June 24, 2013

Thumbprint Energy Cookies with Apple Butter

One question I get asked the most as a blogger is where I get the inspiration for my recipes. My answer is never a simple one, as my inspiration comes from many different sources: the farmer's market, the seasons, cookbooks, and other blogs.

With these cookies though, my inspiration was super specific, since I wanted to try to recreate an energy explosion cookie that I had tried recently.  I'm not sure if they're only a local treat, but I've seen them around town at organic stores and bakeries, sold as a healthier treat option.

The version that I tried was gluten-free, made with brown rice rice flour, ground almonds, sesame seeds, and a bit of maple syrup and cinnamon for flavour. What I liked the most about them was the rich, velvety apple butter filling in the centre, which made these different from the usual thumbprint cookies that are filled with jam.

It took me a few tries to get my cookies right (which is why they look slightly different in these photos!), going from dry and overbaked to too soft and muffin-like with no flavour. While the final version is still not exactly like the original, I'm happy with my homemade knock-off!

My cookies are made with whole grain spelt flour, with a mixture of sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and coconut for texture. I added a bit of almond butter and pure maple syrup for flavour, and a generous spoonful of apple butter in the middle.

I liked that the cookies themselves aren't too sweet, since the apple butter adds plenty of natural sweetness in each bite. These are more of a soft cakey cookie, with lots of texture from the seeds and coconut. And the best part is that all of the ingredients are healthy, especially the hemp seeds which are full of protein, fibre and vitamins, so you can feel good about eating these as a nutritious snack!

Thumbprint Energy Cookies with Apple Butter
Inspired by these "Energy Explosion" Cookies and Kitchen Grrrls' Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup whole grain spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp shelled hemp seeds* 
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
~2-4 tbsp organic apple butter (I got mine from Bulk Barn)

Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.

Whisk the dry ingredients (flour to sesame seeds) together in a medium sized bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (maple syrup to coconut oil). Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Place dough in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm up.

Roll dough into equal sized balls (I got eight balls) and set them on the prepared baking sheet. Press down in the centre of each ball using a 1/2 tsp measure or your thumb to flatten the cookie and make an indentation. Fill each indentation with a heaping 1/2 tsp of apple butter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 11-13 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. I like to add a bit more apple butter to the centres once they come out of the oven because the filling will have reduced a bit in the oven. Let cool on a wire rack.

Makes 8 large cookies.

*Note: hemp seeds can have a slightly bitter taste, so if you've never used them before or you don't like the taste, you can just leave them out of the recipe (I didn't notice any bitterness, but my sister did when she tried one of the cookies). 


  1. these look awesome, lady! so happy that you were able to make your own energy explosion cookies ;)

    1. Thanks Caitlin! It definitely seems more economical to make your own than to pay more than $2 for just one cookie!

  2. I LOVE thumbprint cookies; they're very nostalgic for me :)

    1. I love them too, they were one of the first cookies I ever made when I started baking! These are different from traditional thumbprint cookies, since they're larger and softer, but I still love the idea of getting a bite of filling in the middle of a cookie!

  3. I just discovered hemp seeds and I've been throwing them in everything lately. :) These look so good, especially with that apple butter in the middle!

    1. I should start using them more too...I put some in my overnight oats and didn't even notice them, so they're a good way to get an extra boost of nutrition! Smoothies would be a good option too.

  4. These look fantastic! Wow! What a great idea to make these cookies into thumbprints and use apple butter as a filling.

    1. Thanks Courtney! I loved the apple butter, it tastes a bit richer than jam and I like that it's thicker too so it stays put instead of running all over the place...I'm looking forward to finding other ways to use up the rest of my apple butter!

  5. Yum! I love healthy cookies, the apple butter in the center is such a good idea!

  6. I am in love with the ingredients list on these!! And they look so delicious too :)



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