Gluten-free Peanut Butter Thumbprints

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Tis the season to be SKINNY, fa la la la la la la la la la! 🙂 Happy Monday and welcome to day one of my 12 Days of Skinny Snacks and Sips for Santa, kicking off with a delicious sin-less recipe for gluten-free peanut butter thumbprints.

Now, the reason behind this is simple; Santa is a little obese. He’s got some extra jiggle around that midsection. He’s always been a big boned man, but with all the high fat treats he eats around this time of the year, I’m actually quite shocked he hasn’t keeled over with a massive coronary. To help him slim up a bit, I’ve whipped up 12 guilt-free, low-fat and vegan treats and drinks that I’m going to feature every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday leading up to Christmas! Plus, I’m giving away something fabulous right smack dab in the middle, so stay tuned! Now, let’s talk cookies.

I love thumbprints. They aren’t innovative or unique or super special in anyway. But you know what? They are good. They are simple, nostalgic and super easy to make. When you are like me, the holidays are STRESSFUL so anytime I can make a cookie in less than 30 minutes, I’m a happy camper.

These aren’t ordinary thumbprints either. Each adorable little cookie tastes exactly like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You get smooth, peanut butter flavor in the cookie and the perfect finish of tart, sweet jam. I’m a big supporter of taking Pb&j out of the sammie and putting it into desserts, like these pb&j bars or these perfect thumbprints. The reasoning behind this is simple; I love the flavors. Plus, this means I can now eat cookies for lunch, judgement free.

Another amazing thing about this recipe is that it’s completely gluten-free! To give the cookies even more of a nutty flavor, I used 1/4 cup of almond flour and 1 cup gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill – ALL THE WAY). The cookies come out just a little grittier than normal but still super fluffy and full of flavor. I’m so addicted to almond flour because it has absolutely no wheat and it gives such an earthy flavor to whatever it’s in.

So, dear Santa, since I’ve made you these gluten-free goodies that are low-fat and full of protein, I’m expecting you to reward me with something a little extra special under my tree. I mean, I’m helping you stay in shape and live longer, so that means I deserve a  new Nikon d7000 with an AF 18-200 mm lens, right? I thought so. Thanks big–er—hearty man! (He gets offended when you call him fat).

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Thumbprints


Yields about 24 cookies. Recipe inspired by Martha Stewart.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes


  • 1 cup gluten-free AP flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar for dusting
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup jam (I used my homemade strawberry)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. In another bowl, beat peanut butter, applesauce, butter and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add egg and almond extract and mix until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture, beating after each addition until a dough forms.
  3. Roll dough into balls and then roll into white sugar. Place each ball onto the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes. Pull cookies out and make an indent using the back of a spoon or your thumb (cookies will be hot). After each cookie has a print, push back into the oven and bake another 6 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. While cookies are warm, place about 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the indent of each cookie. Let cool completely and enjoy!

Nutritional information per cookie: 

Calories: 80
Fat: 4.2 grams
Carbohydrates: 5.43 grams
Fiber: 2.5 grams
Protein: 5.1 grams
Weight Watchers Points:  2

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  1. Posted by Gina @ Running to the Kitchen on
    Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    Love these! I seriously adore thumbprint cookies. They're just the perfect ratio of jam to cookie :)
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Monday, December 3rd, 2012
      I KNOW!! Like a little sandwich but better.
  2. Posted by Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection on
    Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    I love this!! I need some skinny ideas to help balance out all of the chocolate and peppermint and cake and brownies and yummy food I've been eating lately. Can't wait to see what other recipes and tips you share. :)
  3. Posted by kim@hungryhealthygirl on
    Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    Peanut butter & jelly in a cookie sounds fabulous! I love using almond flour too. I made up a quiche for tonight and used almond flour for the good!
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Monday, December 3rd, 2012
      Thank you! and I know, almond flour is the best.
  4. Posted by Melanie on
    Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    Almond flour for the win! Those look absolutely amazing. Yay gluten free!
  5. Posted by Kathryn on
    Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    These are so pretty! I use almond flour a lot in cakes but not in cookies so often - I really need to change that!
  6. Posted by domesticfits on
    Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    Those totally look like my breakfast for the next week.
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Monday, December 3rd, 2012
      Does that mean you're coming over to get some? :)
  7. Posted by Rachel Cooks on
    Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    Your strawberry jam looks aaaaaaamazing.
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Monday, December 3rd, 2012
      Thank you!! :) Derp, I realize I didn't link to the recipe in the article. I'll fix that :)
  8. Posted by Julie @ Table for Two on
    Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    ohhh i love the series you're doing!! maybe it'll help me shed that stubborn 5 pounds i've been trying to shed - although, if i ate these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, idk how my plan will work ;) these look so good!! thumbprints are one of my favorite cookies!!
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Monday, December 3rd, 2012
      HA! I know. I've had one and it's so hard not to eat 100 more.
  9. Posted by velomango on
    Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    I can't wait to make you think it's ok to sub vanilla extract for the almond extract? or eschew the almond extract?
    • Posted by Claire on
      Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
      Yes! That's fine!
  10. Posted by Katie on
    Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    i LOVE peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. these look so good!!!
  11. Posted by Tutti Dolci on
    Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
    I love thumbprints, these are too cute!
  12. Posted by Rachel Conners on
    Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
    These are too cute! Love the PB&J flavors and that they're GF! Almond flour is a favorite of mine too.
  13. Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
    I love how you use almond flour in these! Delicious!
  14. Posted by ksenyei on
    Thursday, December 6th, 2012
    These are adorable! We are on the same confectionery wavelength, because I just made PB and jelly cookies for my blog :) So happy to have found your gluten-free version!
  15. Posted by velomango on
    Monday, December 10th, 2012
    I made these yesterday - they're wonderful! I omitted using any extract, and didn't roll the balls in sugar before baking and they still turned out deliciously. Thank you for the recipe!