Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies ~ Gluten-Free & Vegan


Have you ever had a quest to come up with the perfect recipe? Well I've been on a journey for years to create the perfect peanut butter cookie recipe. Not just any peanut butter cookie recipe though! I set out to create one that is free of gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs and one that is naturally sweetened. To go a step further I also wanted a recipe free of starches and xanthan gum. A whole foods cookie if you will.

I haven't really been dabbling in baking that much lately. Spring is here, my 2 year old twins recently weaned, and I have been craving lighter, cleansing foods for the first time in 8 1/2 years. Yes, this is the first time I haven't either been lactating or gestating in nearly nine years! The boys sleep soundly now with their sisters for a good eleven hours. I no longer need those calorie-dense foods that baked goods provided. However, as I was turning off the light in the pantry last night, a recipe struck me. It came to me in a flash, in the amount of time it took me to turn off the light. I had to bake! At 10:30pm the cookies were in the oven and I patiently waited for the arrival of the perfect peanut butter cookie. They weren't it! Too gummy and chewy but definitely worth the effort to tweak the recipe and try again.

I have found that using just a tad too much chia seeds can cause the whole recipe to turn into a gummy mess. Chia seeds are similar to flax seeds though with more binding power. I add them to green smoothies if I want my smoothie to be my breakfast and keep me full until lunch. They are also delicious sprinkled over your morning hot breakfast cereal or over a bowl of fruit.

I played with the recipe a bit this morning, with less chia seeds this time, and came up with something I think you will like. My taste testers (the children and parents at school) all gave me two thumbs up today so I am calling this recipe blog worthy and hoping that you all will enjoy it too! I'll probably still continue to test this recipe to see if it can be any more delicious. I'd love to hear your feedback if you make them. :)

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are true to their name: peanut butter. The flavor of the peanuts shines through and isn't masked by any other ingredients. They are crispy on the outside, chewy in the center. I tested them with both sucanat and coconut sugar. The batch with coconut sugar is slightly less sweet. My bet is that any granulated sweetener will work here, such as maple sugar or turbinado sugar. My preference is for coconut sugar which is a low-glycemic sweetener. My taste testers noted that this recipe might do best using salted peanut butter (I used unsalted in my test batches). Sunflower butter is another option for those of you who need to eat nut-free. One of the batches I made used half sunflower butter and half peanut butter. To grind chia seeds, place at least 1/4 cup into a coffee grinder or Vita-Mix. Store any leftovers in a glass jar in the fridge. Enjoy! :)

Yield: About 2 dozen 2-inch cookies

Wet Ingredients:
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
1/4 cup very hot water
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut sugar or sucanat
1 cup creamy organic peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups sorghum flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the ground chia seeds and hot water into a medium-sized mixing bowl; whisk together until stringy, about 30 seconds. Then add remaining wet ingredients. Using an electric mixer, beat until incorporated, about 60 seconds.

Add dry ingredients and beat again until the dough forms a ball. The dough is sticky and may ride up on the beaters. If this happens just turn them off and scrape down the dough then mix again. Use enough flour until the mixture holds together well.

Roll dough into balls, place onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and press down using the tines of a fork. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Source: www.NourishingMeals.com

Other cookie recipes you might like:

31 comments:

  1. I'm not sure which is the more exciting news ... that the boys are weaned and sleeping 11 hours a night or that you've come up with this awesome cookie. ;-) I think both are pretty amazing. I will definitely try these now that I have some chia seed on hand. :-)

    Thanks, Ali!

    Shirley

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  2. Wow, we are seriously on the same wavelength, Ali. I made some peanut butter muffins a couple of days ago with chunky peanut butter, chia seeds, maple syrup and some other ingredients. No xanthan gum, but I did add a little starch. They were just so-so. I've got some orange bread in the oven right now with chia seeds and oat flour (and other stuff). I'll keep you posted. We are both on the no xanthan gum quest!

    In the meantime, it appears you came up with a winner with these cookies. Not only to do they sound good, they are beautiful!

    Happy spring!
    Melissa

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  3. Oh yes, these look delightful, especially from day 3 of the elimination diet (minus the smoothie part since D seems like might *never* wean!)! :-).

