These soft and chewy peanut butter cookies, with that classic crosshatch pattern on top, are the perfect healthier treat to have on hand during the week. Full of oats, flaxseeds, and peanut butter, they are also great for breakfast on the go. Of course, they are also vegan and gluten-free.
I believe that these peanut butter cookies are the first baked cookie recipe on my blog! I don’t know how that’s even possible considering how many batches of baked cookies we (mainly my husband Tanner) go through in our house.
Tanner loves cookies. He can eat an entire batch over the course of an afternoon. He inhales cookie dough blizzard, rows of Oreos, and organic “breakfast cookies”, which he claims are healthy. Whatever.
Cookies are actually something I used to bake for Tanner all the time when we were dating. I would make a huge batch, pop them in an air-tight bag, and store them in the freezer. Whenever Tanner came for a visit, the first thing he would do (after taking his shoes off), was head to the kitchen, open the freezer, and grab the entire bag of cookies. Not even joking! Often times I would make three different batches of cookies throughout the week because Tanner would devour them so quickly. Peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and oatmeal raisin cookies were the norm.
So, today I’m gonna share with you a recipe for soft and chewy peanut butter cookies. I will not label them “the best”, or “the greatest”, but I will call them “my favorite”. There are so many versions of peanut butter cookies available, with minor tweaks here and there, claiming to give it that edge. This recipe is nothing fancy, no unusual ingredients, but I like it the best.
If you prefer no-bake cookies, try these peanut butter & jam thumbprint cookies instead.
Tips for Making Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies
When it comes to baking with peanut butter, there’s always a discussion over which peanut butter is best. Natural or regular? Chunky or smooth? I use smooth natural peanut butter (with peanuts being the only ingredient). It tends to be thinner than “regular” peanut butter at room temperature and can separate more easily into the oil and peanut components. While regular peanut butter is perfectly emulsified and flavorful, I’m not a fan of the added sugars, salt, and extra oils it comes with.
Fats play a major role in the spread of your cookie. The more fat, the flatter and chewier to crispier the cookies. The less fat, the puffier and more cake-like cookies. The type of fat also affects the cookies. Oil, since it’s already liquid at a room temperature, produces cookies that keep their shape. Coconut oil, on the other hand, melts at a very low temperature (76°F/24°C), so cookies made with it will tend to spread out.
The type of sugar and how much you use also plays a big role. I used both coconut sugar and maple syrup very intentionally. Coconut sugar is highly hygroscopic – it attracts and absorbs moisture from the air. So, it produces cookies that stay soft and moist for days! Maple syrup is here mostly for flavor – caramel-y, sweet, warm, and floral.
The two most common leaveners in cookies are baking powder and baking soda. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. It’s activated when dissolved in liquid and combined with an acid. Baking powder, on the other hand, is a mixture of baking soda and a powdered acid (cream of tartar) built right in. These days most baking powder sold is double acting. This means that the first leavening occurs when baking powder gets wet– like when you combine the dry and wet ingredients in the recipe. The second leavening occurs when the baking powder is heated. So how do these two affect the cookies? Baking soda yields craggier and denser cookies while baking powder produces cakier, puffier cookies with smoother, shinier tops. Baking soda has also a powerful effect on how rapidly foods darken and develop browned flavors.
The main binding ingredient in these peanut butter cookies is flaxseed meal (“a flax egg”) and to some degree oat flour. Oat flour also adds moisture, producing cookies that stay nice and soft.
Cookies are generally easy to make and one of the first things a beginning baker makes. There are only six major types of cookies – molded, dropped, rolled, pressed, refrigerator, and bar – each with their own particular methods. These peanut butter cookies are molded cookies – round in shape, formed by rolling the dough with your hands, and pressed flat with a fork. To keep the dough from sticking, keep your fingers and utensils lightly dusted with flour (any flour will do).
To get super soft peanut butter cookies, bake them only for about 10-11 minutes. The tops of the cookies should look set, that’s when you want to remove them from the oven. As they cool on the baking sheet, the cookies will firm up, but still stay soft. I do this with all of my cookies and they stay soft for days! Trust me on this one.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Mixing Bowls (Set of 3, Pyrex, Glass) | 2. Baking Sheet (Pampered Chef, Stone) | 3. Cooling Rack ( Stainless Steel) | 4. Cookie Scoop (18/8, Solula, Stainless Steel) | 5. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel) | 6. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)
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These soft and chewy peanut butter cookies, with that classic crosshatch pattern on top, are the perfect healthier treat to have on hand during the week. Full of oats, flaxseeds, and peanut butter, they are also great for breakfast on the go.
Add the peanut butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil, flax eggs, and vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously to get as much air into the mixture as possible.
Add the oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until well combined. The dough should be thick and sticky.
Using a 2 Tbsp. ice cream scoop, scoop and drop cookie dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow enough space in between the cookies (they will spread slightly). I usually use 2 baking sheets with 8 cookies on each of them. Using a fork, press down slightly to flatten cookies. Turn the fork and press down on the cookie to create a crisscross pattern on top.
Bake the cookies at 350°F (175°C) until slightly golden brown around the edges, 10-11 minutes. (The cookies will be soft when you take them out of the oven, but they will firm up as they cool). Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
*2 Tbsp. (14 g) flaxseed meal + 5 Tbsp. (75 ml) water. Whisk and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Then use as instructed.
**I make my own oat flour by grinding rolled oats in a Vitamix. A cup of rolled oats will yield approximately 1 cup of oat flour.