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Gluten Free Cookies: Jam Thumbprint

I know what you are thinking, “She barely posts for months and then two cookie recipes in one week?!” Or maybe that’s just what I’m thinking. But, ’tis the season for cookies and finding gluten free adaptations of my traditional holiday cookies has been consuming me lately. There were a couple of failures there that we’ll just brush under the rug, but this one is an undoubted success.



Years ago I watched an episode of Ina Garten’s show Barefoot Contessa where she made jam thumbprint cookies as holiday gifts for her friends. I loved it as soon as I saw it. Jam baked into cookies that have been rolled in coconut? What is not to love here? Except she called for apricot jam and I happen to have a slight marmalade fetish so each batch I make are evenly divided between raspberry jam and marmalade.

As I’ve said before, I don’t like the standard cookie instruction that directs us to prepare the dough or batter and then stick it in the fridge to chill and then roll out or shape them into cookies for baking. I know the butter needs to firm up and I’m sure there are other scientific principles at work here which Alton Brown could explain to me in a way that keeps me riveted. But, I’m lazy and it’s harder to form cookies when the butter is firm. It’s also much harder to create little wells in the cookie to fill with jam when they are cold and mine always seem to crack and then the jam leaks out. That, I don’t like.

The solution is simple: use a small cookie scoop to form the cookies immediately after mixing up the dough, make your wells while the dough is still soft, and then pop them in the fridge to rest. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Except then how are you going to roll them in the water and coconut without getting the wells full? At first I really thought I’d been too smart for my own good and it was all going to come back to bite me in the butt. But, it didn’t because if you make the wells with your finger, then you have the perfect finger-hold to grip and dip and roll the cookie without filling up the well with water and coconut. Plenty of room left for jam and/or marmalade.

One last item of awesomeness with these cookies… they have no egg in them. Weird, right? Well, here’s the thing… Andy’s gluten intolerant and there is a girl in his class who’s allergic to eggs. This became a perfect cookie base for other treats that could keep them both allergy free.


Gluten Free Cookies: Jam Thumbprint

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp each:
  • Sweet sorghum flour
  • Potato starch (flour)
  • Tapioca starch (flour)
  • Amaranth flour
  • 2 ¼ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bag shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 jar raspberry jam (I use Polaner’s All Fruit)
  • 1 jar orange marmalade (I use Polaner’s All Fruit)


  • Sift into a medium bowl the four flours, xanthan gum, and salt. Set aside.
  • In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together.
  • Remove the whisk attachment and using a spatula press the dough together.
  • Using a small cookie scoop put balls of dough onto a lined cookie sheet. Using your finger, or the large end of a chop stick, create a well in the center of the dough ball. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare two bowls, one with water and one with the shredded coconut. Dip each dough ball into the water to coat and then roll it in the coconut. Return the cookies to the tray.
  • Place approximately ½ jar of jam in a sandwich sized zip-top bag with one end snipped off. Squeeze the bag to make sure the jam is not lumpy. Repeat with another bag and the marmalade.
  • Place cookies on a half sheet pan lined with a Silpat sheet with an inch or so between cookies. (If you use a half-sheet pan you can make five rows of four cookies each as they will not spread much in the baking.)
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the coconut is a golden brown.
  • Cool and serve.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Diet tags: Gluten free