I have many friends and acquaintances, as well as one husband and one son, who have strict ideas about what constitutes the perfect cookie. It tends to be some variation of crisp at the edges, chewy at the center, studded, stuffed or gilded with chocolate, and free of raisins and nuts.
My standards are far more flexible.
More precisely, I have no standards beyond delicious. It might be a youngest child phenomenon (any unclaimed cookie is a good cookie), or that my mom baked a wide diversity of cookies (chocolate chip cookies were the least common option in our house). But I tend to think it is more of a nature than nurture phenomenon:
I was born to love all kinds of cookies.
This is my long-winded way of justifying another cookie recipe post today :). The cookies in question are 100% oat thumbprint cookies that can be eaten for dessert, certainly, but for healthy breakfasts and snacks, too.
Despite being an equal opportunity cookie enthusiast, I nevertheless have a preference for wholesome, not too sweet cookies (more license to eat them throughout the day :)). And although I like chocolate, a cookie with dark sugars (e.g., coconut sugar, brown sugar, molasses, or dark maple syrup) and jam is definitely my jam.
Healthy Benefits of Vegan Oat Thumbprints
These thumbprints are all of the above, and then some. The then some includes the following:
- Vegan (egg-free & dairy-free)
- Low in sugar (4.7 grams per cookie)
If all of that sounds good to you, too, then let’s make some cookies!
Ingredients for Vegan Oat Thumbprint Cookies
The exact amounts of each ingredient are indicated in the recipe card at the end of the post.
The list of ingredients for these cookies is minimal, as well as elastic:
- Rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick -cooking)
- Smooth nut or seed butter
- Coconut sugar (brown sugar is fine, too)
- Avocado oil (any oil you like will do; or sub with applesauce for oil-free)
- Baking soda, salt & a bit of spice (I used cardamom and cinnamon)
- All-fruit preserves (or any jam, marmalade or preserves you fancy)
If you are wondering why I’ve placed a measuring cup full of split pea soup in the photo above, fear not: it is actually my homemade pepita butter :). Any smooth nut or seed butter (e.g., peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter) will work in the recipe.
Sunflower seed butter can also be used in the recipe, but see my recipe notes for preventing the sunflower seed butter from turning the cookies green.
How to Make the Thumbprint Cookies
These cookies are novice friendly. Shaped cookies can be tricky for new-ish bakers, but that’s not the case here. I’ll explain in a moment (hint: it has to do with the absence of gluten).
Step 1: Grind the Oats
Place the rolled oats in a food processor and grind to a rough flour consistency. You can grind the oats fine, too, if you prefer. I happen to like the rougher texture for making these cookies. Note that you can use either old fashioned oats or quick-cooking oats.
Step 2: Combine the Dry Ingredients
Step 3: Add the Wet Ingredients
Add the wet ingredients–the nut or seed butter, 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil (or applesauce), and vanilla–and stir until completely blended and the dough comes together in clumps. If the dough seems dry (due to variations in the types of nut/seed butter used), simply add another teaspoon or two of water.
Step 4: Shape the Dough
Flatten each ball (slightly) with your palm and make a deep thumbprint impression in the center of each. Press and shape the cookies as much as you need to.
Here is the ease I mentioned earlier. Traditional cookie doughs, made with glutinous flour, require very gentle handling so as to avoid activating the gluten (which leads to tough cookies). This leaves very little wiggle room for getting the shape just right. These cookies do not contain gluten, so work and press the portions of dough as much as you like to craft a perfect shape (without compromising the cookie outcome).
Step 5: Add the Preserves
Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of preserves into the indentation of each cookie. I used all-fruit berry preserves, but any variety of preserves, jam, jelly or marmalade will work. Apple butter is another delicious option during these autumn months.
Step 6: Bake!
Bake the cookies in a preheated 325F oven for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookies are golden brown and firm to the touch.
You’ve got cookies!
What Do the Cookies Taste Like?
The texture of the cookies is reminiscent of soft granola bars, with a bit of crispness at the edges. Pure comfort and satisfaction! The preserves provide a satisfying & energizing hit of of sweet without any subsequent crashes. Yay!
Happy baking, everyone!