Vegan Salted Caramel Coconut Thumbprint Cookies are chewy on the inside with crisp, golden edges, and a heavenly salted caramel date filling. They’re the perfect (secretly) plant-based cookie to add to your holiday cookie roundup. Allow me to introduce you to the most heavenly vegan cookie there ever was. These beauties are whole-grain, completely plant-based, and decidedly decadent-tasting.
They get a triple dose of coconut goodness from coconut sugar, coconut oil, and coconut flakes, but the richness of salted caramel is still the standout flavor.Does your family have any traditions when it comes to Christmas cookies, or do you switch it up year by year? Growing up, we’d always bake peanut butter blossoms (my all-time fav!) and pecan snowball cookies. I always liked to throw in some type of fudge or chocolate-y clusters, too. Oh, and every year, without fail, we’d have a gift box of assorted Russell Stover Chocolates (which I’d always manage to get my paws on before anyone else) on the table, just to cover all our bases.
As I get older, reminiscing on family traditions and creating new ones are my favorite part of the holidays. And now I may have a new recipe to add to my yearly Christmas cookie tradition!Classic thumbprint cookies are shortbread-based and filled with a fruity jam. If dates aren’t your “jam”, feel free to fill them with your favorite homemade or store-bought jam. Raspberry or apricot are my two personal go-to’s, and they’re a great flavor match for coconut.
Using white whole wheat flour in the dough yields a more tender crumb than classic whole wheat flour, while slipping in extra fiber and nutrients.
Adding flaky salt overtop tempers the sweetness of the sticky-sweet dates and heightens the coconut flavor. The dough can be made and refrigerated one day ahead if you’re trying to get a jumpstart on baking this season, but I’d wait to bake and fill the cookies until the day of serving for best results.
I hope you add these blissful bites to your holiday cookie roudup this season!
- ⅓ cup pitted medjool dates
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- ¾ tsp. sea salt, divided, plus more for sprinkling overtop
- 4 Tbsp. unsweetened cashew milk
- 3 Tbsp. desiccated coconut flakes
- Place dates in a bowl filled with warm water. Let stand 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine sugar, oil, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer; beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Turn mixture to medium-low and gradually add flour, stopping to scrape down sides as needed, until incorporated. Continue on medium-low speed and add ½ tsp. of the salt, and cashew milk in 1 Tbsp. increments until mixture starts to come together as dough. Turn off mixer and shape mixture into a ball of dough, pressing any loose bits into dough; remove from mixer.
- Place coconut flakes in a small bowl. Carefully roll dough mixture into 15 or 16 uniform balls. Roll balls in coconut flakes and place on prepared baking sheet. Using your index finger or thumb, press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about ½-inch deep (if edges of cookie start to break, simple press back together).
- Bake cookies at 375°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and gently press thumb back into indentation. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Drain dates and place in a mini food processor or blender with remaining ¼ tsp. salt. Blend for 2 minutes, gradually adding warm water in 1 Tbsp. increments until dates become smooth and jammy (about 3 to 5 Tbsp. water total.) Fill each thumbprint indentation with salted caramel date mixture. Sprinkle flaky salt overtop.