These Grain-Free Lemon Thumbprint Cookies are like a lemon bar in cookie form! Soft and chewy almond flour shortbread cookies studded with homemade lemon curd made from fresh Sunkist® lemons. Gluten free, paleo, and naturally sweetened.
If you love lemon bars, this recipe is for you! These Grain-Free Lemon Thumbprint Cookies taste just like lemon bars but in cookie form. Plus, they take a fraction of the time to make. It doesn’t get much better than that!
You start by making homemade lemon curd while the oven preheats. Don’t worry! I promise homemade lemon curd is much easier than you think. All you need is 4 simply ingredients— fresh squeezed juice from Sunkist® lemons, your choice of honey or maple syrup, lemon zest, eggs and a pinch of salt—and about 10 minutes of patience while it thickens up on the stove. The result is smooth luscious lemon curd that is irresistibly delicious. Perfect for dolloping into these almond flour thumbprint cookies, but also equally delicious on oatmeal, toast, yogurt or served over shortcakes.
Now about these cookies! They’re a soft and chewy almond flour cookie that tastes like a sweet and buttery shortbread. But they’re gluten-free, paleo-friendly and naturally sweetened with a touch of maple syrup! Honestly, they’re the perfect grain-free cookies. Once studded with the tart lemon curd, it makes for a lovely treat that tastes just like a lemon bar.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED
Here’s a list of everything you’ll need. Plus, a few ideas and tips on substitutions.
- Almond flour – this rich and buttery flour makes for the perfect grain-free cookies. It’s packed with healthy fats, protein and vitamins and minerals. I recommend a super fine almond flour, not almond meal.
- Arrowroot starch – I tested these cookies with and without arrowroot but I preferred the lighter texture and crispness that the arrowroot added. If you don’t have it on hand, don’t worry! Simply leave it out. Your cookies will still be absolutely delicious.
- Pure maple syrup – this natural sweetener adds the perfect amount of sweetness while also helping bind the cookies together. I’ve tried honey in this recipe but you will need to add a tablespoon of almond milk or more coconut oil for the dough to come together. You can use maple syrup or honey in the lemon curd filling.
- Coconut oil– refined coconut oil works best here as it has the coconut taste and smell removed. I recommend measuring out your coconut oil at a solid state and then melting it for the most accurate results.
- Vanilla – adds a sweet flavor to the cookie.
- Salt – my favorite is fine sea salt. This enhances the flavor and sweetness in both the cookie and lemon curd.
- Lemons –you can’t have lemon curd without lemons! I recommend using fresh Sunkist® lemons in this recipe as the flavor is far better than any lemon juice you can buy. If you don’t already have a citrus juicer, I highly recommend getting one. I use mine daily!
- Eggs – eggs and egg yolk make the lemon curd thick and luscious. Using extra yolks adds fat and richness without the need of adding additional butter or coconut oil to the lemon curd.
HOW TO MAKE ALMOND FLOUR THUMBPRINT COOKIES
Start with the Homemade Lemon Curd
Start by whisking together the eggs, egg yolk, maple syrup, lemon juice and lemon zest. Warm the egg mixture saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until it begins to thicken. It should have the texture of loose pudding.
Once thickened, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a glass jar. This set makes for silky smooth lemon curd and removes and overcooked egg whites.
Then Make the Almond Flour Cookies
Stir together almond flour, arrowroot powder (optional), baking soda and salt. Add the melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Continue to stir until batter forms. This may take a minute or two while the almond flour hydrates. You do not need to refrigerate the dough but if it seems sticky or hard to work with you can refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon to scoop about 1 ½ tablespoons of dough, roll it into balls. Slightly flatten the balls with your hand. Use a teaspoon or your thumb to create an indentation in the cookie. I like to make a wider hole for more lemon filling. Fill the indentation with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon curd.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Be careful not to overcook as the cookies will not change color much, but they will brown on the bottom. Let cool on the tray for 10 minutes.
HOW TO STORE ALmond Flour THUMBPRINT COOKIES
These cookies store best at room temperature or in the refrigerator loosely covered. I do not recommend storing the cookies in an airtight container. This locks in moisture and causes the cookies to soften up quite a bit. If you like soft cookies, you may enjoy them this way, especially warmed up a bit in the microwave.
CAN YOU FREEZE THUMBPRINT COOKIES?
