You’re probably already familiar with peanut butter and jam thumbprint cookies (especially if you have kids!). And I’m sure there are some low-carb versions of them out there. But this recipe takes the classic treat a step further by using a nut butter—like almond butter—to make delicious cookies that won’t spike your blood sugar. As usual, these are sugar-free, and using nut butter ensures that the carb count is drastically lower than it would be if you were using peanut butter.
Read on to find out more!
Tips for making the Flourless Sugar-Free Nut Butter and Jam Thumbprint Cookies
This is an extremely easy one-bowl recipe so basically nothing can go wrong. I think the most important thing is to keep your eye on the cookies while they’re in the oven so you don’t overbake them. In my oven, 15 minutes turns out a perfect result. However, it’s old and a bit broken as it doesn’t seal properly, so do adjust the baking time according to your oven.
As for the jam, feel free to choose any sugar-free jam you like. Homemade is best: you know exactly what’s in there. There are lots of sugar-free jams on the market, but unfortunately many of them are not sugar-free in reality. Some are sweetened with fruit juices, which means that the carb count is exactly the same (or even higher!) as in sugar- or syrup-sweetened jams.
Another negative is that those sugar-free jams are often sweetened with artificial sweeteners or other ugly stuff, and may contain food additives, too. Essentially, most store-bought sugar-free jams are so full of nasties that I really don’t recommend them to anyone.
That’s why a sugar-free, food-additive-free homemade jam is your best bet. It’s surprisingly quick and easy to make, too! Just look at these recipes for wonderful sugar-free strawberry jam (which you’ll also find in my Low Sugar, So Simple book), raspberry jam, blueberry jam and this fascinating mock cloudberry jam. Whatever jam you use, make sure the jam is thick enough so that it doesn’t get absorbed into the cookie. (Did you know that when making jam, you’ll achieve a thicker consistency just by cooking it for longer? You don’t necessarily need any added thickeners.)
Other than that, there is nothing complicated in this recipe. So, let’s take a look at how to make these fantastic Flourless Sugar-Free Nut Butter and Jam Thumbprint Cookies:
Have all your ingredients and a small bowl ready. I use homemade almond butter here.
Add the almond butter to the bowl.
Add the Sukrin Gold (I found it to be the best sweetener for these cookies)…
…and a pinch of salt.
With clean hands (or with gloves like I have here), start kneading the mixture…
…until a smooth dough forms.
You know the dough is ready when you can form a neat ball from it and the dough doesn’t stick to your hands.
Next, take a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and start rolling the dough into walnut-sized balls.
Place the balls on the parchment-lined baking sheet. The dough yields 16 balls.
When all the balls are lying nicely on the baking sheet, lightly press the center of each ball with your thumb to create a small well.
Next, take the sugar-free jam and place approximately 1/2 teaspoon in the well of each cookie…
At this point, your oven should be hot (350 °F = 175 °C). Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until the cookies have got some color. Don’t overbake! And don’t underbake either. Just keep an eye on the cookies so that you know when they’re done. They shouldn’t be too brown.
Remove the cookies from the oven.
And now, the most important thing: don’t touch the cookies when they are hot! Not only will you burn your fingers (you knew that already…!) but you will also break the cookies, as they are very fragile when hot. So now you have to try to hold your horses and let the cookies cool completely.
And when they have cooled completely, remove them from the baking sheet and store in a cool, dry place. (Hint: the fridge is not a dry place.)
My nut butter cookie experiments
I often make peanut butter cookies just because peanut butter is so affordable and easily available. However, PB is not very low in carbs. Therefore, I’m lucky to have a high-speed blender with which I can prepare my own nut butters and almond butters.
I’ve noticed I always have to add some oil to keep the machine running when I make nut butter. Without oil, the nuts just don’t get mixed. I used to add melted coconut oil, but I soon found out that light olive oil performs best. Not that there is anything wrong with coconut oil — just the opposite, as it has many health benefits — but it solidifies in the fridge and makes your nut butter really stiff. When you use light olive oil, it retains the perfect consistency, both at room temperature and in the fridge.
So, as I often do, I took out my notes and checked my to-do list. For a long time I’d wanted to try low-carb thumbprint cookies made with peanut butter. I thought now might be a good time to finally try them out.
Of course, I wanted to keep the recipe simple: maybe just PB, sweetener and egg to bind the dough. I also had some sugar-free jam which I was planning to use in the cookies.
