airtight container for up to five days or freeze once cooled for up to two months.
Gluten-Free Flour: This recipe was developed with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. For the best results, use a gluten-free flour blend that contains xanthan or guar gum. If yours doesn’t, whisk 1/4 teaspoon into the flour before using. This recipe has not been tested with nut or grain-free flour.
Dairy-Free Variation: Replace the butter with a dairy-free butter that’s labeled for baking. Coconut oil is not recommended as it can make the cookies heavy and greasy.
Vanilla and Almond Extract. If you have almond extract in the house, use a blend of vanilla and almond extract. It makes for extra tasty cookies. Use 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon almond extract.