Yes! These almond flour thumbprint cookies are freezer friendly even with the lemon curd for up to 3 months. To freeze, let the cookies cool completely then layer them in airtight freezer-safe containers with wax paper between the layers. This helps prevent the cookies from freezing together. You can grab a cookie and let it come to room temp or warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds.
How to use Leftover Lemon Curd
You’ll have a little extra lemon curd from this recipe. Lemon curd pair beautifully with a lot of the foods you’re probably already eating! Here’s a few of my favorite ways to use up the extra.
- Spread on toast. I love it paired with almond ricotta or almond butter.
- Swirl into yogurt or oatmeal
- Dollop on top of fresh berries for a light dessert
- Serve over vanilla or strawberry ice cream
- Spread on pancakes, waffles or use as a crape filling
Lemon Nutrition Facts
This small yellow citrus is known for its tart, refreshing taste. Lemons add a lovely flavor to foods and beverages but they also add a nutrition boost. They’re packed with numerous health benefits!
One medium Sunkist® lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C, containing 25% of the daily recommended value. It also provides fiber. I love incorporating lemons in most of my meals to add to my overall nutrient intake throughout the day. Lemons also contain numerous antioxidants that can have powerful health benefits.
The main antioxidant compounds include citric acid, hesperidin, diosmin, and d-limonene. While each of these compounds has its unique properties, there have been links to lowering your risk of heart disease, cancer, and kidney stones. (2) (3) (4)
I recommend having lemons on hand year-round! Their tart, tangy flavor and bright, floral aroma add a lovely addition to recipes. Plus, adding lemon juice or lemon zest is a great sodium-free way to add flavor to meals. Some of my favorite ways to use lemons are in baked goods, salad dressings, squeezed on an avocado toast, in homemade hummus, or flavoring soups!
MORE Lemon RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
If you make these grain-free lemon thumbprint cookies be sure to leave a comment and rate the recipe below. I’d love to hear from you, and it encourages others to make the recipe too.
Grain-Free Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
These Grain-Free Lemon Thumbprint Cookies are like a lemon bar in cookie form! Soft and chewy almond flour shortbread cookies studded with homemade lemon curd. Gluten free, paleo, and naturally sweetened.
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 15 min
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 13-18 cookies 1x
- ⅓ cup Sunkist® lemon juice (2–3 Sunkist® lemons)
- ¼ cup honey maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- Pinch of sea salt
- Zest from 1 lemon
Almond Flour Thumbprint Cookies
- 2 cups (224 grams) almond flour
- 2 tablespoons (18 grams) arrowroot (optional but recommended, see notes)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) maple syrup
- ⅓ cup (50 grams) coconut oil, melted
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Prepare the Lemon Curd
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolk. Add in the maple syrup, lemon juice and lemon zest, and whisk again until smooth.
Warm a saucepan over medium-low heat. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to thicken; about 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure to not let the egg mixture boil. Do not overcook, as the eggs will become lumpy. It should have the texture of loose pudding.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a glass jar. This set makes for silky smooth lemon curd and removes and overcooked egg whites. You can now use it in the cookies. Cool any leftover lemon curd, then store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Make the Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together almond flour, arrowroot powder (if using), baking soda and salt. Add the melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Continue to stir until batter forms. This makes it take a minute or two while the almond flour hydrates. You do not need to refrigerate the dough but if it seems sticky or hard to work with you can refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon to scoop about 1 ½ tablespoons of dough, roll it into balls. Slightly flatten the balls with your hand. Use a teaspoon or your thumb to create an indentation in the cookie. I like to make a wider hole for more lemon filling. If your dough cracks and it bothers you, dampen your fingers and smooth out the sides. Fill the indentation with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon curd.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Be careful not to overcook as the cookies will not change color much, but they will brown on the bottom. My oven took 12 minutes. Let cool on the tray for 10 minutes.
Store the cookies on the counter or in the fridge for a couple of days, loosely covered. They’ll soften slightly as they sit due to the moisture in the cookie. Do not store in an airtight container.
*The arrowroot is optional but recommended. It adds a lightness to the cookie. I’ve tested this recipe using just almond flour and it’s a little less crisp and more dense but still delicious.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
I’d love to hear how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #nourishedbynutriton and #SunkistSummers. You can also find this recipe on Sunkist.com/recipes/grain-free-lemon-thumbprint-cookies/
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