These cherry fudge thumbprints are like a decadent brownie with a tart center, perfect for Valentine’s day or holiday baking!

I got to eat at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America, not the secret spy organization) this weekend and watch burnt orange ice cream get made table-side with liquid nitrogen in a customized hand-crank Kitchen Aid mixer.

Fudge thumbprint cookies
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I had the idea for these thumbprints weeks ago.

The perfect colored Valentine’s day treat made to taste like the ultimate fudge brownie but with a slick secret ingredient that meant you could call them healthy, black beans.

I love sliding some black beans into baked goods (like these peanut butter stuffed black bean cookies) because it amazes me how the end result has no bean taste when you mix it with chocolate.

Vegan black bean brownies are another great example of this (and so fudgy and good – try them!)

Mind blowing.

Chocolate cherry thumbprint cookies

I thought the idea was super cool.

But then the CIA showed me up with that little on the spot ice cream display and I quickly realized where I rank in the world of food.

If beans in cookies is all I got, things aren’t looking too hot for my future.

Gluten free chocolate thumbprint cookies

That said, these cherry thumbprint cookies rock and it’s not like liquid nitrogen ice cream making is a realistic Valentine’s dessert if you’re staying home this year.

Tart cherry fudge thumbprints, however, yes.

And…you can eat the whole batch because on the guilt scale of desserts, these are about a -5.

I don’t think the CIA’s cream based orange ice cream can say the same.

In fact, all the thumbprint recipes on here like these almond pulp thumbprint cookies, almond chocolate thumbprints and paleo blueberry thumbprints are quite healthy little treats you can feel good about enjoying!

Need a vegan recipe? Try these classic vegan thumbprint cookies or make these vegan linzer cookies. With their jammy center they’re very similar to thumbprints.

Looking for more tart cherry ideas? Try one of these recipes:
Mini Tart Cherry Galettes
Tart Cherry Tea Bread
Chewy Montmorency Tart Cherry Oat Bars

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Tart Cherry Fudge Thumbprints

Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 22 minutes
These healthy cherry fudge thumbprints are like a decadent brownie with a tart center, perfect for any holiday.


  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk/almond milk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free flour, any flour will do here, almond, whole wheat pastry, all purpose, etc.
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Cherry Filling

  • 1/2 cup tart frozen cherries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  • Combine the black beans, coconut oil, almond butter, vanilla and milk in a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and process until thoroughly combined.
  • Turn the dough (which will be the consistency of a thick mousse) out into a bowl.
  • With wet hands, roll into balls, place on the baking sheet and gently press down with your thumb in the middle to create an indentation for the filling.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven and press down again in the middle to deepen the indentation that most likely became shallower while baking.
  • Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  • While the cookies cool, prepare the filling by combining the cherries and honey in a small sauce pot over medium-high heat until simmering.
  • Mix together the cornstarch and water in a separate small bowl and add the slurry to the pot.
  • Mix until thickened.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Once cookies are completely cooled, spoon the cooled filling into the hole and serve.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 154kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 4gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 285mgFiber: 4gSugar: 11g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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