Gluten-free almond thumbprint cookies with blueberry chia jam (plus a JK Gourmet giveaway)

Gluten-Free Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Blueberry Chia Jam | A Dash of Compassion

If you’re a regular here at ADC, you probably already know that I love baking. In fact, this blog started out as a way to share my dessert recipes after I returned from an epic week with Fran Costigan at the Natural Gourmet Institute in 2010, full of knowledge and inspiration.

Baking has been my jam ever since my stepmom taught me how when I was all of seven years old. Heck, my love for baking experiments even started back then—have you ever tried baking chocolate chip cookies in a muffin tin? I thought it was a brilliant idea at the time, but I was devastated when they came out of the oven looking like rock-hard hockey pucks (I ate them anyway). My first baking lesson: Don’t ever mess with the tried-and-true recipe on the back of the Hershey’s chocolate chips package.

Gluten-Free Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Blueberry Chia Jam | A Dash of Compassion
When JK Gourmet, a local company that sells grain-free and gluten-free baking ingredients, mixes and snacks, contacted me about reviewing some of their products, the decision was a no-brainer. I had spotted their almond flour in health food stores before, and so I was excited about testing it out in my kitchen. They sent me a box of their almond flourcookie mix and pancake/waffle mix. (Scroll down for a giveaway!)

 

Gluten-Free Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Blueberry Chia Jam | A Dash of CompassionJK Gourmet was created by a woman named Jodi who was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a life-destroying intestinal disease, back in 2000. She was looking for a drug-free way to treat her condition and soon realized that changing her diet was key to controlling it. Her health journey is what inspired her to create a company with a mandate devoted to making all-natural, preservative-free products.

While not all of her products are vegan (she uses honey in her granola, chocolate and other baked goods), I’m so glad I was introduced to her almond flour. Since it’s made up of blanched almonds that are very finely ground, the flour is fluffy and light and far superior to other brands I’ve tried before—plus, it saves me from cleaning out my food processor when grinding my own nuts (hehe).

Both the cookie mix and pancake mix are made with just a few simple ingredients: almond flour, coconut sugar, baking soda and salt. The instructions for the pancake mix call for whipped eggs and water, but I gave it a go anyway using flax eggs. Unfortunately they turned out quite dense and stuck to the pan like nobody’s business. I’m thinking egg replacement powder or even that magical aquafaba would have provided better results.

 

Gluten-Free Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Blueberry Chia Jam | A Dash of Compassion

I’m madly in love with the almond flour though, and was particularly happy that it came in a resealable plastic bag so it would stay fresh longer. These almond thumbprint cookies with blueberry chia jam are a result of this mild obsession, and if you try this particular brand you’ll realize what a difference it makes to use super-fine flour in cookies and cupcakes—you’ll get a lovely texture without any of the grit, and they’ll be delicious and authentic like they’re supposed to be. I even ran out and bought more to use in my vegan bake-off entry in March.

The JK Gourmet brand of almond flour is a little more pricey than others, but I think it’s worth the difference. Of course, the drought last year in California also resulted in significant price increases for almonds and almond-based products [insert sad face here], but sometimes that crunchy, versatile nut just can’t be beat.

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Gluten-free almond thumbprint cookies with blueberry chia jam

Yield: Makes 20 to 22 cookies

Ingredients:

For the blueberry chia jam:

  • 1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

For the cookies:

  • 1/2 cup natural smooth almond butter
  • 6 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions:

For the blueberry chia jam:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the blueberries and coconut sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries soften and the sugar is melted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chia seeds and stir well. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

For the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and almond extract until smooth.
  3. Add the almond flour, flax meal and salt and mix with a spoon until a dough forms. Depending on the consistency of your almond butter, you may need to add a touch of water until it comes together.
  4. Using a one-tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop out dough and form into balls with your hand. Place on prepared cookie sheet and use your thumb or finger to make an indent in the centre of each ball. Fill each well with jam (I used about 1/2 teaspoon each).
  5. Bake at 325F for 18 to 20 minutes or until cookies are dry to the touch and the bottoms are golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

Product giveaway:

I’m thrilled that JK Gourmet is allowing me to give away the same product pack I received (a $50 value!). If you’re a baker like me or just want to give these grain-free, gluten-free and vegan mixes a try, enter using the widget below. The giveaway will run until 12 a.m. EST on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 and is open to Canadian residents only (sorry, my international friends!).

 

JK Gourmet GIVEAWAY! | A Dash of Compassion

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