Gluten Free Santa Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies

Dec 14, 2021

There is nothing like a melt in your mouth, buttery whipped shortbread cookie with hints of vanilla. Make them gluten free and add a dollop of strawberry chia jam in the center and you have holiday cookie perfection! And that is what this recipe is all about.

As personal chefs we love holiday baking just as much (if not more) as the average individual but we love it even more when we can do a few “healthier” swaps and cut down the sugar a little bit. That is why we love this recipe so much!

This recipe takes regular sugar filled jam you’d normally put in the center and swaps it out for a more fruit filled higher in fibre chia jam. It also takes refined flour and swaps it out for gluten free flour for those with sensitivities or who are watching their gluten intake. And last but not least the amount of icing sugar is almost half of what is used in traditional whipped shortbread cookies, so you don’t have to deal with the glycemic rollercoaster as much.

These cookies are a perfect add on to your meal prep for your holiday get-togethers, leaving out for Santa, or to keep just for yourself for a rainy Vancouver night in spent watching holiday films.

Gluten Free Santa Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Total time: 26 minutes

Makes 12-16 servings.


  • 3/4 cup grass fed butter, or use vegan butter for dairy free option

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

  • 1 ½ cup Gluten Free 1:1 flour 

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch, or arrowroot powder works well too

  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum** only if your 1:1 mix does not have it**

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)

  • 2/3 cups strawberries, raspberries, or other berry of choice

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tsp honey

  • 1 tsp lemon juice


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 2

While the oven is preheating add strawberries (or raspberries) to a small pot on the stove top over medium heat. Allow to cook for about 10-15 minutes stirring every few minutes so not to burn, or until berries have started to break down into a “jamy” like texture.

Step 3

Once berries have broken down stir in chia seeds, honey, and lemon juice. Cook for 2 more minutes then place in the fridge to cool completely for about 10-15 minutes before using for the filling.

Step 4

To make the cookie base place the vegan butter, vanilla and icing sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can use a handheld mixer too) beat the butter & icing sugar until fully combined, scraping down the bowl from time to time. This should take 3-4 minutes.

Step 5

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, flour, tapioca starch, xantham gum, and salt. Slowly add the mixture to the butter/sugar mixture while the mixer is on low speed. Once the flour has been worked in, slowly increase the speed to medium. Beat on medium speed for 1 more minute

Step 6

Scoop 3/4-inch balls of dough onto the cookie sheet, keeping 2-inches between cookies. Press your “thumb” into the middle of each cookie ball to create a pocket for the chia jam. Fill the pocket with chia jam and then place the baking sheet into the oven.

Step 7

Bake for 14-16 minutes. Or until form but not crispy, these cookies are meant to be a little soft still. Let cookies remain on the sheet until completely cooled and then transfer to an airtight container for storage.

This recipe was created by nutritionist and blogger Danielle from Thyme to Nourish, you can check out more of her recipes here.


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