I was wondering if sweetener alone would provide enough flavor or if I should add a little vanilla extract. The jam should be enough on its own, I thought. Then I remembered Sukrin Gold, a marvelous brown sugar substitute and one of my all-time favorite sweeteners.
It’s of really high quality and it’s erythritol-based, which means it contains no artificial sweeteners. It also looks like real brown sugar. Even when you pour it, it behaves like real brown sugar; it moves slowly and the small particles almost stick to each other. Make sense? Well, it’s difficult to explain so you should try it yourself and see!
So, Sukrin Gold would be the ultimate sweetener for my cookie experiments. It has a slight caramel note and maybe a hint of vanilla as well, so there’d be no need for additional flavorings. However, as the result would most likely be really sweet, I wanted to round out the flavors with a pinch of unrefined sea salt.
I was ready to conduct my first experiment. I followed my gut feeling and took 1 cup (240 ml) all-natural peanut butter, 1/3 cup (80 ml) Sukrin Gold, 1 egg and a pinch of salt. I combined everything in a small bowl and started kneading, excited to see whether I’d get a proper dough.
It worked! After a half a minute, the mixture started turning into a stiff dough. It didn’t stick to my fingers anymore and it was easy to mold. I started shaping the dough into balls, which I placed on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Once I had used up all the dough, I pressed the center of each ball with my thumb to create a small well. To these wells, I added some sugar-free jam. I had reserved 1/3 cup (80 ml) jam, but didn’t even use half of it.
I baked the cookies at 350 °F (175 °C). I removed them from the oven after 10 minutes, only to discover that they were still too raw. 15 minutes would have most probably been better.
Carefully, I took one hot cookie from the sheet. As soon as I touched it, it broke into small crumbles. Of course! Cookies made with erythritol are very fragile when they’re straight out of the oven; however, they hold well together after they cool down. I was hoping this would happen now as well so that I wouldn’t end up just with a huge amount of jammy crumble (though I actually found that idea fascinating: jammy crumble would an amazing topping for, say, yogurt!).
I was lucky. The cookies did harden, and they held well together after they had cooled down. They also tasted amazing, except there was far too much sweetener. I had used 1/3 cup (80 ml), so I definitely had to reduce the amount to 1/4 cup (60 ml). Other than that, I was very happy with the cookie experiment!
Then I got the idea to try out other nut butters to see if they’d work, too. I was aiming for a lower carb count as well. For those cookie experiments, I made almond butter and cashew butter with my blender. True, cashew butter is not very low in carbs, but it has a nicely neutral taste and I wanted to see how that would work in cookies. And if you eat stick to just one cookie, you can easily minimize the carb count. (Overeating doesn’t do you any good anyway, so why overindulge!?)
So my next cookie experiment featured almond butter. When making the almond butter, I had to use quite a bit of olive oil to get the blender to run, so the dough was oozing oil. I was a bit scared of how the cookies would turn out. Would they be too greasy? Would they hold together at all.
Thankfully the cookies turned out really well. They were pleasingly crunchy outside and soft inside. And the jam was just the icing on the cake (almost literally!). In the progress photos, you’ll see me using almond butter for the cookies.
I made another cookie experiment with homemade cashew butter. To be honest, I didn’t feel there was too much difference between cookies made with almond butter and cookies made with cashew butter. They were pretty similar — and equally good. In the video, I use cashew butter for the cookies.
After my experiment we had (and still have!) several batches of cookies, as I had made lots of nut butters for my various experiments. That’s okay; too many cookies is never a bad thing!
Finally, here is the recipe:
|Nutrition information (almond butter used):||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total:||61.2 g||135.2 g||22.1 g||1623 kcal|
|Per cookie if 16 cookies in total:||3.8 g||8.4 g||1.4 g||101 kcal|
Tips for variation
You can naturally vary these cookies by using different nut butters. Hazelnut butter, macadamia butter, and Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) are great options. Sunbutter gives almost an identical taste to PB, so if you are allergic to peanuts, you can use Sunbutter instead.
Feel free to use your preferred sugar-free jam. Jams made with berries go well, but if you find, for example, sugar-free apricot jam, go for it; it’s a great match, too.
I really recommend Sukrin Gold for the sweetener because of its superior taste and qualities. However, if you can’t find it, you can use regular erythritol crystals instead. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract or other natural flavoring if you like, too; it’ll add an extra layer of flavor.