Lemons and Basil

Grandma’s Gluten-Free Organic Thumbprint Cookies

Gluten-Free Organic Thumbprint Cookies + Sprouts Bulk Bin Treat Exchange. Need I say more?

That means two things: First, I got to send and receive cookies to and from other bloggers, SO fun! Second, not only do you get this recipe, but the link to two others as well!

Believe it or not, this is actually my first cookie exchange to ever take part in. And what better way to kick off my first cookie-exchange-experience than to partner with Sprouts and their Bulk Bin Treat Exchange?! Can I just say, having a package show up on your front steps loaded with yummy sweets is about the best thing ever. EVER! My packages arrived on different days, but both were delivered while Brighton and I were out on a walk. I could not get in the house fast enough.

My first package to arrive was loaded with this delightful White Chocolate Pretzel Bark from Holly at A Baker’s House. If you’re a chocolate bark fan, {and how could you not be?!} these are for you! Sweet with the perfect touch of saltines and crunch – addicting!

My next package arrived a day or two later from Glory at Glorious Treats! She sent the most beautiful, individually packaged Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti. I’d love to tell you that these went perfect with a cup of coffee, but I’m afraid mine never made it to the coffee. One bite in and I was hooked! I loved sharing these with a few of my neighbors who loved them as much as we did!

These ladies are WAY more accomplished than I and have absolutely gorgeous blogs, make sure you check them out and get their recipes! Thank you Holly and Glory for such yummy treats!

Each of these items treats, including my Thumbprint cookies, are inspired by Sprouts large selection of bulk bin items. And while they run various items on sale each week, their Incredible Bulk Sale is just around the corner! Starting this Friday, December 9th, ALL bulk bin items will be 25% off. This is part of their 72 hour sale, so be sure to stock up on all your favorites! Hello Cinnamon Sugar Pecans and Dark Chocolate Honeycomb – my favorites!

See that sweet lady holding our adorable baby boy above? That’s my Grandma. As in Grandma’s Gluten-Free Organic Thumbprint Cookies. For as long as I can remember, she’s made these thumbprint cookies. She is 91, though as spry and energetic as she is, you’d never know. Grandma has such a jubilant spirit and is truly remarkable in all she is able to do. This petite lady still cooks for large crowds, drives herself around town, and climbs the stairs without trouble. She is truly amazing.

So many cherished memories and traditions throughout my childhood are because of this wonderful woman. And the older I get, I’ve noticed things about myself that I can’t help but believe are traits passed on from her, including my love to bake for others! Which brings me back to these Thumbprint cookies, their sweetness is subtle, allowing the nuttiness of the pecans to really shine. They are not a fluffy or chewy cookie, but have more of a shortbread cookie texture. The dough is rolled into small balls, covered in chopped pecans, and baked to a golden perfection. Of course the thumb is used to create a print in the center, hence the name thumbprints.

With such a versatile base, you can top them with whatever you’d like, but Grandma has always coated them with a light layer of buttercream frosting. So in true fashion, that’s exactly what I’ve done here. And thanks to Sprouts huge assortment of organic products, I was able to pick up organic gluten-free flour, along with organic butter, sugar, eggs and even vanilla extract to make these nearly 100% organic. Of course the delightful pecans were scooped from their bulk bins, which is ideal for baking, being that you can get as many or as few as you need!

In wanting to keep these Christmas cookies as natural as possible, rather than using the more traditional food coloring, I opted to make my own using beets and spinach. I followed the directions found here on Real Mom Nutrition, then used some of the natural food coloring to dye my organic sugar for the “sprinkles”. In the end the red is a little more pink, but the frosting tasted great and I loved having an alternative to the food dye.

If you’ve never had a thumbprint cookie before, you HAVE to make these. They’ll likely become a family favorite of yours like they are ours, and hopefully make the yearly Christmas cookie list!

Grandma's Gluten-Free Organic Thumbprint Cookies + Sprouts Incredible Bulk Bin Treat Exchange
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These Christmas classics are a favorite in our family, subtle sweet nutty cookies covered in a delightful buttercream frosting!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 64
  • 1 cup organic butter
  • 1 cup organic brown sugar
  • 2 organic egg yolks {reserve the whites}
  • 2 cups organic gluten-free flour
  • 2 cups organic crushed pecans
  • ⅓ cup organic butter, soft
  • 3 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1½ tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbsp organic milk {or replace with natural food coloring, see below}
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In medium bowl, cream butter and sugar, then add egg yolks and continue to mix well. Gradually add flour until well combined.
  3. Roll dough into small balls, then wet in slightly beaten egg whites and then again in the crushed pecans.
  4. Place cookie dough balls on baking sheet, then print thumb on cookies to create a dent in the center of each.
  5. Bake 5 minutes, remove and print again with thumb, then bake additional 5 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely before frosting.
  8. Add butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk to medium bowl, beat well until smooth consistency. Divide in two parts and add food coloring.
  9. **IF YOU ARE USING THE ALL NATURAL FOOD COLORING listed below, replace the milk in the recipe with the "dyed" water - see below.
  10. FOR THE NATURAL FOOD COLORING: I followed the instructions below from Real Mom Nutrition
  11. For the red/pink food dye: Rinse, trim, and chop 2 beets. Place pieces in a blender or food processor and grind to a pulp. Combine pulp and 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set a strainer over a bowl. Pour mixture through strainer, pressing ground beets against the strainer to squeeze out all extra liquid. Use the liquid as a replacement for the milk in the frosting recipe above.
  12. For the green food dye: In a blender, combine 3 cups spinach with ½ cup water, blend until smooth. Replace the water or milk in your frosting recipe with equal amount of the spinach mixture. Set a strainer over a bowl. Pour mixture through strainer to remove any "pulp" so you are left with the liquid only. Use the liquid in place of the milk in the frosting recipe.
If you are using traditional food coloring in place of the all natural food dye, use milk in icing as the recipe originally states.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 95 Fat: 4.9 Saturated fat: 2.5 Unsaturated fat: 0 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 12.3 Sugar: 8.5 Sodium: 2.2 Fiber: .4 Protein: .6 Cholesterol: 15.8

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This post is sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market, but all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep Lemons and Basil in action!