Gluten Free Peanut Butter Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Caramel Thumbprint Cookies | The Baking Beauties
I know I just posted a peanut butter cookie, and I do have a few other recipes I want to share with you, but after making these gluten free Peanut Butter Caramel Thumbprint Cookies yesterday, I just had to share. This recipe converted to gluten-free quite easily, and I was quite surprised at how well everything went together. And to have such a pretty (and fancy) looking peanut butter cookie made within a relatively short amount of time, I thought it was worth sharing.

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Caramel Thumbprint Cookies | The Baking Beauties

These are simply a peanut butter cookie, that, after baking, has an indent formed in the middle. The peanut caramel cooks up nicely while you’re baking the cookies, or it can even be made ahead of time. You will have some caramel left over, which stores well in the fridge. It would be great over ice cream or spread on toast.

The flavour is even better the next day, as the peanut butter flavour really comes out. The cookie is crisp, topped with the sweet peanut caramel. The chocolate is optional, but I think it adds a nice touch.

This recipe is adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet.

I won this cookbook late last year from Foodista, and I love this book. It is a HUGE hardcover book, that although not gluten-free, is loaded with great kitchen and baking information. It is sort of like a “How-to” book, with explanations into how things are done, and why. Very informative, and the recipes are written in a way that any home-baker can follow them. I look forward to converting more of these recipes into gluten-free in the future.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
  • Yields 48 cookies
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (see Note)
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour blend (see Note)
  • 1 teasoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Peanut Caramel:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped roasted and salted peanuts
Chocolate Drizzle
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped and melted (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth and blended. Scrape down the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the peanut butter and mix until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose gluten free flour, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture all at once. Turn the mixer on low and mix until just blended.
  4. Using a small scoop (or two tablespoons), drop dough onto prepared cookie sheet in tablespoon-size mounds (I used my smallest Pampered Chef cookie scoop). You will want about 1 1/2" between the cookies. Roll each ball between your hands to get a nice round ball-shape.
  5. Bake the cookies in the pre-heated oven for 11-13 minutes, or until they are a nice light brown colour. After you have removed them from the oven immediately use the back of a kitchen utensil (wooden spoon, pizza cutter, ice cream scoop, etc) to make an indent in the middle of the cookie. You don't want to press all the way through the cookie, but you want an indent big enough to hold the caramel. I found I had to do this twice, as they puffed up right after I created the indent the first time. Remove to cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Repeat until you have baked all the cookies.
Peanut Caramel:
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the whipping cream until hot. Set aside.
  2. Place the water in a medium saucepan, and add the sugar, corn syrup and salt. (You will need a larger pan, because when you add the whipping cream, it will really boil up, make sure you have that extra space).
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Place your heated cream within arms reach.
  4. Turn the heat to high and cook the sugar mixture, swirling occasionally to ensure it is browning evenly. You want to cook the sugar mixture until it is a golden brown, keep an eye on it, because when it starts to turn colour, it turns colour quickly.
  5. Immediately remove the sugar mixture from the heat, and carefully whisk in the heated cream, adding it in a slow, steady stream. Whisk to blend the caramel well. Stir in chopped peanuts.
  6. Pour into heat-proof bowl, and set aside to cool slightly. You want the caramel to cool, but still be pourable. If it gets too cool, you can liquefy it by warming it up in the microwave a little bit.
Filling the Cookies:
  1. Spoon the peanut caramel into the depressions of each cookie. Allow the filling to cool and set for an hour before topping with chocolate (if using).
Topping with Chocolate:
  1. Place the melted chocolate in a small resealable plastic bag. Snip a tiny hole in one corner of the bag and stripe the chocolate over the top of the cookies. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden before transferring cookies to a storage container. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
  2. Adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet
Commercial peanut butter works best in this recipe. Natural peanut butter will leave you with a drier, crumblier cookie.
The all-purpose gluten-free flour mix that I use is from Cybele Pascal. It is as follows: 4 cups superfine brown rice flour, 1 1/3 cups potato starch (not flour), 2/3 cup tapioca starch.
Adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet


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  1. laurie says

    Great photos…those cookies look amazing! Your website and recipes make me feel like I can really do this gf thing. Thank you.

  2. freeeats says

    I love how many adaptations recipes can go through. :) I plan to make these peanut free, dairy free and corn free with a few tweaks. Over at my house we have those challenges on top of the gluten free thing! Sometimes I feel like MacGyver, trying to figure out how to make a recipe with "alternatives." Still loving every minute of it though and your beautiful photos serve as sustenance. Thank you!

  3. thefeistyfairy says

    Yum. My husband is always disapointed when I make peanut butter cookies. I wonder if these will change his mind?

  4. Kim-Cook it Allergy Free says

    I do not even know what to say, except that this is my dream cookie. Plus, this would earn me rock-star status with my husband if I made these. Since his bday is on Friday, I think I will surprise him with a nice plate! WOW!!!

  5. Jeanine - The Baking Beauties says

    @freeeats, the kitchen MacGyver, that's awesome! Does it involve duct tape too? 😉 It really is amazing how many changes can be made, yet it's still essentially the same thing. Let me know how your adaptions work for you!

  6. betty r says

    These cookies look amazing Jeanine! You do such a great job converting recipes to gluten free.
    Oh and peanut butter cookies rate high on my list..any which way they are made:)

  7. TC says

    These are delicious! I only did the cookie part (I sub’d in gf hershey’s kisses for the caramel)- but I’ll have to try the caramel topping at a later date! Instead of using a GF flour blend, I used 1/2 cu brown rice flour, 1/2 cu sorghum flour, 1/4 cu millet, 1/4 cu tapioca starch and 1/4 cu teff flour (since it’s such a nutritional powerhouse, I’ve been trying to slip teff into my baking). But YUM! this recipe is definitely a keeper :)

  8. Janine Granquist says

    Hi Jeanine 😀 I am a culinary arts student that struggles with being allowed to bake and cook gluten free. I just dont think they understand it yet. Anyways, we have an annual fundraiser event coming up called “Christmas Cookies” and I have been approved to make Gluten Free Cookies to sell :) We have a kitchen in another building that is never used since it was just built, so I am trying to convince them to leave it that way, so we can start offering Gluten Free items in the cafeteria and catering. I will be making all the cookies up there with the help of fellow students that are interested in gluten free baking. I am snagging a few of your recipes to use…this one in paticular! My question is…do they freeze well? I have to make 30 dz of each cookie, and I have 4 recipes. I have to make them this week, the event is a week later. Im hoping they freeze well. Thanks for the blog! Cant wait to try these out on my fellow students and the college…Im hoping for a great reaction so I can push for more GF Stuff.

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