hazelnut thumbprint cookies with a chocolate almond butter filling | gf + vegan


I am finally in holiday and cookie baking mode. The temperature has dropped to about 20-somethingºF here, and all I want to do is hibernate and bake (and eat) indulgent things, and order christmas presents online. My decorations are slowing making their way out of storage, and I am well stocked with wrapping paper, tape, and little boxes to hand out all of the extra cookies I am going to be baking this year.  

It's no secret, I am a little in love with the chocolate - hazelnut - almond butter combo. I'll take it any which way I can get it. In the form of a smoothie, a cake, or even these guys that I made recently, but now that I am in the holiday baking mode, I think it is most appropriate that I use my favorite sweet ingredients for cookies. 

I love a GOOD cookie. I have a habit (and you might too) where once or twice a week, I sit down with a cookie and a cup of coffee at about 4:00 in the afternoon. It's my little treat to myself. When I indulge, I like all kinds of cookies, from crunchy chocolate chip, to super soft oatmeal raisin, but my favorite kind of cookie is one that is super tasty with a little bit of the guilt shaved off. Guilt in the form of loads of refined sugar and butter. I love to feel like I am being bad without actually being that bad. 

This cookie, is that cookie. 


These thumbprint cookies are full of crunch and flavor, all sort of things that are good and nothing that is bad. They are made without refined flours and sugars and butter, just a short list of wholesome ingredients like ground hazelnut flour, maple syrup, coconut oil, cacao, and of course, almond butter (yum). 

I like to think of these cookies as a really tasty vehicle for shoveling almond butter + chocolate into my mouth. 

hazelnut thumbprint cookies with a chocolate almond butter filling

If not you not as fond of hazelnuts as I am (they have a pretty strong flavor, especially in this recipe), then you can sub out for any kind of nut flour that you choose. If you cannot find hazelnut flour, you can always make your own at home by toasting and peeling hazelnuts and grinding them into a fine powder a food processor or a Vitamix. Almond flour would also work well into this recipe. The same goes for the almond butter, if you have another nut butter that you like, by all means try that out. This recipe is flexible and rather forgiving.  

*makes about a dozen cookies


1 cup of hazelnut flour (any nut flour will do, such as almond)
1 cup of brown rice flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
a scant 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla

for the chocolate almond butter:
1 date, pitted and diced
1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder
1/2 cup of almond butter


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350º. 
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the first four dry ingredients. Then add in the wet ingredients: melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir until everything is combined and sticky dough is formed. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and then start to shape the cookies. Take about a tablespoon amount of the dough and roll it between your hands to form a ball. Place the ball onto the baking sheet and press down in the center with your thumb to flatten out the cookie and make an indent in the center. 
  • Do this until all of the dough is formed, and then bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. You want the cookies to be lightly browned on top. Remove and allow them to cool for about 20 minutes. 
  • While your cookies and baking and cooling, make the filling. Place all of the ingredients for the chocolate almond butter into a blender and blend until smooth. Spoon it into a small bowl. 
  • After the cookies have cooled slightly, fill the centers with the chocolate filling. Take about a teaspoon amount of the chocolate mixture and spoon it into the center indent of the cookie. Do this until they are all filled. 
  • I prefer to refrigerate these for a couple of hours before serving, so that the chocolate filling has a chance to harden. Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge until you are ready to enjoy. They should keep for at least a week in the refrigerator.