Pecan Thumbprint Cookies


Preparation info

  • Makes about

    2½ dozen

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Gluten Free Baking

Gluten Free Baking

By Kristine Kidd

Published 2015

  • About

My grandmother taught me to make thumbprint cookies when I was just six years old. This recipe is based on my memory of those treats, modified for my gluten-free lifestyle. But I still fill half the cookies with jam and half with cinnamon sugar, just as my grandmother did.


For the Dough

  • cups (6 oz/185 g) pecan pieces
  • ½ cup (4 oz/125 g) sugar
  • ½ cup (4 oz/125 g) brown rice flour
  • ½ cup (2 oz/60 g) cornstarch
  • teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (4 oz/125 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk


    1. In a food processor, pulse 1 cup (4 oz/125 g) of the pecans and the sugar until the pecans are finely ground. Add the rice flour, cornstarch, lemon zest, and salt and pulse to mix well. Add the butter and vanilla and pulse until the mixture resembles a fine meal. Add the remaining ½ cup (2 oz/60 g) pecans and pulse once to mix in. Add the egg yolk and pulse until the dough starts to form a ball. Transfer the dough to a bowl and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
    2. Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
    3. With dampened hands, shape the dough into 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about inches (4 cm) apart. With your fingertip, make a well about ¼ inch (6 mm) deep in the center of each ball. Fill the well with cinnamon sugar or jam, or fill half the cookies with cinnamon sugar and half the cookies with jam. Refrigerate the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.
    4. Bake the cookies until they start to color and the bottom edges are light brown, about 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 2 minutes, then gently transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.