If you’re collecting cookie recipes, and looking for something unique and delicious, these naturally sweetened Maple Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies are going to be a huge hit! They’re made with granulated maple sugar, ground hazelnuts and have a dollop of pure maple cream in the center of each! The best part is they can be made ahead and frozen!

closeup three quarter view of cookies on marble

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Ello Products. I have been compensated for my time. All opinions expressed here are my own.

As you know I am a big lover of meal prep. For years I have also been in the habit of making larger meals and then portioning out the leftovers for my husband’s and my lunches.

All that meal prepping and leftovers means we use a lot of glass storage containers around here (I try to limit the amount of plastic we use), so I was really excited when Ello sent me their 10 piece Duraglass collection. It is a high quality BPA-free storage container line, which includes 5 3.4 cup food storage containers. Each glass container has a silicone sleeve to protect the glass and a leek-proof snap and seal lid. They’re also dishwasher and microwave safe so they’re perfect for our needs.

storage containers with cookies in them

I put them to use too when I got a head start on our holiday cookies earlier this holiday season! I made a batch of these Maple Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies, and sealed them into the Ello containers. I layered them between parchment and just popped them into the freezer. Now they’re all set for when we thaw them out just before Christmas.

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Ingredient Notes for This Recipe

There are a couple of notes for the ingredients in this recipe so I just want to answer any questions upfront about them:

White Whole Wheat Flour

White whole wheat flour is a whole grain flour made from a type of wheat that is lighter in color and has less-pronounced wheat flavor than regular whole-wheat. If you cannot find it, regular whole-wheat flour works well.

You can also substitute all-purpose flour which is slightly less absorbent, so I would use 1 ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour in place of both.

Gluten-Free Alternatives

For a gluten-free alternative you can use a 1:1 blend of gluten-free flour mix. Most will work fine. If your dough seems sticky or soft you may want to stir in 1 to 2 more tablespoons gf flour to thicken the dough. This will help the cookies hold their rounded shape and thumbprint wells.

Granulated Maple Sugar

  • I call for this ingredient occasionally around here. If you have made my Gluten-Free White Chocolate Blondies then you’ll know just how it brings intense maple flavor to baked goods.
  • It is made by bringing pure maple syrup to a boil and then cooking it until it reaches the hard ball stage.
  • As it cools, the mixture is stirred. It takes several minutes for the mixture to cool so when we make it from scratch, we do this in our stand mixer.
  • Eventually the moisture evaporates out of the liquid and the mixture turns to granulated sugar.
  • It is shelf stable at room temperature and it is said to have been the way that Native Americans stored their maple.
  • You can make your own maple sugar, or purchase it online or specialty food stores.

filling a thumbprint with maple cream

Maple Cream or Maple Butter

  • Maple cream is spreadable and spoonable maple syrup.
  • Like maple sugar, it is also cooked to a high temperature (slightly cooler though) and then whipped as it is cooled.
  • The results are a thick creamy light beige “butter” that can be used in place of jam. It is incredible on a buttered English muffin!
  • You can make your own maple cream, or you can purchase it in jars.

work surface with cookies, hazelnuts and maple cream

How To Make Maple Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

The Dry Mix

This Dry mix starts with whole nuts. The technique is sort of similar to the my Apple Walnut Oatmeal Cookies.

  1. Start by grinding up the hazelnuts with a bit of sugar in the food processor. You’re making a nut meal of sorts.
  2. If you happen to have hazelnut flour, you can sub in 3.5 ounces of it and add the sugar separately.
  3. Take off the lid and add in the whole-wheat flour (if you can find it look for white whole-wheat), all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Pulse the dry ingredients together.

The Butter Mixture

To make the butter mixture, you’ll want to switch to a mixing bowl and hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

  1. Beat the softened butter until it is creamy and light and fluffy. This takes about a minute.
  2. Then add in the maple sugar and beat again until they are combined. I like to scrape down the sides of the bowl at this point to make sure there aren’t any pockets of butter that haven’t been incorporated.
  3. Next add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat them in until they are combined. You’ll have to scrape the bowl and beat again if you’re using a stand mixer.

