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It’s our third and final cookie of the week! These cardamom thumbprints with peanut butter caramel are super simple to make and they come together with ten ingredients. Thumbprints are always the first cookie I go to on a holiday dessert plate. I love them with jam, a dab of vegan lemon curd, little bits of chocolate, and in this case: a quickie batch of peanut butter caramel.

This cookie is also super wholesome. Spelt flour and almond flour form the base and there’s only a tiny touch of maple syrup in the cookie itself. Aside from the little caramel dollop, these cookies aren’t overly sweet. They’re a perfect coffee/tea/hot chocolate companion. The peanut butter caramel indentation gives us the tiniest edge of decadence.

And really, caramel should be in quotes here because we aren’t caramelizing any sugar. I personally do not have the patience or emotional fortitude to make caramel with traditional methods, so we’re doing a bit of a cheat today hehe. It’s just a simple mix of maple syrup, peanut butter, non-dairy milk, and a bit of salt that tastes amazingly caramel-like. Sometimes simplicity and speed wins over everything else!

Hope you enjoyed our celebration of holiday treats this week! A part of me wants to do the same thing with appetizers or some other extremely important holiday food category next week, but I think we’re just going to go back to our usual once a week schedule. It was fun though! :)

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Print the recipe here!
SERVES: Makes 15 cookies
Your peanut butter has to be SUPER smooth and well-stirred for the caramel to have the right consistency–none of that gritty stuff at the bottom of the jar ;)
-I like to put about ¼ teaspoon of the caramel into each little indentation, bake the cookies, let them cool, and then top the little dots of baked caramel with the remaining caramel, and then add flaky salt on top! This step is very extra :)

2 tablespoons smooth and well-stirred natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
pinch of fine sea salt

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water
1 cup light spelt flour
½ cup almond flour
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Make the peanut butter caramel. In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, maple syrup, non-dairy milk, and salt. Once it’s smooth and slightly fluid, set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseed and water. Set aside to thicken for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, almond flour, cardamom, and sea salt. Then, add the thickened flaxseed mixture, maple syrup, peanut butter, coconut oil, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, stir this mixture until a slightly sticky dough starts coming together.

Portion out tablespoons of dough out onto the baking sheet with an inch of space around each one.

Then, roll each portion of dough into a ball. Using the bottom of a ¼ teaspoon measure (or your finger), carefully press an indentation into the top of each cookie, using your other hand to hold the cookie together.

Spoon about ¼ – ½ teaspoon of the peanut butter caramel into each indentation. Slide the cookies into the oven and bake until bottoms are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Let the cookies cool completely. If you have leftover peanut butter caramel, carefully spoon a bit more onto the baked caramel indentations of each cookie and top with flaky salt if you wish.

  • Elizabeth07/12/2019 - 1:44 pm

    These look amazing and different from anything I’ve tried before. I might have to make them this afternoon! Also, just FYI, I get emails when there is a new post up here, but didn’t get one today. This is not meant to be criticism, but rather a (hopefully) helpful head’s up. Enjoy your weekend!ReplyCancel

  • Justine Khaldi08/12/2019 - 5:46 am

    Is there a way to bake these without using oil???

    • Laura08/12/2019 - 8:47 am

      You could try replacing the oil with more peanut butter, but I have not personally tried this variation so cannot guarantee results. Might be better to Google and seek our an oil-free and vegan thumbprint from a site that does that style of baking more often!

  • Jackie King08/12/2019 - 8:19 am

    Three appetizer recipes next week? Yes please Laura!!!

    This week’s three cookie recipes look fabulous. I’ll be trying the cardamom ones.ReplyCancel

  • Kayann08/12/2019 - 11:03 am

    Is it possible to use chia seeds rather than flax seeds for the egg substitute? These look delicious! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laura09/12/2019 - 8:39 am

      Yes, you can definitely use ground chia seeds instead of flax!

  • Caroline Pack08/12/2019 - 1:10 pm

    Hi! Any suggestions for a gluten-free alternative for spelt flour in this recipe? I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease but these cookies look too good to miss out on!! :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura10/12/2019 - 8:27 am

      Someone on Instagram tagged me in their version made with an all-purpose GF flour and mentioned that they came out a bit dry unfortunately. It might be better to seek out a thumbprint recipe from a dedicated gluten-free site and then add cardamom and fill them with the peanut butter caramel.

      • Anne Wiles15/12/2019 - 9:30 am

        Hi Laura and Caroline. I used a GF cup for cup blend and the cookies came out amazing! Soooo delicious. I measured my GF flour just as I would AP, 120 grams per cup.ReplyCancel

  • César Eduardo09/12/2019 - 9:48 am

    Do you think this recipe will work with 1 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour instead of the almond and spelt flours? Looks so good!ReplyCancel

    • Laura10/12/2019 - 8:24 am

      I’m not sure it would work because I don’t use buckwheat very often in my cooking. Might be best to seek out a dedicated buckwheat thumbprints recipe from another website!

  • ali09/12/2019 - 6:51 pm

    think you could use al spelt and skip the almond flour or sub oat flour?????ReplyCancel

    • Laura10/12/2019 - 8:25 am

      I think all spelt could work! You may need to add a little bit more moisture from maple syrup or peanut butter though. I haven’t personally tried this, so can’t guarantee anything.

  • Adrianne10/12/2019 - 10:16 am

    Do you think it would be okay (and still delicious) to sub almond butter for the peanut butter? I haven’t done much cooking/baking with cardamom and want to ensure the flavors balance out! after having the most incredible cardamom croissant in Copenhagen in October I’m excited to play with more cardamom infused desserts. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laura10/12/2019 - 1:19 pm

      Yep! Just make sure that your almond butter is very runny and drippy.

  • Amy11/12/2019 - 10:37 am

    Is there another flour that I could substitute the almond flour with? I have an allergy to almonds, and cannot use that. Would a rice or coconut flour be an appropriate substitution in this recipe?

    Thanks so much :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura15/12/2019 - 1:10 pm

      Hi Amy,
      I think you could get away with just using more spelt flour here! Also, any time I need to sub almond flour, I generally make a homemade sunflower seed flour in my food processor. I just grind raw sunflower seeds until they resemble almond meal.

  • Stacey12/12/2019 - 12:57 pm

    These look delicious. What non-dairy milk do you suggest? We always have oat milk and a coconut milk coffee creamer at home. Would either work?

    • Laura15/12/2019 - 1:07 pm

      Hi Stacey! Either of those options would be great :)

  • Nicole Becker13/12/2019 - 3:39 pm

    Another flour question ;-). Could I use All Purpose flour instead of the spelt? I know it’ll change the wholesome factor, but I only have AP flour on hand at the moment.ReplyCancel

    • Laura15/12/2019 - 1:06 pm

      I think you could substitute all purpose flour without issue with these cookies!

  • Hannah22/12/2019 - 7:11 pm

    These were tasty. All my coworkers loved them!ReplyCancel

  • ColleenCT31/12/2019 - 9:00 pm

    Just made these to ring in the new year, and wow! I am not normally a sweets fan, but the cookie with the peanut butter salted caramel was just the right amount of sweetness. My non-vegan partner loved them too. Thanks, Laura, and happy new year!ReplyCancel

  • Maria18/01/2020 - 7:58 am

    They are soo delicious and light!
    Replaced peanut with almond butter, because I had only that one at home.
    Thanks you for this creation Laura!ReplyCancel

  • Ali05/03/2020 - 2:08 pm

    I made these a couple of days ago! They didn’t turn out like your pictures…the dough didn’t really come together–it was pretty crumbly, which made it hard to roll and press. I’m not really a huge sweets person, but I think the dough could have had a touch more maple syrup! That might have helped to keep the dough together. Loved the flavor. Will make again with maybe a bit more PB and MS in the dough :) Thank you!ReplyCancel

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