It’s Day 12 of the “12 Days of Vegan Christmas Cookies!” I can’t believe it’s finally over! We’re going out with a bang with these Vegan Lemon Thumbprint Cookies. Soft lemony sugar cookies filled with a tangy lemon curd. Super easy and totally delicious. Let’s learn how to make them!
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Vegan Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
For the Cookies
- Vegan Butter: Vegan butter serves as a plant-based alternative to traditional butter in this recipe, providing the necessary fat for texture and flavor. It contributes to the cookies’ richness and helps achieve a tender and melt-in-your-mouth consistency.
- Sugar: Sugar is a crucial ingredient in baking, providing sweetness and contributing to the texture and structure of the cookies. It also aids in browning and caramelization during baking, enhancing the overall flavor.
- Nondairy Milk: Nondairy milk is used to add moisture to the cookie dough. It helps bind the ingredients together and contributes to the softness and tenderness of the cookies.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds a delightful aroma and flavor to the cookies, enhancing the overall taste profile. It complements the lemony notes, providing a well-rounded and balanced flavor.
- Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice: Lemon zest and juice provide the signature citrus flavor to the cookies. They add a bright and refreshing taste that balances the sweetness of the cookies, creating a zesty and flavorful treat.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch contributes to the tenderness and softness of the cookies by inhibiting gluten formation. It also helps thicken the cookie dough, improving its texture and aiding in moisture retention.
- Baking Powder: Baking powder is a leavening agent that helps the cookies rise and become light and fluffy. It contributes to the overall texture of the cookies, ensuring they are not too dense.
- Salt: Salt enhances the flavors in baked goods, including cookies. It balances the sweetness, intensifies the other flavors, and adds depth to the taste. It also helps control the fermentation of the dough.
- All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour is the main structural component of the cookies. It provides the necessary gluten for the cookies to maintain their shape and structure while baking.
For the Filling
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used in the filling to thicken it, giving it a jam-like consistency. It helps create a stable and spreadable filling for the thumbprint cookies.
- Water: Water is combined with cornstarch to create a slurry that helps thicken the filling. It ensures that the filling achieves the right texture and adheres well to the cookies.
- Nondairy Milk: Nondairy milk is a base for the filling, contributing to its creamy texture.
- Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest: Similar to the cookies, lemon juice and zest in the filling provide a tangy and citrusy flavor, creating a vibrant contrast to the sweetness of the cookies.
- Sugar: Sugar sweetens the filling and complements the tartness of the lemons. It helps create a well-balanced and flavorful filling.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is added in a small quantity to provide a natural yellow color to the lemon filling. This not only enhances the visual appeal of the cookies but also adds a subtle earthy flavor that complements the citrus notes.
Steps for Making Vegan Lemon Thumbprint Cookies (with pictures!)
- Make Cookie Dough: In a large bowl cream together the vegan butter, sugar, nondairy milk, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice with an electric hand mixer. Add the cornstarch, baking powder, salt and flour to the bowl and beat again until just combined.
- Chill: Scoop heaping tablespoon balls of cookie dough onto a baking sheet. Press your thumb into the center of each ball to create an indent. Cover the sheet with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
- Bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer indented balls of cookie dough to this sheet spacing them 2 inches apart. Place cookies in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Cooling: Right when the cookies come out of the oven you will need to reform the indent. Gently press the back of a small spoon into the center of each cookie. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the Filling: In a small cup mix together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. In a small saucepan whisk together the nondairy milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and turmeric. Bring to a boil on the stove then reduce heat to a simmer. Add in the cornstarch mixture. Continue to simmer mixture on the stove for 5 minutes. It will thicken slightly but remain pretty thin.
- Fill Cookies: Once the filling is ready, immediately fill the cooled cookies. Pour about 1 tsp of the filling into the indent you made in each cookie. Place them in the refrigerator to set for at least 1 hour.
- Serve: Dust with powdered sugar right before serving.
