Jam Thumbprints – Baking with kids

Jam Thumbprints - Baking with kids

This is a recipe for very humble thumbprint cookies. I adapted a few recipes to create this one, because they must be dairy free, nut free and egg free. My daughter loves these, but that’s not all – she loves making them as much as eating them. Well, if I’m totally honest, she’s not really making them because she is only one year old. But she gets her little hands dirty and she loves it very much. I think it is important for children to learn that home cooking is something their parents do, and that it is fun. The younger they are when they learn, the lower the chances they will grow up into “I-can’t-cook-so-I-eat-frozen-junk” kind of people. These jam thumbprints are a great gateway recipe for small children.

Coconut oil is my fat of choice for most recipes. At least where olive oil has too much flavor, and gentle cookies like these jam thumbprints deserve coconut oil.
Coconut oil is my fat of choice for most recipes. At least where olive oil has too much flavor, and gentle cookies like these jam thumbprints definitely deserve it.

Baking with kids

Whoa, I said “gateway recipe”… like it is a drug or something. But our little one loves it so much I’m sure she’ll love cooking when she gets older. Or maybe she only likes it because making these jam thumbprints looks more like child play than actual baking… It is a messy job (but only if you want it to be), and can be made with bare hands.  She loves to use the spatula, though. The fact that it is a lot less effective than bare hands doesn’t seem to concern her. But that’s fine, she is still small, and the most important thing is, that she’s having fun.

Jam Thumbprints - Baking with kids
Little helpers in the action.

Baking with kids is very rewarding. We do it on the floor, and as soon as we say something like “we’re making cookies” and get the big ceramic bowl out of the drawer, the little one sits down in the middle of the kitchen with her pink spatula and waits patiently for work to begin. Baking with kids is also great to teach them about basic ingredients. They remember stuff instantly if they partake in the action.

A nice little snack

These jam thumbprints are very nice because they don’t contain anything really bad like cookies usually do. Honey for sweetness, coconut oil for fat, and a bit of wholegrain spelt flour to help with digestion.

Honey is delicious. I rediscover it with every spoon I lick.
Honey is delicious. I rediscover it with every spoon I lick.

They do contain cocoa, though. And some people might be against feeding cocoa to children because it contains caffeine. But then again, there isn’t a lot of it inside, so I don’t make a thing out of it. My child never had problems sleeping after these thumbprint cookies, nor did she ever show any symptoms of addiction. Thank God.

Making cookies without eggs

Baking without eggs is not a biggie. Eggs seem to be an ingredient that people always incorporate into their baking, but I find, that there’s mostly no need to. It is true, eggs do offer a bit of structure and adhesion of ingredients, but aren’t crucial at all. These cookies are a little crumblier than the “egged” varieties, but they are great anyway.

Ingredients

  • 150 g plain white flour
  • 50 g whole grain spelt flour
  • a hefty pinch of salt
  • 3 table spoons cocoa powder
  • 2 table spoons dark sugar
  • 120 ml coconut oil
  • 100 ml honey
  • apricot or other jam

Instructions

Preheat oven to 170°C.

In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients – white and spelt flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Combine them very well, because once you add the wet ingredients, the homogeneity will prove a lot more difficult to achieve. So just trust me and spend a minute mixing your dry ingredients.

Combined dry ingredients.
Combined dry ingredients.

Once you have a uniform mixture, you can start adding the wet ingredients. It is a good idea to keep coconut oil in a warmer place before making these cookies, or you will have to work really hard.

Add wet ingredients: only coconut oil and honey, leave the jam for now. If you took my advice and kept oil in a warm place, or if you warmed it up in a hot bath, you will have it easier – you can work with a spatula to mix all the ingredients together. If you didn’t, and your oil is still in solid form, work with your hands until you get a uniform dough. Your body heat will help melt the oil.

Put some jam into jam thumbprints

Form balls around 3 cm (1 1/2in) in diameter. Compress them a little to form thick discs and then, with your thumb (hence, the name – thumbprints), form a hole in the centre.

Making the thumbprint is where small children can actually help. My daughter loves it!
Making the thumbprint is where small children can actually help. My daughter loves it!
I make them much more uniform than my husband. Just thought you should know. :)
I make them a lot more uniform than my husband. Just thought you should know. 🙂

Lay the cookies a few centimetres apart on a parchment paper lined baking tray and fill the holes with jam. I usually use apricot jam, but you can use any for these jam thumbprints. Some people add the jam halfway through baking or even in the end, but I think that is just too much fuss for such a humble dessert. They won’t look as nice if you add the jam before baking, like I do, because the water will evaporate, leaving behind a condensed gel, but on the other hand, with the jam hardened, the cookies will be less messy to transport and eat.

Place the tray into the oven for 20 minutes and you are done!

Jam Thumbprints – Baking with kids

Jam Thumbprints – Baking with kids

Ingredients

  • 150 g plain white flour
  • 50 g whole grain spelt flour
  • a hefty pinch of salt
  • 3 table spoons cocoa powder
  • 2 table spoons dark sugar
  • 120 ml coconut oil
  • 100 ml honey
  • apricot or other jam

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients - white and spelt flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt.
  3. Add coconut oil and honey and mix or knead until it looks like a dough.
  4. Form balls around 3 cm (1 1/2in) in diameter. Compress them a little to form thick discs and then, with your thumb form a hole in the centre.
  5. Lay the cookies a few centimetres apart on a parchment paper lined baking tray and fill the holes with jam.
  6. Place the tray into the oven for 20 minutes and you are done!

Notes

Combine dry ingredient very well, because once you add the wet ingredients, the homogeneity will prove a lot more difficult to achieve.

It is a good idea to keep coconut oil in a warmer place before making these cookies, or you will have to work really hard.

I usually use apricot jam, but you can use any for these jam thumbprints. Some people add the jam halfway through baking or even in the end, but I think that is just too much fuss for such a humble dessert. They won't look as nice if you add the jam before baking, like I do, because the water will evaporate, leaving behind a condensed gel, but on the other hand, with the jam hardened, the cookies will be less messy to transport and eat.

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