Maple Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies
If you’re collecting cookie recipes and looking for something unique and delicious, these naturally sweetened maple 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!
Table of contents
Why We Love These Maple Cookies
If you’re looking for a maple cookie recipe, here’s your sign to make these maple thumbprint cookies. The nutty flavors from the hazlenuts is so tasty with the maple sugar and maple cream. You can easily make a batch of these and store them in the freezer so that you have a sweet treat on hand whenever the craving hits.
You could also make them to give away to friends, for Chiristmas cookie platters, to share with family or even sell at a bake sale. And who knows–they might just become your new favorite cookie!
- This recipe for maple cookies makes 35 cookies–which means it’s great for the holidays or adding to a cookie box!
- They last really well in the freezer (can be frozen baked or pre-baked).
- You can easily make this maple cookie recipe gluten-free.
- They’re made with mostly natural and refined-sugar free sweetener.
Key Ingredients for This Recipe
- Hazelnuts: For this recipe, you’ll grind up whole hazelnuts with a bit of sugar in the food processor. You’re making a nut meal of sorts. If you happen to have hazelnut flour, you can sub in 3.5 ounces of it and add the sugar separately.
- 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 of all-purpose flour in place of both.
- Unsalted Butter: You could use salted butter instead, just be mindful then of how much additional salt you’re adding.
- 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. You can make your own maple sugar, or purchase it online or specialty food stores. If you can’t find it, you can experiment by using dark brown sugar instead.
- Egg: I use large eggs for all my baking recipes.
- Maple Cream: Maple cream is spreadable and spoonable maple syrup with a very rich flavor. Like maple sugar, it’s also cooked to a high temperature (slightly cooler though), then whipped as it is cooled. The results are a thick creamy light beige “butter” that can be used in place of jam. You can make your own maple cream, or you can purchase it in jars.
- Other Pantry Staples: White granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla extract.
Step-by-Step Instructions For Maple Cookies
Step 1: Make the dry mix
Start by grinding up the hazelnuts with a bit of sugar in the food processor. Process until the hazelnuts are finely ground, about 40 seconds. You’re making a nut meal of sorts. Take off the lid and scrape the edges with a spatula. Add in the whole-wheat flour (if you can find it look for white whole-wheat), all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse the dry ingredients together.
Step 2: Make butter mixture & add dry mix
For this step, use a large bowl with an electric mixer (or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment). Beat the softened butter until it’s creamy and light and fluffy. This takes about a minute. Add in the maple sugar and beat again until 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. Next, on medium speed, mix in the egg and vanilla until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the dry mixture on low speed with the stand mixer or by hand. It is a rather stiff dough so if your stand mixer is not very powerful, it may bog down the motor.
Step 3: Shape & chill cookies
Arrange the oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the dough out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can also portion the dough and roll it into cookie dough 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). To help the cookies hold their shape, refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Bake maple hazelnut cookies & add maple cream
You’ll want to bake the cookies one pan at a time in the center of the oven until golden brown. Make sure to spin the cookie sheet halfway through the baking time, 10 to 12 minutes total. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Use a half-teaspoon or quarter-teaspoon measuring spoon to carefully dollop the maple cream into the center of the cooled cookies. 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.)
FAQs and Expert Tips
Store them in an airtight container or a large sealable freezer bag at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
Once you’ve shaped the cookies, you can 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/airtight containers and they won’t stick together or get misshapen by the weight of the other cookies.
Layer the cookies between parchment paper 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.
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.
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.
Additional Sweets To Try
- The technique for this recipe is sort of similar to the my Apple Walnut Oatmeal Cookies.
- These Clementine Rum Balls and Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies make great additions 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 flavored bar cookie that my kids like to bake on their own.
- Almond Raspberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies are another option for delicious cookies that are more traditional thumbprint cookies. Compare the two!
- Peppermint Pattie Cheesecake for a celebration worthy sweet, this cake is a show stopper.
- The maple syrup in this Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting makes this cake unique. And if you like maple, you’ll love this Maple Almond Apple Cake.
Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!
Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
Maple Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 35 cookies 1x
These unique Maple Thumbprint Cookies with Hazelnuts are made without jam. Instead the thumbprints are filled with maple cream.
- 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
- 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.
- Beat butter in a large mixing bowl 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, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.
- 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.
- 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.
Make Them Gluten Free: 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.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: dessert
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 cookie
- Calories: 102
- Sugar: 9 g
- Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 11 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 1 g
Keywords: maple thumbprint cookies,maple cookies,maple nut cookies
Oh my goodness, these cookies were so yummy! I love all the maple in them! So hard to not eat the whole batch!
Ah, that’s so great! I am happy to hear you liked them.
Very fancy recipe. I made it last night and it was beyond my expectation! It’s worth a try
I am thrilled to hear it! Thanks so much for coming back to let me know you liked them Susan. I appreciate it!
Did a test run on these and they came out great! They will make a perfect addition to the holiday cookie platter!
I am so happy to hear they came out well!
I love how easy this is to make! Everyone at my house loved it. Thanks u so much.
I am so glad you liked them! Thanks for coming back to let me know.
My goodness were these delicious! I really loved the maple and hazelnut together. They will be making repeat appearances at our house!
I am so glad to hear it! Thanks Wilhelmina!
I love these cookies! Really good and delish!
Thank you Toni!
Always looking for some new cookies to add to the rotation! Thank you!
I knew i had to make these immediately when I saw this recipe because I love hazelnuts! They are so good!