Hoorah! My first official gluten-free post! I am not a gluten-free person by choice or by health, but that doesn’t mean I’m not intrigued to try trendy recipes centered around a lack of gluten. After making some tasty, yet very ugly, GF brownie cookies a month ago, I decided I would dive in again with some GF peanut butter cookies. The reason? The Higher Ed picnic, for which I also made the Cinnamon Roll Blondies and the Salted Caramel Cheesecake Dip. Why for the picnic? Because I knew there was at least one girl in Will’s program that was GF and I figured why leave her out of the fun? Plus this was a recipe that a coworker had shared and I’d been wanting to make anyways, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. So I stumbled over to Averie Cooks, a blog that I had seen pop up here and there, and decided to give these puppies a shot. If they turned out awful, then that just meant our one friend was SOL and the others could enjoyed the blondies or the dip. Seemed like a reasonable compromise to me.
As far as looks go, these turned out far superior to my other GF baking experiment. Taste-wise, they were pretty on par with the first batch of GF cookies, with the richness of the cocoa powder. Fun fact: when you take out flour and really only replace it with cocoa powder, it does make a huge difference. These at least had peanut butter, to help hold them together, which was an improvement over the previous recipe. I don’t think I mixed mine the best, but I loved how they turned out with speckled effect between the peanut butter and the cocoa powder – I thought that added more character. And according to our GF friend, these turned out well and she seemed to think they tasted good. So did a bunch of other people at the picnic, because I think we only ended up bring one home? All in all, while they were good, I’m not sure how often I’ll go through the effort of baking gluten-free. Cocoa powder is much more expensive than flour, plus the overall quality of the cookies is so much less stable. I prefer my cookies soft and gooey, not borderline crumbly the second they’re done baking. However, I will never say never, because as far as flavor quality and experimentation, these were fun to make! If nothing else, I learned that cocoa powder and peanut butter are an excellent mix 🙂
Baking Notes: Not sure I changed much of anything for this recipe. I would definitely caution to buy super creamy peanut butter, as Averie suggests in her post. I also must make smaller cookies than most of the blogger I follow, because I made at least twice as many as her recipe says it makes-oops! And lastly, things I think I could’ve done better would be to mix the batter more (I don’t have a stand mixer, what can I say?) and to squish the cookies more when making the fork impressions – mine turned out puffier than her pictures, which may have contributed to crumbliness.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (adapted from Averie Cooks; makes 2 1/2 dozen)
1 cup + 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
Combine peanut butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla, beating on medium-high speed until well-combined, about 5 minutes. Sugar should be fully incorporated by the time you stop beating the dough. Add the cocoa powder and baking soda, beating to incorporate, 1-2 minutes. The dough may be a smidge crumbly, but it should all be capable of sticking together when pinched/squeezed into balls. Add a little more peanut butter if your dough does not stick. Take a cookie scoop (about 2 tbsp in capacity) and form dough balls. Place each dough ball on a large plate and flatten with a fork, making the crisscross pattern on top, like all peanut butter cookies have. Once all cookies are prepared, cover plate (or plates) with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Once dough is sufficiently chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheets with baking mats or parchment paper, then set aside. Place about 8 or 10 cookies on each tray and bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are set and tops are just barely set (begin watching around the 7 minutes mark).You can even rotate the trays at the 4 minutes mark, for more even baking. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Let cool and enjoy!