Combine the Wet and Dry Mixture

Once you have your butter mixture and your dry mixture, you’ll stir them together. I do this on low with the stand mixer, but if you prefer you can do so by hand. It is a rather stiff dough so if your stand mixer is not very powerful, it may bog down the motor.

Shaping The Cookies to Make Thumbprints

  • I use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to make this a speedy recipe.
  • Simply scoop 1 tablespoons of the dough out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You can also portion the dough and roll it into balls if you don’t have a scoop.
  • Press your fingertip or thumb into the center of each cookie.
  • They puff a little bit while they bake, so don’t be afraid of making them too big. Just make sure you don’t press all the way through.

Refrigerate (or freeze) the dough

To help the cookies hold their shape, refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes.

Note, At this point you can also freeze them unbaked! If you’re going to do that, just portion them much closer together all on one baking sheet and then freeze them solid. Then you can transfer them to your glass containers and they won’t stick together or get misshapen by the weight of the other cookies.

Bake The Cookies

Then you’ll want to bake the cookies one pan at a time in the center of the oven. Make sure to spin the cookie sheet half way through the baking time.

Cool and Fill

  1. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes.
  2. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Use a half teaspoon or quarter teaspoon measuring spoon to carefully dollop the maple cream into the center of each cookie.
  4. Let the maple cream set up for one hour at room temperature. The outer layer will harden slightly. (You can wait and do this after freezing too if you prefer to not wait.) 

Freezing Instructions

Layer the cookies between parchment in the glass resealable containers and freeze up to one month. To thaw, transfer the cookies to a platter or cooling rack and let thaw uncovered for at least one hour before serving.

You can also wait to fill the cookies until after they come out of the freezer. The cream will set in the time they thaw. 

Steps To Make These Maple Cookies

More Holiday Sweets To Try

These Clementine Rum Balls are a holiday tradition. They make a great addition to a cookie collection.

My Cranberry Crumb Bars are super popular and so pretty! I love using clementines in them!

Hermit Cookies: These are an easy holiday flavored bar cookie that my kids like to bake on their own.

Almond Raspberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies are another option for your cookie collection are these more traditional thumbprint cookies. Compare the two!

And I can’t forget about these Sweet Potato Marshmallow S’mores thumbprint cookies either!

Peppermint Pattie Cheesecake for a celebration worthy sweet, this cake is a show stopper.

Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting  the maple syrup in this one makes this cake unique, but it isn’t the only secret ingredient!

My maple almond Apple Cake is another one you’ll love if you like nuts and maple. 

Maple Hazelnut thumbprint cookies and pink storage containers

Thanks so much for reading. If you make these Thumbprint Cookies, make sure to snap a pic and share them on Instagram. Tag me @healthyseasonal so I can share them on my channel too!

make ahead prep work on a marble board with pink containers ready to freeze

Also, make sure you check out Ello. Their line of silicone lined glassware also includes colorful wine glasses and bakeware so be sure to check them out here. You can also follow them on instagram here or facebook here. They would make a great gift for a special foodie in your life.

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A close up of pouring the maple cream into the center of the cookie

Maple Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

  • Author: Katie
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 35 cookies 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These unique Maple Thumbprint Cookies with Hazelnuts are made without jam. Instead the thumbprints are filled with maple cream.


Scale

Ingredients

3/4 cup hazelnuts, about 3 ½ ounces

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup white whole-wheat flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup granulated maple sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ cup maple cream, stirred


Instructions

  1. Place hazelnuts and sugar in food processor. Process until the hazelnuts are finely ground, about 40 seconds. Scrape edges with a spatula. Add whole-wheat flour, flour, baking powder and salt and pulse to combine.
  2. Beat butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixture until light and fluffy and smooth, about 1 minute. Add maple sugar and beat until combined. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until completely incorporated. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.
  3. Arrange oven rack in the center of the oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Scoop 1 tablespoon portions of dough onto the baking sheets, spacing evenly. Press gently down in the center with thumb or fingertip to create a slight indent. Refrigerate 10 minutes.
  4. Bake, one at a time, turning the tray around half-way, until the cookies are just lightly golden and set up, 10 to 12 minutes total. Let the cookies cool before spooning a small dollop of maple cream into the center of each cookie.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 102
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 1 g