Believe it or not, when I thought of these cookies—as I was about to fall asleep, because for some reason creativity always strikes when my head is resting on a pillow—I had only made thumbprint cookies once in my life and had never attempted making my own dulce de leche before, let alone vegan dulce de leche.
This dulce de leche is rich, sweet and satisfying, made with coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt, cooked down until thick and creamy, then finished with some arrowroot powder for a bit of a hold. Far from being a one trick pony, it's incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of desserts. I've even spread it on warm vegan buttered toast, and it was just delightful!
The cookie mix itself is made with a mix of tigernut flour and all-purpose flour. Tigernuts are actually a root vegetable and not a nut as you might think, but what I love about them is their nuttiness. Tigernut flour, which is simply just ground tigernuts, resembles almond flour and bakes similarly, while being a great nut-free alternative for those with nut allergies.
If you love thumbprint cookies of all kinds, give this recipe a try—it will not disappoint.
- Prep time 40 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- makes 12 cookies
- For the dulce de leche
full fat coconut milk
fine sea salt
- For the cookies
vegan butter, melted
unsweetened plant-based milk
- Add the coconut milk, brown sugar and salt to a small saucepan.
- Whisk together and bring to a boil. Once bubbling, decrease the heat to medium low and continue cooking for 20 minutes, or until reduced and thickened.
- Add the arrowroot powder, whisk to incorporate, and cook for another minute.
- Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Add the tigernut flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl, and mix well.
- In another large bowl, mix the maple syrup, melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Transfer the dry mixture into the liquid mixture and combine using a rubber spatula until no streaks of flour are visible.
- Scoop out a tablespoon of the mixture, and roll into small balls using your hands. Place onto a baking sheet and repeat the process with the remaining dough.
- Use your thumb to make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Remove dulce de leche from the fridge, give it a stir to loosen, and fill the center of each cookie.
- Let the cookies set for about 1 hour, then garnish with fine sea salt if desired. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.