    Wow! 11 hours of sleep! That sounds dreamy!

    Maybe I'll make them for some friends since I do miss baking. Cooking elimination diet meals has been a lot less time consuming than most of my kitchen projects!

    Thanks for all the yummy recipes!

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  4. Love this. I've only recently discovered the goodness that is chia seeds! I will have to locate coconut sugar and then I'm game!

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  5. YES! MY DREAM COME TRUE! and not xanthan even! Wow, I have made so many "meh" batches of sunbutter cookies I can't even count. These look GREAT. I need to try them ASAP! I was just going to embark on yet another attempt at Sunbutter cookies to take on a car trip with me this weekend, so I will have to give these a shot instead! Your baking genius inspires me. I'm much better with vegetables than I am with flours. :) And by the way, I just made the zucchini bread from your cookbook, with stevia instead of sugar! So good! THANK YOU!
    -Kim | www.affairsofliving.com

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  6. I am always in search of two 'perfect' GF cookie recipes: PB and chocolate chip. This month I rented a commercial kitchen and will be testing this one for sure.

    That is SO true about chia seeds! I just got some chia seed flour, and one too many stirs, my batter was a gummy glob.

    Curious why no xanthan gum? I'm a little suspect, since its made from corn and I'm sure GM.

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  7. I find the same thing when using chia as an egg sub. But I do like it for some of the moister recipes, such as spice cakes. These cookies look wonderful--and of course the cross-hatch pattern is essential if you want authentic cookies! ;)

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  8. You must have been reading my mind, not two days ago I was searching your sight for a peanut butter cookie recipe! I am so excited, I will be making these soon. Also I have never tried chia seeds, thanks for sharing, I always enjoy your posts!

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  9. So what happens if I use Flax, I don't have any chia seeds, and I don't believe I can get any anytime real soon. I would have to do mail order or drive an hour and a half.

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  10. Hi Ali!

    How exciting the boys are sleeping a full 11 hours!!! Do you sleep 11 hours too? Gosh, I wish I could sleep for that long!

    I have a question that's not related to these delicious looking cookies. I was wondering what brand you use for spices? I just picked up some organic turmeric today by Simply Organic. I remember writing them in the past about gluten and I believe their response was, if it had gluten in it, it would be listed in the ingredients. So it made me wonder how safe it is to be eating these spices... Just wondering what brand you use and how you get around the cross contamination issue with this. (I did a search on the blog in case you've written about this before but couldn't find anything so I apologize if I missed it in a post somewhere!)
    Thanks so much! Enjoy the sunshine this afternoon :)

    Emily

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  11. These were yummy! I used brown rice flour cause that's what I had. ;-)

    Next time I will try them with sorghum. Thank you so very much for working on xanthan gum-free recipes!!!

    ~Lisa

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  12. Do you think it would be okay to use almond flour for this recipe?

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  13. Thank YOU! My 8 yr old daughter and teenage son ate the entire batch yesterday. Apparently they have been in a state of cookie-deprivation! They have requested that I make them again today. Do you think they would work with almond butter? I might give it a try. Thanks again, Pamela

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  14. These were yummy! thanks again!

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  15. I just wanted to thank you for all these wonderful recipees. I've been gulten free for a year and been desporate to find healthy recipees and not just "just like white bread' stuff. I've also been looking for how to get milk and corn and eggs in less abundance... we got yoour book and my husband hasn't comlained about anything!(except the hemp milk, can a person be allergic to it?). Also the smoothiees have been a mircle at getting my daughter to eat her greens. So thank yu thankyou thankyou!

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  16. It's Day 8 of the Elimination Diet for me and I am starting to dream about peanut butter cookies. I imagine this is normal, but I'll be delighted when I can make these and eat them too! I think at this point, it's not even safe for me to think about making them for friends, lest I eat the whole batch myself. Not that I am starving myself on phase 1--all the foods are quite good, but I do miss sweet cookie and pancake like foods!