Tips for Making Vegan Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
- Use High-Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality vegan butter, nondairy milk, and fresh lemons to enhance the flavor of the cookies. Fresh and quality ingredients make a significant difference in the final outcome.
- Check the Consistency of the Dough: The cookie dough should be soft but not overly sticky. If it’s too sticky, you can add a bit more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency. Conversely, if it’s too dry, you can add a splash of nondairy milk.
- Chill the Dough: After mixing the cookie dough, consider chilling it in the refrigerator for about an hour. Chilled dough is easier to handle, and it helps the cookies maintain their shape during baking.
- Handle the Dough Gently: When shaping the dough into cookies, handle it gently to avoid overworking the gluten. Overworking the dough can result in tough cookies.
- Create Deep Thumbprints: Make sure to create deep thumbprints in the center of each cookie to hold a sufficient amount of filling. Use your thumb or the back of a teaspoon to create a well-defined indentation.
- Prevent Filling Leakage: To prevent the filling from leaking during baking, ensure that the thumbprints are deep enough and the edges of the cookie dough are slightly higher than the center. This helps contain the filling.
- Consistent Cookie Sizes: Keep the cookie sizes consistent to ensure even baking. Using a cookie scoop or measuring spoon can help achieve uniform cookies.
- Experiment with Filling Consistency: If you prefer a thicker or thinner filling, you can adjust the amount of cornstarch or liquid in the filling recipe. Keep in mind that the filling will thicken as it cools.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I substitute a different type of flour in the recipe?
Yes, you can experiment with different flours, but keep in mind that the texture and taste may vary. Using a gluten-free flour blend may work, but you might need to adjust the quantity and add a binder like xanthan gum for structure.
Can I use any type of nondairy milk?
Yes, you can use your preferred nondairy milk, such as almond, soy, oat, or coconut milk. Choose an unsweetened variety to control the sweetness of the cookies.
How do I make sure the cookies don’t spread too much during baking?
Chilling the cookie dough before baking helps prevent excessive spreading. Ensure your oven is preheated, and don’t skip this step. Also, make deep thumbprints to create a well-defined space for the filling.
Can I prepare the dough in advance and bake it later?
Yes, you can refrigerate the cookie dough for up to 24 hours before baking. This can enhance the flavors and make the dough easier to handle. Allow it to come to room temperature for a few minutes before shaping.
Can I freeze the cookies?
Yes, you can freeze the baked cookies for up to two months. Ensure they are completely cooled before storing in an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw them at room temperature before serving.
What can I substitute for turmeric in the filling?
Turmeric is primarily added for color. If you don’t have it, you can omit it without significantly affecting the flavor. Alternatively, a tiny pinch of saffron can be used for a natural yellow hue.
Can I use a different fruit for the filling in the vegan lemon thumbprint cookies?
While lemon is traditional, you can experiment with other fruit fillings like raspberry, blueberry, or apricot. Adjust the sugar quantity based on the tartness of the fruit you choose.
How do I prevent the filling from becoming too runny?
Ensure the filling mixture is well-cooked and thickened before adding it to the cookies. Adjust the cornstarch quantity if needed, and allow the filling to cool and set before serving.
How to Serve Vegan Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
Serving vegan lemon thumbprint cookies can be a sunshine-y experience, and there are several ways to present and enjoy these treats. Here are some suggestions:
- As a Snack: Serve the cookies as a simple and delicious snack. Arrange them on a plate or in a cookie jar for easy access. They pair well with a hot cup of tea or coffee.
- Tea or Coffee Companion: Enjoy the cookies with your favorite hot beverage. The combination of the citrusy flavor of the cookies and the warmth of tea or coffee can be a comforting and satisfying experience.
- With Vegan Ice Cream: Create a delightful dessert by serving vegan lemon thumbprint cookies with a scoop of your favorite vegan lemon or vanilla ice cream. The contrasting textures and temperatures make for a delightful treat.
