Thumbprint almond pulp cookies are the easiest and tastiest way to use leftover almond pulp from homemade almond milk – a gluten-free & vegan recipe using almond pulp and oat flour.
Thumbprint cookies are probably my all-time favorite cookie. I just love their buttery soft cookie texture and that pop of fresh fruit in the middle.
Although, I’ve made almond chocolate thumbprint cookies before too and can’t say I don’t love a chocolate filling equally as much.
They’re basically a cookie version of fruit pie to me and considering my love of fruit pie trumps any cake recipe ever created (sour cherry pie is my favorite!), it’s really no surprise how happy a cute little thumbprint cookie makes me.
These almond pulp cookies, however, are a new favorite because not only do they satisfy my sweet tooth with my favorite cookie variety, they’re made from the leftover almond pulp from homemade almond milk which I’ve been making every week lately for about 2 months now.
I despise food waste.
To the point that it pains me to make pancake batter in my blender because it’s nearly impossible to get all the batter out with a spatula.
That’s the level of crazy we’re talking about.
So while I’ve been loving making homemade almond milk (it’s seriously SO easy and satisfying to make your own), it was troubling me to throw out the leftover almond pulp from the process.
Try making vanilla coconut oat milk at home too!
I made almond pulp crackers one week and while they turned out really good, I thought almond pulp cookies would be an even better use of the “waste”.
I also have an almond pulp recipe round up for even more ideas, including savory recipes to use up leftover almond pulp!
So here we are with these almond pulp thumbprint cookies.
The process was a tad bit more involved than making crackers but nothing difficult at all and much more delicious an outcome.
And a seasonally fitting one too with the cranberry jam center!
When I make homemade almond milk, I’m left with about 3/4 cup of almond pulp.
Using that amount plus about 1/2 cup of oat flour, I was able to make about 15 medium sized almond pulp cookies.
Not bad at all!
How to make these cranberry orange almond pulp cookies
The video in this post details the process but the general idea is combining the following ingredients:
- leftover almond pulp
- almond butter + almond milk mixture
- maple syrup
- vanilla & almond extracts
Those wet ingredients are combined in a large bowl. Then, these dry ingredients get added:
- oat flour
- baking soda
Combine until the dough is well mixed and forms a sticky ball. This might vary from batch to batch depending on the moisture content of your almond pulp.
If it’s wetter than mine was, you may need a touch more oat flour.
If it’s drier than mine was, you may need some extra almond milk.
The end result should be a sticky dough ball that holds together easily so just go by feel.
Refrigerate the dough while you prepare the cranberry orange fruit filling for the almond milk pulp cookies.
How to make the cranberry orange fruit filling
This fruit filling is a simple stove-top recipe and can be made using almost any fruit you like if cranberry/orange isn’t your preference. I happen to love this combination though, especially around the holidays as evidenced by these cranberry orange biscotti.
- fresh cranberries
- orange zest
- orange juice (freshly squeezed)
- maple syrup
- chia seeds (optional for thickening)
Combine the cranberries, orange zest, juice and maple syrup in a small pot on the stove over medium-low heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently with a spatula.
Gently break the cranberries up while stirring to help them cook down.
Add the chia seeds if using and cook for another 2-3 minutes. These help the mixture thicken by absorbing some of the liquid the cranberries let off but they’re optional.
Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool. As it cools, it will thicken significantly.
Other fruit to try in place of cranberries would be strawberries, wild blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or, cherries. Frozen varieties of all those fruits will work as well.
If you choose to substitute the fruit, make sure to keep the citrus element as citrus helps naturally thicken fruit jams. Either orange or lemon will work for this.
How to bake the almond pulp thumbprint cookies
While the fruit filling cools, remove the dough from the refrigerator and scoop out small amounts into your hand.
I like to use my food scale (this is the one I’ve had for 5 years and love. It’s under $10 and simple + durable!) to ensure even amounts of dough so the cookies are all the same size.
For these, each cookie weighed 18g, about a tablespoon of cookie dough.
Roll the dough into a ball and place on a prepared baking sheet. Gently press down on the center of each ball with your thumb to create a little indent in the center of the cookie.
Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes until the edges of the cookies start to turn golden brown. Remove them and let cool completely.
Once cooled, spoon the cranberry orange fruit jam into the wells created by your thumb.
