Honey-sweetened Thumbprint Cookies

Honey-sweetened Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

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.

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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  • Oh I love coconut oil in baking...it is so underused I think. Although I seem to use it mostly to season my cast iron cookware so I suppose I'm just as much at fault as everyone else. I have been very into tiny cookies lately. There is a wonderful Italian coffee bar around the corner from my office that sells only miniature sweets, and it is the perfect thing with my afternoon cappucino.

  • I have a recipe for these - the full sugar version - and only make them for special occasions. They are so yummy! What a great alternative.

  • thank you! this is exactly my kind of cookie. i bet some raspberry jam would make 'em even prettier. but i have to say, i rarely have patience for tiny cookie making :-)

    Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?
  • I really baking with oats. I recently made strawberry rhubarb tarts using oats, ground almonds and ww flour. I used agave for the fruit filling. I've been using agave a lot lately, but not always with success. It's trial and error. The "mini" cookie thing is such a wonderful idea for us out here who like just a touch of sweet something and still maintain good health and nutrition.

    Angela@Spinach Tiger
  • Thanks for this! In my quest to go gluten free with desserts, everything I find has white and/or brown sugar in it. If I'm not having wheat, I don't want sugar either. I made your Creamy Lemon Bars with a gluten free crust sweetened with Xylitol and then the custard part sweetened with Agave Nectar. I thought they were good. Better the next day. Even better with fresh blueberries on top.

    Mango Salsa
  • These look great! I love the idea of using coconut butter!

  • Hi! I live in a very small apartment and I don't have an oven to bake cookies. I wonder if you have any receipe for toaster oven? Or should I reduce time or temp? Thank you.

  • These cookies are adorable. I love the little dollop of jam in the middle.

  • These look great, but for a more heart-healthy option I am going to use macadamia nut oil instead of butter or coconut oil!

  • I love your recipes but would like to see some nutritional information along side the recipe. When watching your weight it comes in very handy!

  • Those itsy bitsy chocolate chip cookies rocked my entire universe. These look great, too, but I must admit I'm doubtful that anything could be as good as those tiny bites of wonderful...

  • Oh, Heidi! I adore thumbprints — anything with jam, really — and making them more healthfully is an even bigger treat. Thanks so much for posting these!

  • These look perfect for a ladies' Afternoon Tea! I love the fact that they're made with honey (we have plenty of honey from our bees) and whole wheat.

    Erica from Cooking for Seven
  • I was going to share the recipe from Sean as well....the almond thumbprints with maple syrup are have been a regular staple in our household for 20+ years. thanks Heidi your blog is the best!

  • It's a ways off before the bees are ready to share honey with me, so C&H will have to do. These look great and I think I may have to go old school and roll the dough balls in nuts before making my thumby impression. Thank you Heidi. TC

    tom | tall clover farm
  • I am always baking and don't have any sort of sugar in my kitchen. Honey, agave and maple syrup are the only sweeteners I ever use. I have a couple healthy baking recipes on my site- biscotti, muffins, breads... but my fave is my Ultimate Healthy Cookie- and on my site I have the reasons why each ingredient is so healthy: The Ultimate Healthy Cookie * 1 cup of flour (any kind works) * 1/2 cup ground nuts (any but peanut) * 3 tbs fresh ground flax seeds * 1/2 cup raw honey * 1 egg (optional- you can always just add a little extra water) * 2 TBS extra virgin, cold pressed coconut oil * 1/2 cup apple puree (about one apple with peel in the blender or use 1/2 cup organic 100% pure apple sauce) * 1 tsp baking soda * 1/4 tsp salt * 1 1/2 TBS cinnamon * 2 tsp dried ginger * 1 great big heaping spoonful of love Additional options- choose one or all of the following: 1/4 cup dried fruit of choice, 1/4 cup chips of choice (carob? chocolate?), 1/4 cup dried coconut, a dollop of favourite jam, fruit spread or fruit butter (I used Prune, Honey Lemon Butter- recipe coming soon). 1. Preheat oven to 350. 2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and mix the wet ingredients (honey, coconut oil, apple puree, egg) in a second bowl. 3. Now mix ‘em all together 4. Place on cookie sheet (they will about double in diameter in the oven so space them out). 5. Slip into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until they are golden and appear dry. They will bake up chewy and delicious.

    Meghan Telpner
  • These look gorgeous, but I'm reluctant to use coconut oil in cooking (it makes delightful soap) as I believe it is, unusually for a vegetable fat, high in saturated fat? I could well be wrong here, of course.

    Mrs Redboots
  • 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)
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