Add the coconut milk, brown sugar and salt into a small saucepan.
Whisk and bring to a boil. Once bubbling, decrease the heat to medium low and continue cooking for 20 minutes or until reduced in size, thickened and darker in color.
Add arrowroot powder, whisk to incorporate and cook for 1 more minute.
Remove from the heat and pour in a bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Prepare the cookies
Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Prepare the cookies by adding the tigernut flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Mix.
In a separate large bowl, mix maple syrup, melted butter, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.
Transfer the dry mixture into the liquid mixture and combine using a rubber spatula until no white flour streaks are visible.
Scoop out 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll into small balls using your hands. Place onto baking sheet and repeat the process until you have no dough left.
Using your thumb make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes.
Remove dulce de leche from the fridge, give it a stir and fill the center of each cookie with it.
Let set for about 1 hour then garnish with fleur de sel if desired. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Common Questions & Swaps
You can replace the brown sugar with coconut sugar.
No arrowroot powder? Scoop out 2 tablespoons of the caramel mixture and add it to a small bowl. Whisk in 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch until fully diluted and pour back into the saucepan.
Replace the all-purpose flour with 1 to 1 gluten-free purpose flour. I like the one by Bob's Red Mill.
This recipe was created through a partnership with Food52.
Believe it or not, when I thought of these cookies (as I was about to fall asleep, because for some reason creativity always strikes when my head is resting on a pillow!), I had only made thumbprint cookies once in my life and had never attempted making my own dulce de leche before, let alone vegan dulce de leche!
Made with coconut milk, brown sugar and salt and cooked down until thick and creamy then finished off with some arrowroot powder for a bit of a hold, this dulce de leche is rich, sweet and so satisfying! Also, it is far from being a one trick pony. It is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of desserts and I have even spread it on a warm vegan buttered toast and it was just delightful!
As for the cookie mix itself, it is made with a mix of tigernut flour and all-purpose flour. Tigernuts are actually a root vegetable and not a nut as you might think, but what I personally love about them is their nuttiness. Tigernut flour, which is simply just ground tigernuts, resembles almond flour and bakes similarly to it, while being a great nut free alternative for those who have nut allergies.
As you prepare these cookies, I encourage you to be fully present. Watch the caramel change color, thicken, and deepen in flavor. Watch it slide off your spoon into each cookie, settling nicely.
If you have tried all kinds of variations of thumbprint cookies and loved them, then give this one a try, they will not disappoint.
Also, if you’ve made these cookies yourself, I’d love it if you shared about it on Instagram and tag me (@muriellebanackissa).