A fun take on a traditional dessert, these paleo and vegan salted caramel thumbprint cookies are a delicious holiday treat made with clean ingredients!
I may or may not have made these salted caramel thumbprint cookies about 4 times now. Not only are they super easy with simple, easy ingredients, they are so incredibly tasty and addicting.
Traditional versions of these cookies are filled with some kind of fruit jam, but I’m not a huge fan of fruity desserts. But when they are filled with salted caramel like in these paleo thumbprint cookies? I’ll take 5, please.
Paleo & Vegan Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
After I made a dairy free caramel sauce for my pecan pie cheesecake, I knew it was something I had to use again on another dessert. I just couldn’t believe how delicious it was! That’s when this paleo and vegan thumbprint cookies recipe came to me. I just couldn’t get the idea of biting into soft, pillowy cookies with sweet caramel center out of my head.
Ingredients in These Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Not counting salt, these paleo thumbprint cookies only have 7 ingredients, and that’s including the caramel sauce! And if you are accustomed to grain free baking, you should have all of the ingredients in your pantry.
You need to make the caramel sauce before anything else because it needs time to cool and thicken.
- Coconut milk: You’ll want to use full-fat coconut milk to make a rich and thick caramel sauce.
- Coconut sugar: You can substitute with maple syrup if you don’t have coconut sugar on hand, but you’ll want to increase the amount to 1/2 cup.
- Coconut oil
- Sea salt flakes: These are thick sea salt flakes to the top the cookies at the end, and these are my favorite brand.
These are almond flour thumbprint cookies, so almond flour is a big part of what makes up the base of these cookies.
- Almond flour: Use blanched almond flour, not almond meal.
- Sea salt
- Ghee: I really love the buttery flavor of ghee, but if you are ultra sensitive to dairy or if you are vegan, you can substitute with the same amount of coconut oil.
- Maple syrup: Honey will also work!
- Vanilla extract
Tips To Yield the Best Results for This Paleo & Vegan Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
While this is a simple and easy paleo and vegan thumbprint cookies recipe, here are some ways to ensure that you have have the best and the most delicious result:
- The caramel sauce will need a bit of time to set and cool, so make sure you make it first. You can even do this a day ahead.
- The caramel sauce will thicken more as it cools, so take it off heat when it’s the texture of maple syrup.
- The dough for the cookies will be a bit too moist for handling when you first mix the ingredients together. This is why you’ll want to chill the dough covered for at least 30 minutes.
- Make the indent in the center deeper than you would expect. The center will rise a bit while baking.
- If the sides crack while making the indents, smooth it as best as you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect through.
- The caramel center will be slightly sticky at room temperature. If you want it to harden more, you can chill the almond flour thumbprint cookies in the refrigerator once they are done.
- I highly recommend you sprinkle these cookies with flaky sea salt like this. The crunchy saltiness is amazing!
I’ve brought these salted caramel thumbprint cookies to a holiday cookie exchange recently and they were a huge hit. They are wonderful for Christmastime, but you can enjoy them anytime of the year!
Other recipes you might love…
- AIP & Paleo Sugar Cookies
- Nut-Free Cassava Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free)
- Cranberry Pistachio Paleo Chocolate Cookies
- Paleo Chestnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Paleo & Vegan Pecan Pie Cheesecake (No Bake)
Paleo & Vegan Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Caramel Filling (makes enough for 2 batches)
- Make the caramel filling by heating a small saucepan over medium high heat, and add coconut milk and coconut sugar. Stir together.
- As soon as it comes to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer while whisking frequently for 30-35 minutes until reduced and thickened to a syrupy texture. It will thicken more as it cools.
- Remove from heat and stir in coconut oil and sea salt.
- Place uncovered in the fridge to chill while you make the cookies.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together almond flour and sea salt.
- Add in ghee and maple syrup and mix until a dough forms.
- Form the dough into a ball, cover with a plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough and form into 16 balls and place on the parchment paper 2 inches apart.
- Make an indentation in the center of each dough with the back of a wooden spoon, a little deeper that you would expect. The center will rise a bit while baking. Smooth out the sides the best you can if they crack.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack with a spatula to cool for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the caramel filling from the refrigerator and spoon into each cookie. You can save the leftover caramel filling to make another batch, or for other desserts or to drizzle over fruits.
- Sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. The filling will set more as it chills.
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