Gluten-Free Nutty Thumbprint Cookies

In my family, the holidays have always been about festivities, family and really great food. It’s also a time for sharing and in that spirit, I wanted to share some of my favorite gluten-free cookbooks of all time with you from some of my food friends.

WHO: Alice Medrich,
BOOK: Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours
RECIPE: Gluten-Free Nutty Thumbprint Cookies
NOTE FROM ALICE ON THE COOKIES: These thumbprint cookies are a filled version of ultra-tender, not-too-sweet Russian tea cakes, which are remarkably similar to Mexican wedding cakes or those divine crescent-shaped Austrian cookies made with almonds or hazelnuts instead of walnuts or pecans. The combination of rice and oat flours makes these especially tender and flavorful. To make tea cakes or wedding cakes instead of thumbprints, skip the “poking” and filling steps and just dust the cookies with powdered sugar.

COVER. Flavor Flours. HIGH RES2

Gluten-Free Nutty Thumbprint Cookies

Yield: 36 - 40

Serving Size: 1½-inch cookies


1½ cups (150 grams) walnuts or pecans

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (55 grams) white rice flour or ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (55 grams) Thai white rice flour

1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (140 grams) oat flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar

¼ cup (60 grams) cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese substitute, cold, cut into chunks

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks/170 grams) unsalted butter or dairy-free buttery sticks, slightly softened and cut into chunks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ cup (20 grams) powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Combine the nuts, rice and oat flours, salt, baking soda, and granulated sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Add the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Process just until the dough forms a ball around the blade.
  3. Shape slightly rounded tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls. Place the cookies at least 1½ inches apart on the lined or greased pans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. As soon as the cookies are out of the oven, press the handle of a wooden spoon about halfway into the center of each one.
  4. Set the pans or just the liners on racks to finish cooling. Let the cookies cool completely before storing. Unfilled cookies may be kept in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks. Use the strainer to dust the cookies with powdered sugar, and fill with any chocolate frosting or Nutella; alternatively, shortly before serving, fill with jam, preserves, lemon curd, or purchased dulce de leche or cajeta.


Excerpted fromFlavor Flours by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Leigh Beisch.