Ahh, it’s that time of year again, the most wonderful time of the year! There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for roasting… and cookies for baking!
The tradition of baking Christmas cookies is a cherished holiday event for many families, each with their own secret and highly coveted recipes. Baking Christmas treats brings families together for sweet, nostalgic memories that children pass down to their children and so on. It’s the perfect opportunity to get young children involved and to teach them the basic skill of baking and cookie dough-making, a skill that all should have!
Whether your family makes the same gingerbread cookies or shortbread cookies or biscotti year after year, sometimes it’s nice to add a new recipe or two into your repertoire. Thumbprint cookies are one of those cookies that make an appearance on many a cookie plate for Santa, but usually these are made with a plain, shortbread base and a simple dollop of jam in the middle. It is Christmas after all, so why not spice things up a bit with Cacao Thumbprint Cookies with Christmas Jam.
These cookies are one of a kind, using leftover brewed cacao nibs and Neat Nick Preserves Amish Christmas Jam. If you aren’t familiar with or don’t have brewed cacao, you can substitute desiccated coconut and coco powder mixed with coconut oil, but the brewed cacao is simply ground cacao nibs that you brew with hot water just like coffee. After brewing the cacao nibs though, you’re left with a heaping mound-full of perfectly usable cacao nibs, which you can use in all kinds of recipes, especially baked goods. A blend of almond flour, cassava flour, and golden coconut sugar with the cacao nibs keeps these cookies light, tender and delicate.
And the warm-spiced Amish Christmas Jam could not be more festive for such a Christmas confection. It’s a unique compote of cranberries, strawberries, orange zest, cinnamon, and cloves. If ever Yankee Candle made an Amish Christmas Jam candle, you could enjoy its lavish aroma year round!
The sweet, cinnamon-y jam balances out the bittersweet cacao cookie and makes for one perfect bite. In keeping with tradition for a real “thumbprint” cookie, gently press your thumb into the center of the cookie dough balls to create a well for the all that sticky, delicious jam. And you don’t even need too much jam, just about ½ teaspoon per cookie. The key to these cookies is allowing them to completely cool before removing them from their cookie sheets and plating them up, as they continue to crisp up as they cool. Your last-minute guests will love these vegan, grain-free cookies, so be sure to serve these treats with hot tea or mugs of rich hot cocoa. The cookies will stay well in an air-tight container for up to two weeks, but they also freeze well if you want to keep some a special indulgence after the new year!
Cocao Thumbprint Cookies with Amish Christmas Jam
(makes 36-38 cookies)
- 3 ½ cups leftover brewed cacao nibs***
- 1 cup golden coconut sugar
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup cassava flour
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 jar Neat Nick Preserves Amish Christmas Jam (or Strawberry Cherry Jam)
***Substitute 3 cups unsweetened, desiccated coconut and ½- ¾ cup cocoa powder with ¼ cup melted coconut oil. The mixture should be moist, so you may need to add more coconut oil if it looks too dry. Note this substitution will achieve a softer, crumblier cookie base than if using the leftover brewed cacao nibs.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Mix the leftover brewed cacao nibs, coconut sugar, almond flour, cassava flour, and coconut oil together in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.
Scoop out 1 heaping tablespoon portions of the dough and roll into balls.
Line up the dough balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet with about ½ inch in between each one.
Slightly flatten each dough ball and then gently make an indentation in the center with your thumb to create space for the jam. Be careful not to press too hard so as to split the dough ball in half.
Spoon a heaping ½ teaspoon portion of the jam into the center divots of each cookie.
Bake at 350 F for about 35 minutes or until the jam begins to bubble and the cookies have begun to slightly crisp on the edges.
Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool before removing from the cookie trays – the cookies will harden and crisp as they cool.
The cookies can be stored in an air-tight container for up to two weeks or keep them in the freezer for longer!
For more great Neat Nick Preserves recipes, visit the Recipes page on our website. Enjoy!
Recipe created by NoodlesKnows blog author and fitness coach Mandy Kaewsowatana.