August 1, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies (gluten-free and vegan)


It is easy to find recipes for vegan cookies or gluten-free cookies or even healthy cookies. But when you want one that fits the bill across the board, you sometimes have to create one yourself. That's what I did with these peanut butter cookies. 

When I cooked professionally, I put in a great deal of time into creating and executing recipes in my pastry kitchens using butter, eggs, flour, and sugar. I am armed with the experience and knowledge to do the same thing with a different and more challenging set of ingredients today. I researched through some of my favorite books and recipe archives for classic recipes and inspiration as well as some vegan and gluten-free books for ideas to convert them. I wanted the cookies to be vegan, gluten-free, and unlike many vegan recipes that call for margarine or shortening as well as white sugar, I did not want to use any processed ingredients. This is the recipe I came up with in the end. I tasted  and adjusted through the process until I felt satisfied. It is vegan, gluten-free, and made with palm sugar instead of another sweetener.

Palm also called coconut palm sugar is a crystalline sugar made from the nectar of flowers high on coconut trees. It has a similar caramel or butterscotch flavor to brown sugar, but, to me, tastes even better. It is ranked fairly low on the glycemic index at 35 and can be used to replace white or raw sugar without adjusting measurements in almost any recipe.

The finished product was very good with pronounced peanut flavor, and just sweet enough. The acid test came from my son who hates anything made with coconut oil. He ate three.

Peanut Butter Cookies (gluten-free and vegan)
30 cookies
For all ingredients, please use those that are organic or grown without pesticides.
1/ cup creamy peanut butter, unsalted and unsweetened
2/3 cup palm sugar (light brown sugar is ok)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (refined will have less coconut flavor than unrefined)
4 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons almond, soy, or rice milk
1 1/4 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (Bob’s Red Mill or Cup 4 Cup)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, sugar, coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and almond milk.
In a medium size bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Use a 1 1/4 inch ice cream scoop with squeeze release handles or 2 small spoons to divide the dough for the cookies. Roll the pieces into balls and arrange on parchment lined baking sheets. The dough will be very oily. There is nothing wrong with it other than that it will make your hands greasy.
Use the tines of a fork to press the cookies first in one direction and again perpendicular to the first press.
Put the trays in the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookies are firm to the touch.
If you prefer them to be a bit crisper, bake for an additional 2-3 minutes until the cookies start to brown around the edges. Since the recipe is vegan and gluten-free, they will be somewhat chewy in the center by the next day regardless of the cooking time.



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Categories: Cookies, Brownies & Bars, Gluten Free, Kids in the Kitchen

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