Vegan, hazelnut-crusted thumbprint cookies with a chocolate and hazelnut center? Yes, please! These rich cookies are perfect for any occasion and make plenty to be shared.
I’m not joking when I say that y’all have a barrage of cookie recipes coming your way from yours truly. I was going to try and space them out but time is running out before Christmas and the end of the year so the flood gates are opening! And by flood gates I mean two or three recipes of cookies in one weekend. Lol.
Now, right after thanksgiving I had asked instagram and twitter what kind of cookie recipes they’d like to see. There were a few recurring themes, thumbprint cookies being one, plus a few requested flavor combinations. I took two of the asks and melded them into these chocolate hazelnut thumbprint cookies! Win-win.
No need to be intimidated by this recipe! The base is whipped up in the food processor and covering them in hazelnuts is actually pretty easy. I thought putting a whole hazelnut in the center of the chocolate would be a nice treat, a la Ferrero Rocher; then finished them off with a teeny bit of coarse salt. Salt on all desserts, but especially chocolate ones, please!
Substitutions + Tips:
- Flaxseed – this is for binding, like an egg, so if you’re out use some chia seeds instead.
- Vegan butter – I used Flora Plant butter for this, but any other brand will work. If you don’t have any butter on hand, refined coconut oil or vegetable shortening will work.
- Sugar – I wouldn’t go subbing this out for anything else. If you use a granulated sugar-free sweetener it may work here, but I can’t speak to if it’ll be successful or not.
- Almond extract – I use both this and vanilla extract to make it a liiiittle dynamic, but the almond extract is not absolutely necessary. I do think it complements the hazelnuts nicely!
- All-purpose flour – I do think that a 1:1 gluten-free flour mix would work well in this recipe, if you’re avoiding gluten.
- Hazelnuts – I understand that this nut is a bit pricey, but damn is it good. Another option is to make this using almonds or peanuts. They’ll still be great, just taste different.
- Semi-sweet chocolate – pretty easy to find dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips at this point, but regular vegan chocolate chips will also work. Also, keep in mind that not every chip melts the same, when heating yours.
- Chill time – do not neglect or skip this! The two brief chill times for the cookie dough both help the consistency of the dough and the shape of the cookie. Believe me, I hate waiting, but this gets you the best end-product!
I’m including these in a cookie box to deliver to friends along with some candy cane cookies (recipe coming soon!), peppermint s’mores fudge, chocolate-covered pretzels, and either some mini cranberry orange scones or some linzer cookies. Kinda jealous of my friends tbh.
Are you making these to share with friends and family? What else might you be making? Let me know in the comments!
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) hot water
- 1 tablespoon (5 g) ground flaxseed
- 7/8 cup (214 g) unsalted vegan butter
- 1 cup (233 g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) non-dairy milk
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups (395 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (if using salted butter lessen salt here)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2/3 cup (84 g) finely chopped hazelnuts (plus extra whole nuts)
- 1 cup (190 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (optional)
- In a small bowl, combine water and flaxseed, stir, and set aside to thicken. Place butter, sugar, non-dairy milk, and vanilla in a food processor equipped with s-blade, and puree until smooth and whipped. Add flax “egg” and process again until combined. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, pulsing until a large dough ball is formed. Place dough in a bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Place hazelnuts in a small bowl, then scoop 2 tbsp-sized (35 g) pieces of dough and roll them into puck shapes. Press the sides firmly into the hazelnut pieces (it’s okay if it loses its shape), then reshape, and press an indent in the top-center with your thumb or fingertip. Repeat with remaining dough and place on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Once done forming cookies, refrigerate them for 15 minutes, meanwhile preheating your oven to 400F (200C). Once chilled, bake cookies for 11 to 13 minutes (switching rack placements halfway). Remove from oven and place on cooling racks, then gently push a whole hazelnut into the center of each one. Let cool for 15 minutes.
- Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat them for two 30-second intervals. Stir until completely melted, then spoon 1-tsp of chocolate over the center of each cookie. Finish each with a light sprinkle of sea salt, and cool until chocolate solidifies. Enjoy!
- Flaxseed - if you're out use chia seed instead.
- Vegan butter - If you don't have any butter on hand, refined coconut oil or vegetable shortening will work.
- Almond extract - I use both this and vanilla extract to make it a liiiittle dynamic, but the almond extract is not absolutely necessary.
- All-purpose flour - I do think that a 1:1 gluten-free flour mix would work well in this recipe, if you're avoiding gluten.
- Hazelnuts - I understand that this nut is a bit pricey, but damn is it good. Another option is to make this using almonds or peanuts. They'll still be great, just tasty different.
- Semi-sweet chocolate - keep in mind that not every chip melts the same, when heating yours.
- Chill time - The two brief chill times for the cookie dough both help the consistency of the dough and the shape of the cookie. Believe me, I hate waiting, but this gets you the best end product!
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