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  17. Hi Ali,
    Your blog is a lifesaver. I recently had to go gluten and dairy free because I am breastfeeding my son, who has allergies. I've been going crazy trying make meals that include foods other than meat and potatoes. For the past several weeks I've been able to do my weekly meal planning from your website. We all feel better already.
    Today I made these cookies. They're delicious but a little crumbly... Did I do something wrong?
    Also, do you happen to have a recipe for gluten, dairy and egg free teething biscuits? I can't find any in stores and generally feel much better making my little man's food at home anyway.
    Thanks so much for all of your amazing recipes!
    Hope you are enjoying longer days and more sunshine.

    Katey

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  18. I haven't been experimenting with anyone's recipes at all lately (I keep going back to a delicious oatmeal chocolate chip one I have). I really need to try this one with Sunbutter when I get more time!

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  19. Thanks all for your lovely comments! We are in Hawaii right now on vacation and obviously have been a little absent on the blog. As far as your questions.....

    Joelle - I would try ground flaxseeds in place of chia, possibly using 3 to 4 tablespoons of ground flax.

    Emily - I will get your your spice question in more detail in an upcoming blog post but for now, know that I buy my spices from Penzeys.

    Kaes - I actually wondered that myself. I would try almond flour, you may need to use more - say 2+ cups.

    mE - Thanks for your kind words. Totally possible that your husband could have a problem with hemp milk (or something else that is in the hemp milk).

    Katey - Thanks for your comment, if too much flour is added to the dough the cookies could get crumbly. Gluten-free flours pack down easily in a measuring cup causing more flour in the dough than is necessary (this is what may have happened).

    thanks again everyone for your sweet comments. off to the beach soon! -Ali :)

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  20. I just made a variation of these and WOW they are amazing! I love the PB (I used almond butter) and applesauce combination! So creamy! Tomorrow, I'll be posting my results on my blog, with credits! Love these!

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  21. i want to make these with raw tahini and sweeten with dates. and if i make the date puree, do you think i could just leave out the applesauce?

    i'm new at this kind of baking. (and you guys and your blog are really awesome!)

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  22. Lori - glad to hear your cookies turned out well with all of your modifications! Yum! :)

    Stimulusx - Yes, I think that the date puree could sub for the applesauce. However, the acids in the applesauce react with the baking soda here so you would want to use baking powder instead. The cookies may not be as crunchy, but if that is not a problem then go for it! I'd love to know how they turn out. :)

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  23. Thank you for the nice recipe. I modified it a bit and the result was great so I wanted to let you know. I used half quinoa and half sorgho for the flour. Instead of the peanut butter, I used sunflower butter as suggested. I replaced the oil with applesauce ( I doubled the applesauce). Thanks for a great cookie recipe!

    Pascale

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  24. do the chia seeds need to be ground? my partner made these, and said it took him a really long time to grind them.

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  25. I am so excited. I am baking these right now, with 3 variations, 2 TSP cacao powder and 1 TSP maca root powder (making it healthy comfort food for that time of the month),and I used agave and a bit of organic maple syrup for sweetening because its what I had on hand. The dough looks nice, and tastes great. Can't wait to eat them!!

    Thank you!

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  26. Do you think I can freeze these? I want to make them ahead of time for a party. Couple days before at least. Thanks!! Looks good!

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  27. Hi,
    I am a mom trying to write a cook book and I don't know where to start. Could you help?
    Thank you

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  28. These cookies were SO GOOD! I used a run-of-the-mill GF flour mix rather than sorghum, but they were fabulous! Thanks for the recipe!

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  29. I made these last night, and they turned out great! The batter definitely kept coming up the beaters as I mixed it, but scraping it down & adding a little more flour did the trick. Thanks for the recipe!

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  30. Hello... I just had to leave a comment.

    I've made this recipe several times now and LOVE it! These are my favorite cookie and everytime anyone tries them, they are their favorite too. And I love that I can sub what I have on hand and they work just fine.

    Really great recipe. In fact, I have some in the oven as I type!

    THANK YOU!!

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  31. These cookies had a great taste! However I did find them a bit crumbly. The one ingredient I had to change was peanut butter to almond butter, would that make a substantial difference?

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Thanks, and as always, Happy Cooking! Ali & Tom