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The Speckled Palate
December 18, 2013

Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

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Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies are a delightful Christmas cookie loved by the whole family. Slightly sweet sugar cookie dough is baked in rounds before being filled with homemade dairy-free caramel. Finish the cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt, and enjoy warm!

Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies are a delightful Christmas cookie loved by the whole family. Slightly sweet sugar cookie dough is baked in rounds before being filled with homemade dairy-free caramel. Finish the cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt, and enjoy warm!

I’ve noticed recently that since I have a food blog, most people assume that I’m a “foodie,” like every imaginable kind of food and can make no mistakes in the kitchen. Because, clearly, I’m perfect in every other aspect of life. Ha.

I’m here to clear up any of those misconceptions today.

Let’s be real: I’m not a “foodie” (in the snooty sense of the word, that is). However, I do admit that I love trying all kinds of foods and tinkering with recipes in my own kitchen, even if I don’t think my palate is that sophisticated.

I don’t enjoy every kind of food, and actually, I’m weirdly specific about my likes and dislikes. Case in point: This past weekend, some friends of mine were horrified/disappointed/distraught when I admitted that goat cheese just doesn’t taste good to me.

Oh, and everything I make in my kitchen does not turn to gold.

This recipe, if any, just illustrates that final point, if not my stubbornness, as well.

Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies are a delightful Christmas cookie loved by the whole family. Slightly sweet sugar cookie dough is baked in rounds before being filled with homemade dairy-free caramel. Finish the cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt, and enjoy warm!

A few months ago, I stopped at an ice cream parlor and got myself a scoop of Salted Caramel Ice Cream as a Saturday night treat. (Yes, this girl who is lactose intolerant sometimes eats ice cream. My dairy pills, which I don’t use often since I try to avoid most dairy, come in handy for times like that.)

The ice cream was delightful, and I was dead-set on making some salted caramel cookies for this year’s Christmas Cookie Week because that would add a different flair.

The problem was that, even though caramel sounds simple to concoct, I always screw it up.

Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies are a delightful Christmas cookie loved by the whole family. Slightly sweet sugar cookie dough is baked in rounds before being filled with homemade dairy-free caramel. Finish the cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt, and enjoy warm!

In the past, my caramel has been undercooked, ending up as a soup-y butterscotch. My caramel has been overcooked, making it nearly impossible to eat unless you let it melt in your mouth, not chewing because you will break a few teeth.

Oh, and I’ve burned several.

This recipe was a struggle for me, but I persevered. After burning two caramels, I finally got it right. I’m glad I did because these cookies, which are dairy-free, are a wonderful sweet treat for this time of year and offer a nice sweet/savory balance without being out of control.

Here’s how you can make your own:

Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies are a delightful Christmas cookie loved by the whole family. Slightly sweet sugar cookie dough is baked in rounds before being filled with homemade dairy-free caramel. Finish the cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt, and enjoy warm!
5 from 1 vote
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Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies are a delightful Christmas cookie loved by the whole family. Slightly sweet sugar cookie dough is baked in rounds before being filled with homemade dairy-free caramel. Finish the cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt, and enjoy warm!
Course Dessert
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 3 dozen cookies
Author Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Dairy-Free Caramel

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

Instructions

Make the dough

  1. Combine the coconut oil, applesauce and granulated sugar. Cream together, then add in the egg and vanilla extract. Beat those into the batter before adding the coconut cream and white vinegar, which will be stirred in, as well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then slowly add to the wet ingredients, stirring until mixed. Once all ingredients are incorporated, chill the batter for 1 hour.

Make the caramel

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook until the sugar has deepened to an amber color. Pour in the coconut cream, salt and almond milk, whisking furiously as the mixture bubbles, then chill until ready to use.

Make the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Scoop 1" rounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, then press your thumb into the middle of the cookies, forming intentions for the caramel (which will be added later.)
  3. Bake the dough for 10 minutes, then pull out and using a kitchen instrument (I used the back of my cookie scooper), re-press the thumbprints.
  4. Drizzle in a 1/2 teaspoon of caramel into each thumbprint and sprinkle sea salt on top of each caramel, then pop back in the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Let cool on cooling racks and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Makes around 3 dozen cookies.

Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies are a delightful Christmas cookie loved by the whole family. Slightly sweet sugar cookie dough is baked in rounds before being filled with homemade dairy-free caramel. Finish the cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt, and enjoy warm!

Do you struggle with anything in particular in the kitchen?

The Speckled Palate Christmas Cookie Week 2013

Want to join in on this celebration of butter, sugar, flour and holiday ingredients? We’ll be baking and sharing until Friday evening! Head over to the intro post to Christmas Cookie Week 2013 to get the deets. I’ll see y’all back here tomorrow for yet another new Christmas cookie recipe!

8 Comments

  1. Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies

    At least caramel is an honorable food fail. Mine are grilled cheese and rice. Seriously, I’ve been making a grilled cheese every other Friday ALL YEAR and they’re just now practically edible. Not even a fancy one — we’re taking light wheat bread and Kraft singles. I’m so bad at rice that I don’t even try it any more. Not even minute rice.

  2. Rachel

    Not just your friends…also your husband. 🙂

  3. Eileen

    “Foodie” is such an odd concept. I mean, who doesn’t like food? Shouldn’t everyone by definition be a foodie? I vote yes. 🙂 These cookies sound amazing–such a great vehicle for all that caramel you can eat!

  4. Aleshea

    I feel like every post I just keep sayin’ nom nom nom but that’s all I got cause they look so good and make me hungry

  5. Emily

    I love the idea of a salted caramel thumbprint cookie! That’s brilliant. I bet they tasted delicious! 🙂

  6. Jayne @ Tenacious Tinkering

    Awwwww…. I am still deathly afraid of caramel so I can totally relate! I get somewhat the same response from people too when I mention I have a food blog. What’s more interesting is the gasps and surprised looks I get when I tell people I ACTUALLY cook on an almost daily basis. What’s happening?! Isn’t that normal?

    Anyway, back to these cookies. Caramel filled cookies? I’m all for it! I almost did a thumbprint cookie for cookie week except with a Malaysian flair to it but just didn’t have time. Gah! I might still share it soon when I have the time to mess around in the kitchen.

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