Thursday, December 14, 2017

Berry Chia Jam Thumbprint Cookies

This is one feels like tradition to make around Christmas time. It must be because I grew up around an old family version with lots of butter and even cream cheese, but this one is allergy safe with no eggs, dairy or gluten, even can be without nuts or seeds too! I love how it is still soft and crispy and buttery and melts in your mouth. This version also uses my most favorite homemade jam- made with bluberries and chia seeds. It is just the perfect bite-sized piece of wonderfulness! The added sprinkling of powdered sugar matches the powdery stuff falling from the sky today. Warm, cozy and magical is the mood- these are a must to add to the holiday cookie platter- I promise!

Berry Chia Jam Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut and seed-free options}

1 1/4 cup of finely ground gluten-free oat flour
3/4 cup of finely ground buckwheat flour
1 cup of white rice flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
2 TB of potato starch
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/2 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of baking soda
1 TB of apple cider vinegar
2 TB of maple syrup
1/2 cup of date paste puree

1 cup of oil: do a mix of either 1/2 cup coconut oil and palm oil shortening OR you could sub in 1/2 cup of your favorite nut or seed butter for the palm oil shortening. It adds a beloved flavor combo of PB and J kinda-touch.

I first blend up my own flours for the GF oats and buckwheat. Then in a large mixing bowl, add in all the dry ingredients first. Mix together well and then add in the wet and room temperature oils. Use a spatula to mix well, or your hands usually do the best trick at mixing equally. You want it to be soft but also all together so you can roll it into balls. It should leave a little oil to the touch on the hands. That is what makes it melt-in-your-mouth- buttery kind of texture too!

Once smoothly mixed, roll into a large ball and put in the fridge for 20 minutes to stiffen up Then pull out and roll large 1 TB-sized balls between your hands to make about 2 dozen cookie balls. Put onto a parchment covered baking sheet and then press your thumb firmly and evenly into each cookie ball. This will leave you a space to pour your jam into. Once 1 large spoonful of jam is entered into the thumb print space on the cookie- bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Until golden and bottoms are browned- do not touch or move for another 15-20 minutes to help them from crumbling!
I used my favorite homemade berry jam as follows. If you want to make the full batch and have some more for bread and toast then YES make the full batch, but if you are looking to just make some for these cookies, half or cut the recipe by 2/3's so that you make 1/3 amount to top the cookies :) Here is the recipe for your enjoyment ;)

Immunity Boosting Berry Chia Jam Recipe

2 cups of frozen blueberries
2 cups of frozen cranberries or raspberries
2 cups of frozen strawberries
1 cup of very concentrated elderberry tea*
1/2 cup of juice (I used Antioxidant Force by Smart Juice) but you could use pomegranate or other no sugar fruit juice like cherry, berry mix, or grape. Or at the least you could use water as well.
2 TB of grated fresh ginger
1 organic orange grated for zest and squeezed for juice (could easily sub a lemon)
1/3 cup of pure raw honey
drizzle of maple syrup (or add 1/4 cup more of honey)
pinch of sea salt
pinch to 1 ts. of pumpkin pie spice blend
1/2 cup of whole chia seeds

*Soak 1/2 cup of dried elderberries in 1 quart jar of boiling water and let sit for overnight or longer and then drain the berries out and you have elderberry tea. You could also sub in some already made elderberry syrup if you used up your berries already making that and have it on hand- but you would only use 1/2 cup of the elderberry syrup and add 1/2 cup water. And since the honey is in the syrup as well you may decide to not add as much honey in the rest of the recipe. 

In a medium saucepan, pour in the 6 cups of frozen berries with the tea and the juice and let cook to defrost and get soft. Then add in the ginger and orange juice and zest and bring to a soft boil and bubble and cook from any where to 10-15 minutes until the berries are very hot, juicy and mushy. Then use an immersion blender to blend in half of the mixture to be more smooth and have less chunky fruit. After this it looks like a fruit soup. Then add in the honey and syrup and stir well while it softly bubbles and boils. Turn off the heat and then add in the chia seeds. Stir in well so not to be clumpy and then let it sit in the pan and cool and let the chia seeds soak up the moisture and turn into a thick jammy substance. When it cools for 10-15 minutes you can pour into jars to continue to cool and thicken in the fridge. This recipe makes 3 pint jars. You can half it if you are looking to make less or you can also freeze and then thaw out when needed.

Happy Christmas cookie baking (and jam making ;) I hope you are finding some space to enjoy the baking and make new memories and traditions with gluten-free versions of your favorites. 

Much love and light as always, xoxo

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