You can garnish with additional orange zest or just leave them as is.
How to store almond pulp cookies
These cranberry orange almond pulp cookies are best when served soon after making them.
As they sit, the cookie will soften. They can be stored in an air-tight food storage container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
If you want to freeze these, I’d suggest leaving them unfilled and freezing just the baked cookie. Thaw then fill them before serving.
Can I substitute another nut pulp?
I have not tried this recipe with pulp from a different nut milk.
However, I would assume cashew pulp, pecan pulp or macadamia nut pulp would work just as well.
As I make different varieties of nut milk at home, I will be trying all these in cookie form as well and keep you updated!
If you don’t have leftover nut pulp, try these vegan thumbprint cookies instead which use regular almond flour.
Can I use prepared jam or preserves?
If you prefer to not fill the almond pulp cookies with this cranberry orange jam, you can definitely use a prepared filling.
Store bought jam or preserves will work just as well in any flavor you’d like.
How do I stop the cookies from cracking on the sides?
Don’t worry about the dough cracking a little when you create the thumbprint indent.
You can crimp the edges back together a bit before baking if it bothers you but it’s really no big deal!
Traditional thumbprint cookies use a lot of butter that prevents this from happening but because these almond pulp cookies have no additional fat besides the natural fat from the almond pulp and almond butter itself, the dough is a little less soft and pliable which will result in a few cracks.
It ain’t no thing, just adds some character!
What do almond pulp cookies taste like?
The cookies are soft and buttery (even though there isn’t any butter in them!).
They have a slightly nutty texture which from the almond pulp itself. Almond pulp is a bit more textured/grittier than using almond flour which is finer.
Flavor wise, they have a hint of an almond extract undertone (which is my favorite part of the cookie!) and then a bright, fresh and tart pop from the cranberry fruit filled center.
If you prefer a sweeter overall cookie, use a prepared jam or add more maple syrup to the cranberry orange sauce in this recipe.
Are almond pulp cookies gluten-free?
Yes, this is a naturally gluten-free recipe!
Because we use oat flour as the other binding flour in this recipe, the thumbprints are gluten-free. Make sure to use a certified gluten free oat flour if necessary for your dietary needs.
This almond pulp cookie recipe is also vegan as there are no eggs involved either!
They’re a much healthier thumbprint than a traditional recipe filled with healthy fats and nutritious higher fiber oat flour.
With just 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, the sugar content is pretty low as well and you can enjoy these without any cookie guilt!
If you love jam filled desserts like this, I highly suggest this almond jam tart too. It’s also gluten-free and vegan and makes for an impressive treat!
Knowing how easy these are to make and how well they come out, I don’t think I’ll be stopping my homemade almond milk making any time soon!
Other cookie recipes to try:
Paleo Blueberry Thumbprints
Tart Cherry Fudge Thumbprints
Chocolate Dipped Cashew Almond Butter Cookies with Candied Sage
Orange Infused Cranberry Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies
No Bake Oatmeal Raspberry Sandwich Cookies
Almond Pulp Cookies (Cranberry Orange Thumbprints)
- 3/4 cup almond pulp leftover from making almond milk
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
For the cranberry orange filling
- 1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds optional
- Place almond pulp in a large bowl. (*see note)
- Combine almond milk and almond butter in a small bowl. Heat in microwave for 15-20 seconds then stir until creamy and well combined. Add to the bowl with the almond pulp.
- Add maple syrup, vanilla and almond extracts then stir to combine with a spatula.
- Whisk oat flour, salt and baking soda together in a small bowl. Add to the large bowl with almond pulp and combine throughly with a spatula until a sticky dough ball forms. Place in the refrigerator to chill while making the cranberry orange filling.
- Combine cranberries, orange zest, orange juice and maple syrup in a small sauce pot over medium-low heat.
- Stir to combine and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring and breaking up cranberries with a spatula frequently.
- Add chia seeds (if using), cook another 2-3 minutes, turn off heat and let cool in the pot. Mixture will thicken more as it cools.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and roll into small balls.
- Place dough balls on the prepared baking sheet and gently press down in the center using your thumb to create an indent in the cookies.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until edges are golden, remove from oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Once cooled, spoon small amount of cranberry orange filling into the thumbprint indents of each cookie.
- Garnish with orange zest if desired and serve.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.