Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vegan Thumbprint Cookies

I made these cookies mostly because I was trying to use up some jam (the jam compartment in my fridge door was alarmingly full). I used Bonne Maman apricot jam, but I’m sure these would be good with something like raspberry or blackberry, too. Make sure you use quality jam! The recipe is adaptable, too, as you could use pecans or hazelnuts instead of the almonds, whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, or you could throw some coconut in there. I absolutely loved these cookies when they were fresh out of the oven and still warm, but they do tend to dry out quickly and are best the day they are made. The dough keeps well in the fridge, though, so you can make a dozen each day if you want. I didn’t realize that the recipe makes 4 dozen, which is too much for me; I’ve scaled down the recipe below by half, so you should get about 2 dozen. I used the rest of my dough to make granola, because I didn’t want to waste anything, but the Engineer’s birthday was coming up and I didn’t want cookies in the house along with birthday cake! Luckily, the dough makes great granola, and the latter keeps very well.

1 cups whole almonds
2 cups quick-cooking oats (I used rolled oats; use certified gluten-free oats if needed)
1/8 tsp salt
¾ cups flour, divided
½ cup canola oil
½ cup maple syrup
assorted jams of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.

In a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are chopped into smallish pieces. It's OK if you have a variety of sizes, just don't grind them to almond flour. Dump the almonds into a large bowl.

Using the same food processor bowl, grind the oats with the salt into a fine meal and add to the almonds. Again, I like to leave a little texture in the oats. Add ½ cup + 2 Tbsp of flour, reserving the remaining 2 Tbsp.

Measure and pour the canola oil into the bowl, followed by the maple syrup. (Doing it in this order with the same measuring cup means that all the maple syrup will glide out effortlessly.) Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. If the dough seem runny, add the additional flour but don't worry if it is too soft, as it will stiffen up a bit as it sits. Let it sit for about 15 minutes.

Form into rough balls about the size of a whole walnut (you can use a cookie-sized ice cream scoop for this). The dough will be slightly wet but surprisingly not too sticky. The cookies can be fairly close together as they don't spread much. Using the back of a round quarter-teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the top of each cookie. Wipe the spoon clean and use it to fill the indentation with your jam of choice.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies begin to brown slightly. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before moving to a rack to cool further (they're a bit fragile when they first come out of the oven). Keep in an airtight container at room temperature.

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