Sunflower Thumbprint Cookies - a simple and delicious plant-based thumbprint cookie made with sunflower seeds, oats, chia seeds and your favorite jam. They’re vegan, gluten-free and super simple.
These cookies are soft, flavorful (but not too sweet) and make for the perfect little snack or bite-sized dessert. Plus they’re made with oats and sunflower seeds, are vegan, gluten-free and most importantly, delicious.
Oh and since these delectable little bites are vegan and we don’t have to worry about eating raw egg, go ahead and enjoy that cookie dough!
Sunflower seeds - sunflower seeds provide the base of our cookies. We’re going to blend it into a powder for our “flour” along with the oats.
Make sure to store sunflower seeds in the fridge or they’ll go rancid - they aren’t dangerous to eat, but they just won’t taste very good. Don’t use rancid sunflower seeds in this recipe - your cookies won’t taste very good either...
Oats - you can use oat flour or pulse rolled oats into a powder using a food processor.
Cornstarch - this acts as a thickener and binder so the cookies stay together. Using cornstarch instead of flour makes these cookies gluten-free.
Maple syrup - definitely use 100% real maple syrup. You can also use honey, but the cookies will no longer be vegan.
Chia egg - combine chia seeds with water, let it sit and you’ve got yourself a vegan egg substitute. The combination of chia seeds and water will make a gelatinous mixture that will bind our cookies together. If you’d prefer to use eggs, use one egg instead of the chia egg.
Baking powder - our leavening agent that helps keep these cookies light instead of dense.
Vanilla - Use real vanilla extract, if possible, instead of imitation vanilla.
Salt - for flavor. I like to use Himalayan salt, but just about any salt will work.
Coconut oil - our vegan source of fat. You could also use room temperature butter, but I prefer coconut oil for these cookies.
Jam - my favorite jam is raspberry with seeds and I will take raspberry jam over just about any other kind. But you do you, my friends. Use whatever type of jam you like best!
🍪 How to make vegan thumbprint cookies
2 - Make a chia egg. When you combine chia seeds and water, it thickens and becomes gelatinous. This is what we’re using as our egg substitute - chia or flax eggs work especially well in baking, not so much for scrambled eggs for obvious reasons.
Combine 1 tablespoon chia seeds and 3 tablespoons room temperature water in a medium bowl and let the mixture sit for about 5-7 minutes or until it thickens.
4 - Add cornstarch, baking powder and salt to the food processor and pulse a couple times to incorporate these ingredients.
5 - Combine wet and dry ingredients. Once the chia egg has thickened, add maple syrup, vanilla and the coconut oil to the medium bowl and stir to combine. Then add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and stir to combine. I like to use my hands to incorporate all the flour with the wet ingredients.
The batter should be thick and hold together well. If it’s too wet, add a bit more oats. If it’s too dry, add a teaspoon of water. Though try mixing with your hands before adding water as the mixture should be thick and may be somewhat difficult to mix completely with a spoon.
6 - Spoon the batter. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, form about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough into a ball. I like to use my hands to roll it into a ball, then place it on your prepared cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. These cookies don’t spread, so they can be placed pretty close to each other.
If the dough is too sticky to roll into balls, place it in the fridge for about 10 minutes to let it firm up a bit.
Using your thumb or the back of a teaspoon, make an indentation in the top/center of each cookie dough ball. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
7 - Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the cookies are firm. I like to slightly under-bake them so they’re a little softer. Then remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool.
Spoon about 1 teaspoon of jam into each thumbprint, filling the indentation to the brim. Enjoy!
💭 Tips, Tricks and Tools
Adjust the sweetness: As with most of our desserts, these cookies are not super sweet, so if you prefer your cookies sweeter, increase the amount of maple syrup.
Vegan baking needs binders: when omitting eggs, you must use a binder to keep the cookie ingredients together. This recipe uses a homemade “chia egg” (water thickened with chia seeds).
Cookie storage tips: if you think you’ll eat the cookies within a few days, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for about two days (or in the refrigerator for four days).
Go gluten-free: This recipe uses a combination of ground sunflower seeds and oats which are both naturally gluten-free. Oats can sometimes be contaminated though, so if you’re gluten-free, make sure to use certified gluten-free oats.
These "healthier" plant-based sunflower thumbprint cookies use chia seeds instead of an egg for a binder and sunflower seeds and oats instead of regular flour. They are vegan, gluten-free and are lower in sugar than other cookie recipes.
Though they are more nutrient-dense than many other cookie recipes, these cookies are still cookies and are intended to be an occasional treat - enjoy and savor them as a part of a balanced diet.
Check out more of our favorite baked goods like:
Did you enjoy these delectable vegan thumbprint cookies as much as we do?
Comment below! And rate the recipe to let us know how it turned out! Not making it today? Save this thumbprint cookie recipe for later by pinning it to your Desserts Recipes Board and make sure to tag us on Instagram @crooked.carrot to show us your sunflower seed cookie creations!
Sunflower Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons water room temperature
- 1 cup sunflower seeds unsalted
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil room temperature, not melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup your favorite jam or jelly
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or eco-friendly parchment paper.
- Make chia egg. In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon chia seeds and 3 tablespoons room temperature water to make a chia egg. Let sit for 5-7 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken (it will become your egg-free binder).
- Grind oats and sunflower seeds. While the chia-water mixture is thickening, add sunflower seeds and oats to a food processor or blender. Pulse until it forms a fairly fine flour. Don’t worry if there are still larger pieces though. Add cornstarch, baking powder and salt to the food processor and pulse a couple times to incorporate these ingredients.
- Combine ingredients. Once the chia egg has thickened, add maple syrup, vanilla and coconut oil to the bowl with the chia egg. Stir to combine. Then add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and stir to combine. Feel free to use your hands to combine everything together. The cookie batter should be thick and hold together well, it shouldn’t be runny. If needed add a bit more oats or water until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Spoon batter. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, form about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough into a ball and place on a lined cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. If you find the dough to be too sticky to roll into balls, place it in the fridge for about 10 minutes to let it firm up a bit. Using your thumb or the back of a teaspoon, make an indentation in the center of the cookie dough. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
- Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the cookies are firm. I like to slightly under-bake them so they’re a little softer. Then remove from the oven and let cool. Spoon jam into each thumbprint, filling the indent to the brim. Enjoy!