Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Allergy-Friendly Jam Thumbprint Cookies (Vegan)

Can I just take a deep breath and...whoooooooooo!  It's finally done.  We just finished renovating and it feels w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l.

Late last year, Hubby and I decided that we were ready to update our kitchen.  It was something I always wished for since we moved into our house, but we had to put it off until we had the money and the time to do it.  So after spending lots of time researching for materials and figuring out the cost and timeline, we decided to go for it.

Going through the whole renovation process was a bit crazier than I expected.  It was definitely stressful and there might have been some crying involved at some point.  But after a few delays here and there, it's finally finished. Whew! And now that I've reorganized everything and taken some time to appreciate every little nook and cranny of my new kitchen,  I'm ready to get creative and try out some new recipes.

These cookies were inspired by my 5 year old.  We were at the grocery store one day and he spotted some thumbprint cookies on the shelf.  When he asked me if they were safe for him to eat, I looked at the back of the package to check for the ingredients.  Unfortunately, they contained eggs and dairy so we had to put them back.  But I promised him when we got home I'd try to figure out how to make an allergy-friendly version just...for...him.

So I went ahead and got started on this recipe and guess who volunteered to help me?  My adorable little kindergartener.  He carried his step stool into the kitchen and place it right next to me.  It was the cutest thing!  And he did a pretty awesome job helping me measure out the ingredients and pouring them into the bowl.  He even took a turn holding the hand mixer (which he absolutely loved).  We actually spent a couple of weekends in the kitchen testing and fine-tuning this recipe.  And when I got two thumbs up from my pint-sized baking assistant, I knew we got it right. 

These jam thumbprint cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  The addition of rolled oats give these cookies a bit of a nutty flavor and texture.  And of course, the gooey jam-filled center is, according to my tiny chef, "the best part of all."  He even has a special way of eating these cookies. "You have to eat the edges first.  That way, you get to eat the jam last."  Smart kid.  He definitely takes after me :-) 

Allergy-Friendly Jam Thumbprint Cookies (Vegan)
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Allergy Note: contains wheat ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable shortening 
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup jam (I used raspberry, apricot and grape)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. 

In a mixing bowl, cream together vegetable shortening, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Mix in applesauce, vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest. Slowly add in flour, rolled oats and salt. 

Take a spoonful of dough and roll it into a 1-inch ball.  Place each ball of dough on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about two inches apart. Using your thumb, press into the center of each ball, making a 1/2 inch indentation.  Fill center with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.  Transfer onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

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