Ultimate Peanut Butter Cookies

June 28, 2016

These cookies have been through at least a dozen rounds of testing, and they've become my go-to along with a chocolate chip cookie I've been testing for what feels like forever. I don't know what it is with me and cookies. With other recipes I'm happy with a couple of tests and confident that they're going to work, but cookies are a different story. I think it might be because I don't make cookies as often as other things like breads or savoury meals. Cookies are a rare treat, unlike other recipes where I'll test them a few times in the course of our regular meals.

So what's the big deal about yet another peanut butter cookie recipe kicking around? Well, I'll tell you. These cookies are, of course, healthy and dairy free, like every other recipe shared here. They are also, however, totally gluten and grain free - with the secret ingredient being some coconut flour. The high content of peanut butter plus the coconut flour makes them very high in protein and fibre. After plenty of trials, I ended up adding a bit of olive oil to improve the texture of the cookie (but just a tablespoon). They are chewy, with a bit of a crispy edge. I've brought these to the ceramics studio and made them for lots of different people, and everyone who's tried them so far has loved them - even my very crotchety pottery teacher.

The cookies are vegan as well but you'd really never know that they're missing eggs, butter, flour, and sugar. I had this idea that they could be "5-ingredients or less" but sometimes those extra ingredients make a much better recipe. But vanilla and salt don't really count, right?

I looked up a couple of grain-free PB cookie recipes before coming up with this one, but the comments and reviews were abysmal. Please keep in mind that coconut flour can vary in terms of texture and absorbability when you make this recipe and, the first time you make them, follow the instructions carefully. Everything is mixed in one bowl (I absolutely hate dishes), but you have to stir a little longer than usual and I recommend adding slightly less coconut flour and then adding more as needed. This is just the first time to test your flour, as the type I use looks like it's only available in Canada right now. I have made this recipe plenty of times, though, and it's worked perfectly every time. 

If you're not familiar with coconut flour, it's just ground up dried coconut. It's a little bit sweet, and high in healthy fats, protein, and fibre. It might seem expensive to buy the first time but you generally need very small amounts in recipes as it absorbs a lot more liquid than most other types of flour. Here is another recipe that uses coconut flour as a base, and it's a favourite. 

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Makes a dozen cookies

1/2 cup natural smooth peanut butter*
4 tablespoons coconut flour, one tablespoon at a time (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt*

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, milk, olive oil, vanilla, and salt to a mixing bowl. Stir for thirty seconds with a wooden spoon.

Add the coconut flour a tablespoon at a time, stirring for another thirty seconds with each addition (if you've already made the recipe once and the 1/4 cup flour worked well, just throw everything in and stir it up).

The mixture will thicken as its stirred, because maple syrup has a tendency to cause peanut butter to seize slightly and the coconut flour will cause it to thicken with a little time and friction. If, with the full 1/4 cup flour the dough is still runny, stir a little longer and then let it sit for a few minutes. If it is still too thin after that, add another tablespoon of coconut flour.

Once your cookie dough is thick enough, roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. Use a fork to press them down, creating a crosshatch pattern.

Bake at 350F/180 for 12-14 minutes. Cool on the pan for five minutes before removing and letting them cool completely on a wire rack. I like them best out of the fridge or freezer.

For the chocolate dip:
1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Gently melt the chocolate over low heat or with a double boiler with the coconut oil. Dip the cookies into the chocolate mixture, place them back on the lined cookie sheet, and refrigerate or freeze until the chocolate has set. I prefer to keep them in the fridge after the chocolate has been added.

1. Look for unsweetened peanut butter. You can also substitute another kind of nut butter, but I've only tried it with almond. I imagine sunbutter would work well for a nut free option.
2. My preference has been nut or coconut milk.
3. If your peanut butter has salt added, reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon.

16 comments on "Ultimate Peanut Butter Cookies"
  1. I'm so happy to have found this recipe. I love baking for co-workers, but two have a gluten intolerance and can't eat what I bake. This will certainly be brought to work in the near future.

    1. So great to hear that! I love these because they're a great allergy-friendly option as long as nuts aren't an issue.

  2. Peanut butter and chocolate are one of my favourite flavour combinations! Thanks for sharing this simple GF recipe.

  3. Now this is my kind of cookie. I have tried the simple one which is pb, egg and sugar but this definitely looks healthier. Thanks for sharing.

  4. peanut butter cookies are my fav! these look and sound ammmmazing!


  5. would this recipe work with peanut butter made from scratch?

    1. Absolutely! I don't see why not. You might have to adjust the coconut flour slightly depending on how thick your nut butter is as homemade tends to be a little less runny, but otherwise I can't foresee any issues.

  6. Could I use almond or peanut flour instead of coconut flour? My dad LOVES peanut butter cookies but he HATES coconut.

    1. You'd likely have to significantly increase the amount of flour you use if you were going to switch it out for a nut flour, as they absorb a lot less liquid than coconut flour does. That being said, I've made these for my mom, who's also a coconut hater, and she didn't notice it at all. If you're going to try it with nut flour I'd add 1/2 cup as well as a tablespoon of arrowroot powder and see if that works, but I can't guarantee anything. If you do try, please let me know how it goes!

  7. could you use honey instead of maple syrup? I am not necessarily vegan.

    1. Hi Tara! You can use honey in place of the maple syrup, but it will make them a little sweeter. I've substituted honey before with good results.

  8. can you use blue agave instead of maple syrup?

    1. I never use agave so I'm not entirely sure. I think it should work but might not make the peanut butter seize up like it needs to. You could also just add a touch more coconut flour to get it to the right consistency though. Let me know if you try it out!

  9. Could I use wheat flour instead of coconut flour? I'm out of coconut atm. Thanks!

    1. Hi Megg! I have had readers tell me they've used regular wheat flour with good results but I haven't done it myself. I think you'll just need to add a little more than you would with coconut flour :)