The Washington Post

Cardamom and Rose Thumbprint Cookies

Cardamom and Rose Thumbprint Cookies 26.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Holiday Cookies 2022 Dec 7, 2022

This simple thumbprint cookie recipe is Louisa Shafia’s homage to the hamantaschen from her Ashkenazi Jewish mother’s background and the koloocheh from her Iranian Muslim father. The dough is made with chickpea flour for a vegan, gluten-free treat that comes together easily in a food processor. You can substitute an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix, or use all-purpose flour.

Don’t be afraid to use a generous amount of jam when you fill the cookies. It may look like a lot, but rather than overflow, the jam sinks as it bakes.

The flavor of rose water is what gives the cookies their distinct Middle Eastern flavor. We preferred to keep the rose water in the dough to 1 teaspoon, but if you like a more prominent floral flavor, you can use an additional teaspoon in the filling and/or fill the cookies with rose jam.

Active time: 35 mins; Total time: 1 hour 10 mins

Make Ahead: The cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Storage Notes: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days; or wrap tightly and freeze for up to 2 months.

Where to Buy: Rose water and chickpea flour can be found at well-stocked supermarkets, Middle Eastern and other international markets, or online.

26 cookies

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 26 cookies

  • 1 cup (140 grams) whole, raw almonds (may substitute equal weight of slivered or sliced)
  • 1 cup (120 grams) chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup (56 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats (do not substitute quick-cooking oats)
  • 2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) light olive oil or neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed, plus more as needed
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons rose water (see headnote)
  • 1/2 cup (170 grams) cherry jam or apricot jam (or split the batch in half and use 85 grams of each)
  • Dried rose petals, for garnish (optional)


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the almonds, chickpea flour, oats, sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and salt. Pulse to break down the almonds and oats until the mixture forms a coarse meal, 10 to 15 pulses. Add the oil and 1 teaspoon of the rose water. Pulse a few times, scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and continue to pulse until the almonds and oats are no longer visible and the dough comes together, another 15 to 20 pulses, adding more oil as needed, 1 teaspoon at a time. The dough should hold its shape when you squeeze a piece of it, as well as start to form larger clumps around the blade.

In a small bowl, stir the jam to loosen it, as needed. If desired, add 1 teaspoon more of the rose water.

Roll the dough into tablespoon-size balls weighing about 3/4 ounce (20 grams). Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Gently press a hole in the middle of each ball with your thumb, and use your fingers to shape the cookies into even rounds. Fill each indentation with a scant 1 teaspoon of the jam.

Bake, one sheet at a time, for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom. Let the cookies cool on the pan on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with rose petals, if using.

Recipe Source

From Louisa Shafia, proprietor of Feast By Louisa and author of “The New Persian Kitchen” (Ten Speed Press, 2013).

Tested by G. Daniela Galarza.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Nutritional Facts

Calories per cookie, using cherry jam: 116

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 7g 11%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 26mg 1%

Total Carbohydrates: 12g 4%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 8g

Protein: 2g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle