COOKIES!!! From outer space.
Actually, not really (I know you were totally convinced, fictional reader friend). Well kind of. UGH I will try to explain.
I don't know how it is for other creatives (am I allowed to call myself that?), but I think I'm visually inspired. Like these cookie photos remind me of outer space colors and such. The only reason I bring it up is because these are some seriously delicious, classic peanut butter cookies that really aren't that alien--LOL--in concept (stay with me, fictional reader).
Rather, they came about because I needed to bring a Crowd Pleaser Cookie to a social gathering. These were people I don't know SUPER well, sooo I had to play it safe with a cookie that appears pretty normal (if we are good friends, I make no promises :D). Like I couldn't bring my salt & pepper tahini chocolate chunk cookies (from the depths of my instagram), because although they are AWESOME, pepper in cookies may be sending the wrong message to people who probably have never had pepper in their cookies. So new recipe! One without chocolate, because somebody else had brownies and, although it is still something shocking to me, not everyone adores chocolate. (Not everyone likes what you like, Alyssa.)
So I made peanut butter cookies, because I think ~95% of people like them, which meant chances that these would appease the peeps were good. Right? I'm going to generalize and say that a solid peanut butter cookie is a fan favorite that tends to perform well in most settings. It took all of 3 seconds to convince myself that yes, I could come up with an awesome peanut butter cookie that pretty much anybody should like (forgive me, peanut allergic friends). My most FAVORITE cookie from my first cookbook that I got after finding out I had celiac disease was the peanut butter cookie recipe. I've always used that one in the past, but, because I have a recipe site now, I was like shoot, I should try making my own. I also most definitely had a solid plan B to pick up store-bought cookies if things went awry.
I know we have at least 5 billion peanut butter cookies already on the internet, but these are vegan and gluten free and pretty darn easy, so maybe they are a smidge more specific(?). They have maple syrup in them because I love it, but otherwise I would say this recipe is fairly basic. BUT don't believe that these are basic cookies. Don't you dare.
What also is not basic, dear friends, are the photos. (This brings it full circle to the outer space thing.) I captured them in the evening light and on my baking sheet that has seen better days. That, plus the little sugar sprinkles all over (because it is peanut butter cookie heresy to not finish with a sprinkle of sugar) kind of make the baking sheet look like a starry galaxy, right? Just pretend.
So while the photo quality is less than stellar, and because I am a (self-proclaimed) creative and not crafty in ANY way--meaning I do not have a DIY lightbox yet and was trying to catch the last rays of autumnal sunlight when baking these little pb nuggets of awesome--my brain made the leap to "Oh! These cookies look like little pb cookie planets!" I didn't say it was sensical in any way, but here we are with little space planet peanut butter cookies that are otherwise not too crazy.
Just keep pretending like it makes sense.
Because I've basically gone full-on with an absurdly long, Star Wars-esque introduction with you all on this recipe, I thought it would be fun to sum up what these cookies are in list form (just because). They are:
- Delightfully satisfying in texture, for that PERFECT 1st bite
- Sweet & salty, buttery & peanutty, & sure to please the majority of peanut butter cookie lovers
- Suitable for vegan/vegetarian/gluten free friends (but HECK no they are not sugar free :D)
- Highly portable for get togethers (hiiiiii approaching holiday season!!!) & the recipe feeds a crowd
- Easy to throw together & mostly made of pantry staples
In other words, these are absolutely OUTTA THIS WORLD kind of cookies :)
As always, fictional reader friend, thank you for maybe reading this. And for going along with my spaceman rant that came about from bad lighting and an iPhone camera that I blame for everything (I'm done :D). Please make and enjoy :).
classic peanut butter cookies
vegan & gluten free
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 10-12 minutes
makes: 30-32 cookies (using 1 heaped Tablespoon as a measure)
⅔ cup oat flour*
⅔ cup sorghum flour (can alternatively use more oat flour)
⅓ cup cornstarch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1 ⅓ cup peanut butter*
½ cup Earth Balance or butter, softened
⅔ cup cane sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on cookies*
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
2 “flax eggs” (2 T flaxseed meal + ¼ cup warm water)*
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Combine peanut butter, Earth Balance or butter, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. If Earth Balance isn’t softened, microwave for 10-20 seconds. (You don’t want it melted, but soft enough so that is is easy to combine with other ingredients.)
Add prepared flax egg to wet ingredients, stirring to combine.
Making a well in the center, add dry ingredients to wet, stirring until fully combined.
Using 1 Tablespoon as a “cookie scoop,” put heaped tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Using a fork, do that lovely classic pb cookie criss cross pattern. Sprinkle with more sugar.
Bake at 350 on an unlined, ungreased baking sheet for 10-12 minutes*, or until cookies are ever so slightly brown on the edges. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Bring to any and every partay (except to peanut allergic peoples, not them :D.)
Can chill dough before baking, and freeze cookies for later times too.
*For a non-gluten free option, I think you could try 1 + 2/3 cup regular all purpose or white whole wheat pastry flour and nix the cornstarch and xanthan gum. I can't say for sure, because gluten is you, know, not something I can test :)
*I made my own oat flour by, per usual, dumping a bag of Trader Joe’s gluten free oats into my food processor and processing away.
*For a peanut-free version, almond butter, cashew butter, etc would work. For a nut free version, tahini might be nice. I always think tahini sounds nice.
*Coconut sugar would work as well. I love using coconut sugar for its flavor, but went traditional with these babies :).
*You could probably just use regular egg, but you might need more liquid. Perhaps a tablespoon or 2 of your milk or milk-like beverage of choice.
*An unlined baking sheet allows a slight crunch to the outside of the cookie without drying the whole cookie out. If using a very dark baking sheet, your cookies may need only 8 or 9 minutes.