Honey-sweetened Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

A simple thumbprint cookie recipe. Made with whole wheat pastry flour and oats, and sweetened with honey instead of granulated sugar.

Honey-sweetened Thumbprint Cookies

When I posted this recipe for chocolate chip cookies a while back, a number of you expressed interest in cookie recipes that use no granulated sugar. So, for example, instead of regular sugar, the cookies might be sweetened with maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, fruit syrup, ripe banana, and/or brown rice syrup. I make these little oat-flecked thumb-print cookies using honey as the sweetener. They bake up golden in color, and the oats add a bit of substance to them. They aren't the most attractive cookies I make, but with their jam-filled belly-buttons they're cute enough.

Thumbprint Cookies

In my continuing fascination with tiny cookies, I made these mini. I used teaspoon-sized balls of dough. You could do larger, tablespoon-sized versions if you increase the baking time by a few minutes (and the amount of jam needed to fill the cookie dough).

Thumbprint Cookies

And because of their diminutive size, truth be told, instead of using my thumb to make the imprint, I use my pinky finger instead.

Related links: A few other treats made without granulated sugar:Nikki's Healthy Cookies, peanut butter cookies, and I'm betting that you could do these bran muffins without the granulated sugar as well.

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Honey-sweetened Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

2/3 cup honey (I use a clover honey)
1/3 cup warm coconut oil or clarified butter
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon all natural cornstarch (or arrowroot)
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
zest of one lemon
your favorite jam or preserves (preferably fruit sweetened) - berry goes nicely

Preheat the oven to 350F, rack in the top 1/3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl pour the warm, melted coconut oil over the honey and whisk in the vanilla extract. In a separate medium bowl combine the flour, oats, cornstarch/arrowroot, sea salt, baking soda, and lemon zest. Add the flour mixture to the honey and stir until just combined. Let the dough sit for 2-3 minutes. Stir once or twice again - the dough should be quite stiff.

Roll the dough into balls, one level teaspoonful at a time, and place an inch or so apart on the prepared baking sheets. These will spread. Use a (damp) pinky finger or the back of a very tiny spoon to make a well in the top of each ball of dough. Fill each "well" to the top with 1/8 teaspoon of jam. If you chill the dough at this point for an hour, the cookies won't spread as much, but I'm usually too impatient.

Bake for 7 - 9 minutes or until the bottom and edges of the cookies are just golden. Resist the urge to over-bake, these tiny guys dry right out.

Makes a few dozen cookies.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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These look great! I recently made Almond Butter Cookies based on your peanut butter cookie recipe that uses maple syrup as a sweetener. They came out perfectly.

ashley (sweet & natural)

Those Keebler elves have nothing on you! Your pinky cookies are simply magical.


I never use sugar in baking--only natural sweeteners like maple syrup, agave nectar or brown rice syrup. I also can't use eggs, dairy or wheat, so it was a bit of a challenge at first, but now that I've tinkered for years with the formula, I my baked goods come out comparable to traditional varieties. These cookies are adorable. I bet they'd be great on a buffet table or at a party--you could really serve a crowd!


Heidi, I have enjoyed your recipes, and have tired a number of them. When I make your 'sweet' treats, I always substitute honey, maple syrup or other items for the sugar. I have not cooked with white sugar for 32 years. I love to bake, and I have four children, who grew up loving my cookies, cakes (with frosting), cinnamon rolls...etc. I believe that to also eat healthy, you need to cut out the white sugar, and cut back the amount of sweetener asked for in a recipe. Your black bean brownies were a hit, and a surprise when people found out what the 'surprise' ingredient was. I have made thumbprint cookies for so many years. This is one that the kids have always asked for, as one of the Xmas cookies for me to make.


Pinkyprint cookies! These sound delicious, and I probably couldn't be trusted to eat just one.


They are looking so beautiful Heidi..I am in love with your mini-cookie idea..I am thinking of using canola/olive oil instead of Ghee here (for cholesterol reasons). Should that work? -G


Thanks for another great, natural recipe Heidi. I'm sure these leave great room for some creativity. Thanks again!


Heidi, What a great recipe and always wonderful to use natural sweeteners besides conventional sugar. These cookies also have my other favorite ingredients: whole wheat pastry flour and coconut oil. Thanks for your inspiration and lovely photos as per usual! Nancy http://testkitchenette.wordpress.com


I always enjoyed these ones from the Post Punk Kitchen: 1 cup raw almonds ground 1 cup ground oat flour 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour pinch sea salt 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup coconut, canola, or olive oil 1/2 cup maple syrup Fruit juice sweetened jam Directions Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a cookie sheet. Combine ground almonds, oats, flour, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl combine oil and maple syrup. Add wet to dry and mix lightly. Roll into walnut-sized balls. Place on an oiled cookie sheet. Press an indentation in the center with thumb. Fill indentation with jam. Do not overfill. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes.


Is white wheat flour similar to whole wheat pastry flour?


Prathiba, if heating honey makes it toxic, what happens when I add honey to my hot tea in the morning - is that toxic, too? How DO you use honey, then?


I am going to try these! I love that they are all whole grain and natural! Thanks!


Heidi, You have a wonderful community going here! Thank you for sharing your passion & generosity. Just thought I would point out one thing though - quite a few of your recipes call for cooking with honey. Honey should never be heated or warmed. Reason : Honey, gathered from flowers has a powerful anti-oxidants & fragrances ( all of which are complex hydrocarbons & quite a few of alkaloids) Any form or applying heat to honey makes it toxic ( baking, grilling, on the pan, etc etc. - direct heat or indirect heat) The best way to use honey as part of food is take the cooking vessel off the stive, cool it a bit and add when warm. That is the also reason why Ayurveda specifies never to heat / cook with honey.


I've made Nikki's cookies and the tiny chocolate chip cookies you posted a few weeks back and have loved them both. I'm excited to try this recipe and love how tiny they are!


I have never tried my hand at baking and I am really very apprehensive of my skills. I recently purchased a microwave. Could you please guide me how to use the same for this recipe of honey sweetened thumbprint cookie. :)


I was given some really lovely wildflower honey by a friend yesterday and was wondering what to make with it. I found a recipe for a honey sponge cake (which once i make it i will share) and will definitely make these. Thank you!


I love tiny cookies! And I love honey -- so this recipe is perfect :)


I use silan (date-syrup) instead of honey in cookies and cakes. It should work here too.


Heidi, Thanks so much for the honey-sweet recipe. I like to use honey because it's local to me, among other reasons. These remind me of the cookies my mom used to make at Christmas ('cept healthier). I think I'll make these tomorrow (today?). What are we doing up at 4 a.m.?


Thank you so much for this recipe. I'm on a diet, and this will perk up my bland taste buds!


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