Healthier peanut butter cookies! (grain-free, gluten-free, vegan)

Oh peanut butter cookies. You're awesome. I love peanut butter, a lot. In fact these days it's one of my few vices. I know that ...

Oh peanut butter cookies. You're awesome.

I love peanut butter, a lot. In fact these days it's one of my few vices. I know that it has protein and it is vegan and gluten-free and all, but there's something about peanut butter...anything that addictive can't be good for you!

 I generally follow a very healthy diet that doesn't involve a lot of bad-for-you foods. I know full well that peanut butter has it's fair share of ups and downs (like contributing to the growth of candida for example which causes mental fogginess, digestive issues and a host of other considerable health problems), and is totally debatable as a 'healthy" food but in my mind if the worst thing you're eating is organic unsweetened roasted peanut butter than you're probably doing alright! Though I generally limit my peanut butter intake to once or twice a week at the most, I have been hooked on it since my childhood. In University I would come home late from night classes and eat peanut butter straight out of the tub and on toast before bed. It was perhaps the best part of my day.

These days peanut butter is not my primary choice of spread. I usually try to abstain from it if I can muster up the will to because once I get into it I find it genuinely hard to stop eating it. I try to stay away from foods that induce a trance-like eating state because I don't think it's good for anyone to lose control with food. For me these foods include peanut butter and dairy ice cream.

Though it does pack some great vegan protein and some essential nutrients, peanut butter also packs a huge whack of fat and calories in fairly miniscule portions. I think the standard recommended serving is max about 2 tbsp, but I've never been able to stop there. It's just too damn good! That being said there are lots of great alternatives to peanut butter that don't seem to be as eerily addictive. My favorite peanut butter swap is pumpkin seed butter. It's really delicious and nutty, has a beautiful pale green color, is nut and legume free and packs a huge hit of healthy fat and protein. Pumpkin seeds also have the ability to paralyze parasites in the body, helping you to flush them out of your system with greater ease. I both make and buy pumpkin seed butter. Nuts to You is my brand of choice but there's not much of an excuse not to make it yourself. You just whiz roasted pumpkin seeds together in a food processor for a few minutes until they release their oil and become seed butter. Fresh also tastes much better.

Though pumpkinseed butter will do just fine when a peanut butter craving strikes, they are still quite different. Lately I've been trying to keep peanut butter in my life in small quantities by adding it to recipes. Because it doesn't take a lot of peanut butter to strongly flavor a dessert or drink, I find it far easier to control my portion size when I mix a little bit of it with other things. One of my favorite combinations these days is peanut butter and dates. When I'm craving something sweet and energizing I crack open a medjool date, remove the pit and smear the inside with peanut butter. Then I promptly eat it like a miniature sandwich -- HEAVEN.

Peanut butter also seems to pair well with dried figs. These delightful peanut butter cookies combine organic unsalted peanut butter with chewy figs, sweet and dense dates, and shredded coconut. The result is awesome. These cookies are sturdy, chewy and loaded with peanut butter flavor. Though they're great on their own, I prefer these smeared with some peanut butter. Insanely good.

If you like peanut butter and chocolate, these are great with some mini vegan chocolate chips thrown in. Trust me on this. My recipe below shows you how to make half the batch as plain peanut butter cookies and the other half as chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.

These delicious little cookies can easily be made peanut free by swapping the peanut butter for your favorite nut or seed butter. I recommend trying pumpkinseed butter. The best part about these cookies is they're no-bake and grain-free! They whiz up in mere minutes in your food processor, take a little nap in your freezer to firm up and voila! Peanut butter perfection.

2 Takes on Healthier Peanut Butter Cookies (one plain, one chocolate chip)
(no-bake, gluten-free, grain-free, vegan)

Part 1:
  • 3 dry turkish figs
  • 1/3 cup pitted medjool dates (loose pack)
  • 1 cup shredded organic coconut
  • pinch pink salt

Add to food processor and blend till crumbly.

Part 2:

  • 1 tsp virgin coconut oil
  • 3.5 tbsp organic smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut

Add and blend well.

Part 3:
  • 4 tsp water or coconut water

Add and blend until mixture pulls together like dough.

Part 4:

  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp raw cacao powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tsp coconut water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Add and blend well. Scoop tsps at a time and roll half the mixture into little balls. set on parchment lined pan or plate and chill in freezer to set the shape and firm up texture.

Part 5:
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup vegan mini chocolate chips (like Enjoy Life brand)

Add and blend well with remaining mixture in food processor. Roll into balls and chill in fridge like first batch. If desired, flatten each ball with fork to make cookie shapes.

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