Here are some cookies that Anise and I made. We converted the Jam Thumbprint Gems recipe from Anise’s mom’s cookie book into a version free of gluten and dairy. If you like you can easily make these cookies vegan by using flax or chia “eggs”. We used strawberry and raspberry preserves in the center of the cookies, but you can use whichever jams, jellies or preserves you want to, even marmalade or citrus curd. I like to buy mine at Oliver’s Market and the Santa Rosa farmers market.

Berry Preserves Thumbprint Cookies
Yield: 2 dozen

Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1/4 C Egg Whites
OR 1 Golden Flax or White Chia “Eggs” (1 T ground seeds + 1/4 C Filtered Water)
1 1/2 C Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 C Nana Mae’s Organic Apple Sauce
2 T Earth Balance Spread* or 2 T More Nana Mae’s Organic Apple Sauce
1/2 C Powdered Sugar or 1/2 C Powdered Sucanat (+ 1 T Cornstarch or Arrowroot Starch)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Extra Flour, as needed
1/4 C Strawberry Preserves
1/4 C Organic Raspberry Preserves
1 T Powdered Sugar (see above), optional garnish

*You can also substitute Earth Balance with extra virgin coconut oil.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease the cookie sheet with olive oil spray. Prepare the eggs. For flax or chia “eggs”, powder the seeds in a spice grinder. Mix the ground seeds with water, and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and spices with a fork.

In another large bowl, combine the apple sauce and buttery spread until it breaks down into pea-sized pieces (as needed). Mix in 1/2 cup of sugar, the egg and extract. Mix in the dry mixture with a wooden spoon. The batter should be stiff.

With flour-dusted hands, roll out single teaspoon-sized dough balls, no bigger. Add more flour** if necessary. We added at least 1/4 cup of extra all-purpose flour. If you do need to add more flour, just kneed in a small handful at a time. Remember that gluten-free flours do not absorb as much water as glutenous ones do; our dough was rather sticky. Place the cookies about 1 inch away from the cookie sheet edges and 1 inch apart. Press your thumb gently into the center of each cookie to make depressions for the jam. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of preserves into each cookie center. For whatever reason we thought it might be more fun or easier to use a frosting extruder; you can also use a zipper bag with a corner out off or a pastery bag. We filled half of the cookie indentations with each type of preserves.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until they are light brown or golden.

As tempting as the cookies are, make sure to completely cool them on a wire rack before you eat them. You do not want to burn your tongue with molten preserves, like I did.

At this point you can garnish the cookies with more powdered sugar or sucanat. We did not garnish ours.

**Coconut flour is particularly moisture absorbent.

Our cookies came out kind of dry and cracked-looking, maybe since we left out the yolks and changed the oil type. The recipe originally called for shortening, but I think I remember mixing in coconut oil instead. I wonder how they would turn out with just apple sauce and no oil. Any ideas?