- Gifting: Package the cookies in a decorative box or tin and give them as a thoughtful homemade gift. They can also make for a sweet and personalized present for friends, family, or neighbors.
- Brunch or Afternoon Tea: Include vegan lemon thumbprint cookies as part of a brunch or afternoon tea spread. They can be a light and refreshing addition to a selection of finger foods and pastries.
- Dipping Sauce: Prepare a simple vegan lemon glaze or icing and serve it on the side as a dipping sauce. This allows individuals to customize the level of sweetness on their cookies.
- Garnished with Fresh Fruit: Garnish the serving platter with fresh slices of lemon or berries. This not only adds visual appeal but also complements the citrus flavor of the cookies.
How to Store Vegan Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
Proper storage is essential to maintain the freshness and texture of vegan lemon thumbprint cookies. Here are some tips on how to store them:
- Room Temperature: Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent moisture from affecting the texture of the cookies.
- Layering with Parchment Paper: If you need to stack the cookies in the container, place a sheet of parchment paper between the layers to prevent them from sticking together.
- Freezing: Vegan lemon thumbprint cookies are generally suitable for freezing. Place the cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container or a zip-top bag. Label with the date and store for up to a month. Thaw the cookies at room temperature before serving.
- Separate Filling and Cookies: If you’re stacking cookies with a lemon filling, consider placing a small piece of parchment paper between the filled thumbprints to prevent the filling from sticking to the cookies above.
- Avoid Moisture: Keep the cookies away from humidity and moisture, as these factors can affect the texture and lead to sogginess.
- Store in a Cool, Dark Place: Choose a cool, dark place for storage. Avoid direct sunlight and also warm areas, as heat can cause the cookies to become overly soft.
- Resealable Bags: If you prefer, you can also use resealable plastic bags for storing cookies. Remove excess air from the bag before sealing to help preserve freshness.
If you make this recipe be sure to tag @censoredbaker on Instagram!Print
Vegan Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
Soft, lemon sugar cookies filled with a tangy lemon curd. Dust with powdered sugar for extra points!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Bake Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 16 Cookies 1x
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
For the Cookies
1/2 c vegan butter
3/4 c sugar
2 tbsp nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 c all purpose flour
For the Filling
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
3/4 c nondairy milk
1/3 c lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
1/3 c sugar
1/8 tsp turmeric*
- Make Cookie Dough: In a large bowl cream together the vegan butter, sugar, nondairy milk, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. This should take about 1 minute. Add the cornstarch, baking powder, salt and flour to the bowl and beat again until just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Chill: Scoop heaping tablespoon balls of cookie dough onto a baking sheet. Press your thumb into the center of each ball to create an indent. Continue until all of the dough has been used up. Cover the sheet with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
- Bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer indented balls of cookie dough to this sheet spacing them 2 inches apart. Place cookies on center rack of preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Cooling: Right when the cookies come out of the oven you will need to reform the indent. Gently press the back of a small spoon into the center of each cookie. You want to create an indent the size of a thumb. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the Filling: In a small cup mix together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Set aside. In a small saucepan whisk together the nondairy milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and turmeric. Bring to a boil on the stove then reduce heat to a simmer. Add in the cornstarch mixture, whisking continuously. Continue to simmer mixture on the stove for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. It will thicken slightly but remain pretty thin. Remove from heat.
- Fill Cookies: Once the filling is ready, immediately fill the cooled cookies. Pour about 1 tsp of the filling into the indent you made in each cookie. Transfer the cookies to a plate and place them in the refrigerator to set for at least 1 hour.
- Serve: Once the cookies are set you are ready to serve them! Dust with powdered sugar right before serving.
*Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or can be frozen for up to 1 month.
*Turmeric is added to the filling to give it a nice yellow color. It is totally optional! Beware of adding too much. If the color doesn’t look super vibrant right after adding the turmeric fear not! The color intensifies as time goes on.
Keywords: vegan thumbprint cookies, vegan lemon cookies, vegan christmas cookies, lemon curd cookies