Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Blueberry Spice Thumbprint Cookies
Forget the fattening, inflammatory butter, eggs, white flour, and sugar. This tasty plant-based makeover of traditional thumbprint cookies is gluten-free, fruit-sweetened, tender, nutritious, and yummy!
Kids love them, and thumbprints are a great way to engage with your kids in an enjoyable baking activity.
The dough quickly mixes up in a food processor. Unlike butter pastry, it is unfussy and so easy to work with. Made with naturally sweet chestnut flour and buckwheat flour, lightly scented with warm spices, butterscotch notes of dates and vanilla, the dough is tenderized by sweet potato. Filled then with spoonful of homemade wild blueberry preserves (or other fruit) and baked until golden, these cookies make a tasty snack, dessert, teatime, or post-workout pick-me-up. Instead of boring circles, shape them with your favorite cookie cutters for a fun, seasonal theme.
Plant-based, whole grain, gluten-oil-sugar-salt-free
Prep time 20 minutes (+ 25 minutes if you prefer to bake the sweet potato)
Bake time 30-35 minutes
Makes 20-30, depending on size
High speed blender (or use food processor) to blend date paste
Spice or coffee grinder to spices
1 cup chestnut flour, plus a bit for dusting the board
1 cup buckwheat flour
3 Tablespoons arrowroot
3 Tablespoons golden flaxseed, freshly ground
1-1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger powder or ¼ teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon, freshly ground
Pinch clove, freshly ground
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup date paste from 1/3 cup pitted dates, any variety
1 cup hot sweet potato pulp, microwaved or baked until soft and steamy
1 1/3 cups frozen wild blueberries
Hint 1! You can purchase chestnut flour online and in Italian specialty shops. Italian chestnuts are harvested and milled in early autumn and hit the market soon thereafter. Buy your chestnut flour in October-December from this year’s harvest and keep it fresh and sweet by storing it in a zip-lock bag in the freezer.
Hint 2! Kick the flavor and nutritional potency of your spices way up by grinding just the amount you need, right before use. Spices keep far longer as intact whole seeds, bark, nuts, dried fungi, and chilis. Store whole spices in a cool, dark cupboard.
Hint 3! Any fresh fruits that contain even moderate amounts of pectin are good candidates for these cookies, like apples, plums, oranges, berries, grapes, because their cooked fruit will congeal naturally on cooling. Have fun trying different fruit fillings or combining them in these cookies.
Make Date Paste
In a nonmetallic bowl cover dates with water and microwave for 2 minutes or simmer on a stovetop for 5 minutes. Cool. Blend both the fruit and soaking water in a high-speed blender until very smooth.
Prep the Blueberries
Simmer blueberries (or whatever fruit you are using) in a small saucepan until fruit breaks down, becomes jammy, and thickens to a soft paste. If need be, you can speed things up by mashing the fruit with a potato masher or fork.
Prep Sweet Potato
Bake whole sweet potato in a preheated 400°F/205°C oven for 45 minutes or until quite soft. Slice open, scrape out and measure pulp for the dough. Add immediately to the food processor, while still hot and steaming.
Make the Dough
Combine all dry dough ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the vanilla, date paste, and HOT sweet potato pulp, still steaming from the oven or microwave. Run for 1-2 minutes or until the dough gathers into a soft, pliant, moist ball. If it fails to gather because the mix is too dry, add a bit more sweet potato pulp and try again. If the mix is too wet, add a bit more chestnut or buckwheat flour.
Make and Bake the Cookies
Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C
Very lightly flour a large board and roll out the dough to 1/4-inch in thickness. Use your cookie cutter(s) to shape the cookies. Transfer the cookies to 1-2 cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper, spacing them 1/2 inch apart.
With your thumb indent each cookie. Alternatively, use a one-inch object (I used a glass bottle stopper) to make a depression. The indentation just needs to be 1/16-1/8-inch deep.
Use small spoons mound the cooked blueberry preserves into each cavity.
Bake on the middle rack(s) for 25 minutes and begin to check for doneness. Remove the cookies when they are golden, and just beginning to darken on their edges.
Cook slightly on a rack and dig in!
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