Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Buckwheat Pecan Thumbprint Cookies (vegan + gluten-free)

Try making these healthy, vegan, gluten-free cookies on a rainy afternoon with your children. They will surely brighten your day! Recipes made with freshly ground buckwheat flour (from raw groats) do not require the addition of xanthan gum in order to hold together without crumbling. Buckwheat is a grain that is quite often cross contaminated with gluten grains so be sure to purchase your groats from a certified gluten-free mill, such as Bob's Red Mill.

I use the dry container of my Vitamix to make homemade buckwheat flour. It quickly grinds up into a soft, non-gritty flour. You can use a coffee grinder too if you don't own a high-powered blender. Store the flour in a glass jar in your pantry for up to 3 months, or freeze it for longer storage.

Buckwheat Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

Our children love these cookies packed in their lunchbox or for an after school snack with a cup of warm herb tea. In these photos we used a homemade blueberry-honey jam, but you could use any sugar-free, fruit-sweetened jam. If you prefer to use something other than pecans then feel free to experiment. Walnuts, hazelnuts, or sunflower seeds would all work. I use the dry container of my Vitamix to grind nuts to a very fine meal, but a food processor or coffee grinder works as well.

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups freshly ground buckwheat flour
1 cup raw pecans, finely ground
2 tablespoons ground golden flaxseeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients: 
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla

Other Ingredients:
sugar-free jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet with coconut oil.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet and stir together with a spoon.

Form dough into balls and place onto the cookie sheet. Make an indent in each cookie with your thumb (you can have your child do this). Then drop a small spoonful of jam into each thumbprint. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Timing will depend on the size of your cookies.

Yield: 12 to 15 cookies

More Cookie Recipes:
Banana Coconut Cookies
Sunflower Seed Cookies
Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. These look delish!!!! And I love the picture of your son filling the thumbprints - so adorable. I, too, make my own buckwheat flour using buckwheat groats and my Vitamix dry jar blender. It's actually very liberating to learn that you can grind your own grains!

  2. Thanks for another great recipe! It is gray, rainy and in the 40's here today - so I see these cookies and hot tea as our afternoon snack!

  3. These look delicious~
    love thumbprint cookies.
    I'll be trying these!
    Happy Day!

  4. These look so yummy! And I love the hint of blue and purple in the jam. Delish! Thanks again as always!

  5. These look wonderful! I'll be making a few substitutes but ...yum!

  6. This looks great, Ali! I don't do well with buckwheat, do you think that brown rice or sorghum flour would work? Love your jam recipe! I still have strawberry jam leftover from last year so that's what I'll use. ~Bea

  7. I make a very similar recipe except with raw almonds and oats - they look identical. Looking forward to trying it with your ingredients :)

  8. for the flax, is it 2 Tbsp of ground flax, or 2 Tbsp whole flax that's then ground?

  9. These look delicious. I find it difficult to find buckwheat. Do you by it online?

  10. I've made these twice, and while tasty, I've had to add a little water bc it won't mix all the flour in. Is there something missing??

    Yummy though!

  11. I made these cookies a couple of days ago...I had my doubts, but they were moist and delicicous.
    The kids LOVED them, and I loved the fact that they were healthy!
    I didnt mind giving them to the kids as a weeknight treat!
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe and for sharing!

  12. I didn't need to add water. Eve, maybe your applesauce is drier?

    I'll definitely make these again, but I'll follow my instinct to make much smaller cookies. The buckwheat/pecan combination makes for heavy cookies, and I want to eat them by the handful, not just one at a time!

  13. These look delicious! I'll have to try them. :) I've not found a lot of good uses for buckwheat yet.

  14. Yummy; these look amazing. Thumbprints are always favorites at events!

  15. These are amazing. I have made 3 batches in less than a week--everyone loves them. They've made me hugely popular amongst my friends!

  16. These look absolutely sinful! Just what I need! ;)

  17. I made these cookies and they were gobbled up immediately! Just wanted to say thanks for the recipe. :)

  18. Another great recipe. I'll try at home. I know this will be again one of my kids favorite dishes.

  19. I am so pleased to have discovered your wonderful blog!

    We are a family with many food allergies (and currently on a grain-free "diet"), so resources like yours are a life saver!

    Looking forward to making these cookies with my little people this rainy afternoon. :)

  20. Hi
    Can I substitute buckwheat farinneta for buckwheat in this recipe ?


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)