I'm usually able to limit my intake by never making sweet treats at home (unless it's something like homemade toffee that's getting packaged up quickly for a holiday gift).
Why? As I've mentioned here many times before, if I fix a whole batch goodies at home, I'll be the only one to eat them...and too quickly at that.
True fact about me: If I know there are sweets in the house (the only exception is bar chocolate) then my brain goes into devious let's-rationalize-why-we-deserve-the-sweet-thing-right-this-second-all-throughout-the-day mode. Because of this, it makes way more sense for me to a buy dessert by the slice or individual serving from a bakery when a craving strikes.
Which is exactly what I did last week. I went to two different places on a Thursday night and ended up buying a brownie, a doughnut, and an almond nut pastry. The first two were sooooooo dry (I guess that's my fault for buying baked goods late at night) and super sugary. The third was meh. Totally disappointing.
So I went to bed that night with an itch to do some dessert crafting of my own. To fix something totally delicious, yet not so sugary I'd feel like crap 30 minutes after eating it.
I fell asleep daydreaming of fudgy brownies, rich flourless cake, and peanut butter cookies then woke up the next day and did something totally out character: I baked cookies. Multiple batches of them, in fact.
Extreme sugar cravings can (occasionally) lead to good things, y'all. Tell that to your significant other the next time they question your need to run out and buy a pint of ice cream right this second.
And thanks to my desperate craving for a delicious yet still decent for you dessert, I accidentally created the perfect healthier cookie. (If you happen to have a gold star, A+, or "You Did It!" sticker laying around, I'd happily accept it.)
I'm not talking a tastes like cardboard and makes you want to chug a glass of water after one bite kinda "healthy" cookie.
I mean a cookie made without refined sugars, super processed oils or unpronounceable ingredients...YET it still tastes indulgent and satisfying. And it's created using simple gluten-free pantry ingredients that almost everyone keeps around (in one form or another).
Wanna know the best part? It's how good you feel after eating 1 or 2 or 3 (in a row). Regular cookies made with butter, white sugar, and flour have amazing textures, but they are typically looooooaaaaded with sugar.
There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but for those of us who have drastically reduced our sugar intake by no longer drinking soda or commercial juice and even fixing our bulletproof coffee or tea without a sweetener, anything with sugar tastes 1000% sweeter to us.
That's why my sister and I created our healthy dark chocolate covered peanut butter balls recipe. The classic version has 4 CUPS of powdered sugar. There is no way it needs that much. Sorry folks, I'm sweet enough.
The Six Simple Ingredients In The Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Okay...so let's talk about these amazing flourless peanut butter cookies and the handful of easy ingredients you use to fix them.
Peanut Butter (Natural or Regular)
First, the main ingredient is peanut butter. Magical, decadent, fat and protein-rich peanut butter.
I recently met up for breakfast with my friend Lauryn who's done months long hiking trips (think Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail) and she mentioned that the hikers burn so many calories all day long that they're pretty much ALWAYS hungry and peanut butter is a lifesaver. Like I said--magical.
Real Maple Syrup
Second, the main sweetener in the cookies is real maple syrup. This is probably my favorite unrefined sweetener right now. It's sweeter than white or brown cane sugar, so you can use less of it in baking (which is good because it's a bit more expensive) and its glycemic index score is also lower than table sugar (54 versus 65).
This means your body processes it a bit slower, so it's less likely to make your blood sugar spike. It also contains trace amounts of minerals like manganese and zinc + antioxidants.
This doesn't mean you should eat bucketloads of it--sugar is sugar--BUT, it tastes wonderful and is sweet enough that you can use less to get the same results.
I think they're perfect in these cookies because the maple flavor pairs well with the peanut butter but doesn't overwhelm it. Plus, the extra liquid in the recipe helps to keep the cookies soft!
This is the binding agent that helps keep everything together instead while also adding fat + moisture. I used both medium and large-sized eggs for this recipe and they both turned out great. Oh, and they don't need to be room temperature. That means you can bake these on the fly. :)
We're only adding a 1/2 teaspoon to each batch, but it's a necessary ingredient in order to give the cookies a bit of lift so they don't go kersplat all over the baking sheet. Why use baking soda instead of baking powder? Check out this post to learn a bit more.
Dark Chocolate Chips
Peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven. Do I have to say anything more? You can use whatever chocolate suits your fancy, but I love these bittersweet chocolate chips.
Peanut Butter & Maple Syrup For The Win
These flourless peanut butter cookies are adapted from my friend Ariana's tahini molasses cookies, which I've made before using brown sugar (I didn't have any muscovado on hand), and those are fantastic.
This time around I only had peanut butter in my pantry and wanted to give maple syrup a try instead since it's my current favorite. I was surprised at how well the cookies turned out and posted them on Instagram and Facebook. The feedback was super positive, so I decided to experiment more.
I made several batches using either natural or regular peanut butter and molasses sugar or maple syrup with varying amounts of sweetener added. I brought a plate with samples from the different batches to the gals working at my apartment complex office and had them do a taste test.
They unanimously preferred the flat, non-pretty looking maple syrup cookies. I was so surprised! They said it was because the maple syrup ones were softer and had a stronger peanut butter flavor.
When my beau had the same reaction, I went back the next day and did more recipe testing. Turns out chilling the dough for a short amount of time helps keep the very moist "dough" from flattening as much in the oven.
A Truly Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe
While one of my batches was chilling, I took to the interwebz to see if anyone else had made flourless cookies using maple syrup. I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something really obvious. I found pages of recipes that called themselves "flourless" but they all contained some kind of non-wheat flour like almond or coconut.
Umm...guys, that's still flour!?! (Sorry this kind of deceptive wording annoys me.) Anyhoo, many search pages later I found this ONE recipe that was actually flourless (ahem) had ingredients similar to my own but looked nothing like mine.
I don't know what kind of voodoo magic the blogger was cooking up, but she used natural peanut butter and no baking soda and her cookies hardly spread at all. Mine never did that. She must have used tiny spoonfuls (even though she says tablespoon in the directions), which means they hardly spread. Hmmm.
Anyway, I wanted to let YOU know that these are real flourless cookies. No nut or seed flours required.
Psssst...If you happen to make one of my recipes or DIY crafts and share it on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter make sure to use the hashtag #therisingspoon and tag my account @therisingspoon so I see it! It helps me so much to get feedback on my creations and it totally makes my day. :)
Notes & Tips
- If you're using unsalted peanut butter, you'll want to add a bit of sea salt to the dough before cooking to help balance out the flavors.
- They will be REALLY soft straight out of the oven, so if you can be patient, wait at least 30 minutes before you eat any. Trust me, the texture will be much better. I actually prefer their texture on the second day as they get a bit chewy!
P.S. Keep Reading! More Recipes From The Rising Spoon: