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bake cookies, make friends

Recipe: gluten-free peanut butter cookies

For folks who were wondering about the famous Williamsburg Cheese Shop house dressing that *everyone* raves about, they don’t give out the recipe. However, my pal, Rob, and I tinkered with some recipes and I settled on this one which is awesome on a sandwich. Have at it!

Cookies, I lament thee. Back in the day when I lived at sea-level, I used to bake a lot of cookies. A LOT of cookies. I would crank out several double batches a week and bring them in to my department or my workplace to give out to everyone. Jeremy always claims that caffeine fuels science, but I dare say that sugar, butter, flour, and chocolate did their fair share to support science research too. I had several go-to recipes that I could whip together in my sleep and bake to perfection consistently. Oh sea-level, if there is one thing I miss about you it would be your atmospheric pressure. At my elevation, cookies don’t behave the same way. Hell, NOTHING behaves the same way. I almost gave up on baking entirely, but over the years I was able to tackle and learn about cakes (some are still in the temperamental category), and breads (I don’t do a lot of breads), and I discovered that shortbreads had fewer issues than drop cookies.

Still, I don’t bake cookies much around here… and it’s one of my favorite things to give to people. Here! Have a cookie! That’s so much easier than “Here! Have some crème brûlée!” A couple of months ago, I decided that I needed to put cookies back in the driver’s seat because to me, a cookie is a little nugget of love. When you hand out cookies, you are handing out LOVE.

let’s start with a classic: peanut butter

I chose peanut butter cookies and I chose to make them gluten-free. It’s not that I have an aversion to gluten, but I have friends who are celiac and well – it’s always good to know how to do things. My inspirations for all things gluten-free are Shauna and Danny. When I told Shauna I was making her peanut butter cookies, she told me not to bother with that old recipe. But I needed something easy because I didn’t want to have to run out to the store for ingredients, so I made a batch.

plop goes the egg

They were chewy, peanutty, and awesome. Even Jeremy, who turns up his nose at regular peanut butter cookies, polished off several of these morsels. It’s so easy to slap together that I made another batch to share with my friend, Andrew.

roll in sugar

My second batch was woefully NOT chewy. They were brittle and rather dry. Andrew and I tasted them and gave each other that look. “They’re good, but – not so chewy.” Andrew was being polite, but I said what we were both thinking, “This is too dry!” I apologized. I realize now that I had run out of peanut butter and ran to my local mountain grocer to get more. I bought a generic brand which seemed fine when I opened it, but… I used some of it this week to make a peanut sauce for Chinese noodles and it was dry and hard. Crappy peanut butter. So here is my gift to you: don’t use crappy peanut butter.

my favorite part of making peanut butter cookies

My advice, should you try this easy recipe, is to follow Shauna’s instructions. Although I made 2 dozen cookies instead of a dozen, so I guess mine are itty bittier. Oh, and use good, creamy peanut butter. There is beauty in simplicity.

cookies are a (metric) unit of joy

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
[print recipe]
from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder (1/2 tsp at 8500 ft.)
1 egg
extra white sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream peanut butter and sugar together in a bowl by hand. Beat in baking powder. Add egg. Mix until well combined. Line a baking sheet with parchment (okay, I didn’t do this, I’m a lazy bum). Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and then roll in your extra white sugar to coat. Place cookie dough balls an inch apart on the baking sheet. Gently squash each dough ball down with the tines of a fork (you can dip the fork in the sugar before each squash which results in less stickage), leaving tine marks on the dough. Squash the dough a second time, but orthogonally (at 90° from the first squashing) to make the traditional hashmark on the dough. Bake in the oven for approximately ten minutes. Shauna says the cookies are done when they feel coherent, but still a little soft. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, but let the cookies rest on the sheet for five minutes. Then set them on a cooling rack to cool for another ten minutes. Makes 1-2 dozen (depending on how big you like them).

49 nibbles at “bake cookies, make friends”

  1. Steph says:

    Thanks so much for this Jen! I’ve just had to go gluten free for IBS, and it seems that there are so many things I can’t eat. But with these, and the awesome blog you’ve flagged up, I just might be able to still eat yummy things! You’ve made my week! :)

  2. shauna says:

    Jen, wonder woman, you rock. These look fantastic!

    (And I agree. Yaboo sucks to the crappy peanut butter.)

    so much love from this house. Lu is blowing kisses.

  3. Tracy (Amuse-bouche for Two) says:

    Not to mention flour weighs down and drowns out the wonderfulness that is peanut butter. Have to make.

  4. Dawn (KitchenTravels) says:

    This reminds me of a note I read on the “Thank you, Gourmet” website a while back: (scroll to middle of page). It’s from a woman named Amy Fritch, who submitted her grandmother’s cookie recipe to Gourmet in response to their open call for recipes with 5 or fewer ingredients. *sigh* Still miss Gourmet.

    Can’t wait to try these! Curious if you use sweetened or unsweetened creamy peanut butter. I usually keep the organic, unsweetened variety on hand, but I’m worried that kind will result in drier cookies. Thanks!

  5. Stephanie in Idaho says:

    I have made these too. I am a fan of both yours and Shauna’s blogs (albiet I found you albeit at DIFFERENT TIMES!!! What are the odds?!

    Anyway, I am out of the country right now, but FIRST THING when I get home on Friday night (okay, maybe Saturday morning)…I am making these. I LOVE peanut butter.

    Have been diagnosed celiac since I was 29 years old (16 years ago, yikes), and good things…that are safe..are a welcome thing.

    Thanks Jen, you ROCK!

  6. Kristin says:

    Made the house dressing. Ate TWO sandwiches, even though it required turning my oven back on to bake another roll. Dangerous (and delicious) stuff! Thank goodness the rolls were small…but I still am not excited about the short ribs I have simmering right now for dinner. Love the shot of the unbaked cookies. They look like they’re floating in a black, black sky with stars sparkling all around.

  7. Abby says:

    I crave PB cookies much more than chocolate-chip. These look great – esp. with the perfect fork marks. I like how you think!

  8. Judy says:

    I love peanut butter cookies, especially those with the higher percentage of pb to flour. I’m curious to know which kind/brand of pb you used. I fear I’m a snob of sorts, because I refuse to use the industrial, hydrogenated, sugar-based grocery store peanut butters. I always have Trader Joe’s pure peanut butter in the pantry, and have been known to consume other brands of the pure-bred variety.

    Glad you’re home and feeling better.

  9. farmerpam says:

    I too have a celic friend. I’m convinced that just about any recipe can be made legal for her. Some work better than others, will have to make these cookies and send them her way. It’s the friends that can’t “do” chocolate that I really, really feel sorry for.

  10. Lily says:

    So simple! And looks utterly delish! This looks foolproof for even baking klutz me. Now I have a good, quick PB cookie recipe to turn to.

  11. autumn says:

    I posted about this recipe recently too, but I love (!) your addition–rolling the dough in sugar before flattening. What a great touch! I sometimes add vanilla extract too or dip half the cookie in melted chocolate, but this does take away from the awesome simplicity of this recipe. All my non-celiac friends rave about this cookie and ask for the “recipe.” It’s an across the board winner.

  12. Mrs Ergül says:

    I love how the fork marks remain even after baking! take care Jen!

  13. Karen B says:

    Only four ingredients for a cookie that looks that awesome? That’s downright dangerous! I’m also curious what kind of peanut butter you used. While we normally eat natural peanut butter, I have a jar of not-so-natural peanut butter hidden in the back of the cupboard for emergencies, like baking most cookies.

    BTW, I love the word “orthogonally”!

  14. Dani H says:

    I tried a similar flourless peanut butter cookie last summer. I made them for my grandchildren and didn’t think anything about the fact that the only peanut butter my daughter had was “low fat.” Using that was a mistake both in texture and taste. I’ll have to try again with good peanut butter. Thanks, Jen.

  15. Flo Makanai says:

    Your cookies look great and I love that they are flourless and gluten free. Thanks a lot for your absolutely fantastic pictures and great recipes!
    In my pantry, I only have salted (organic) peanut butter : is yours salted too? Mine is just peanuts and salt and super good but I’m wondering if that would be OK in your recipe.
    And I never bake with white sugar. In fact, I don’t even have white sugar at home. Do you think your recipe would work OK with organic raw sugar?
    Sorry to ask, but where I live (France), good peanut butter is a luxury (I bought mine in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2 weeks ago!). I want to bake your cookies but I would be really sorry if, because of the salt and the different sugar, I fail…
    Oh, and I have a 3rd question too : how do you manage to take perfect pictures of both your hands at the same time? Is your adorable dog pressing the shutter-release button or what ;-))
    Have a nice day.

  16. TheKitchenWitch says:

    I have gluten intolerant friends, so this recipe will come in handy! Thanks!

  17. Debbie says:

    Not much can top a good cookie in my book! Thanks for the tip on the peanut butter!

  18. Esther says:

    Oh those sound good, I’m going to have to start getting in smooth arn’t I? We normally eat the crunchy stuff but I can see smooth PB works better for such things.

  19. Allie says:

    The PB cookies that are now in my house are thanks to you… My mother is probably appreciative of that :P

  20. Jennifer says:

    You make me want to eat cookies until I die!

  21. Dharm says:

    Can I send my daughter over right now to grab a jar of those cookies?? She loves peanut butter and these cookies look just superb!

  22. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Jen, I had a laugh with you now – my brother always tells me what the reason why my coworkers like me that much is because I bring cookies to the office all the time! :)
    I tend to really mad before Xmas and bring everyone a goodie bag – last Xmas it was 38 of them, with cookies and homemade marshmallows. I love baking for them! :)

    I should make your cookies next time – it will certainly get me extra points with everyone! ;)


  23. katie says:

    Jen, which peanut butter do you use here? The kind with added sugar or the kind that’s just peanuts and salt? If I have the plain nuts and salt stuff at home do I needto add anything, you think?

    Thanks, Katie!

  24. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for the simple gluten free PB cookie recipe. I am unable to eat grains or sugar so I will be making the cookies with a sugar alternative. It is wonderful to find a recipe using ingredients in my pantry.

  25. Leitha says:

    I love these and my only addition was a touch of vanilla. It’s amazing to me how easy and fast these are to make. With two kids, these are easy and they love them, so it’s a no-brainer.

  26. Karyn says:

    Yum! These look delicious! I’m hoping my organic-just-salt-and-peanuts-peanutbutter will work with these because I see a batch in my near future…

  27. Aran says:

    perfect jen. i’ve been baking gf lately as i have eliminated all gluten from my diet so i will bookmark this one for sure. and so simple. i love it!

  28. Caroline Rams says:

    Hello and thank you very much for this nice recipe!

    It worked wonderfully, I tried it last night.
    I liked it a bit less sugary but with my own vanilla sugar ( 4 tblsp. less) and with a pinch of salt.

    I like your blog a lot, great pics and stories, thank you for sharing your ideas and experiences.


  29. Bu Guai says:

    This is a superb cookie recipe. i just tried it an hour ago. amazing result. thank you so much.

  30. jenyu says:

    Since everyone’s been asking, the first peanut butter I used was Whole Foods’ 365 brand of creamy peanut butter. The crappy brand was the generic Our Family brand that my mountain grocer carries (never again…). I think the oil content is more important than the sugar content. You can probably get away with an unsweetened peanut butter since there is a good deal of sugar added (and then rolled) to the cookie.

    Shauna – thanks for always inspiring me :) Give that Lu a hug from me.

    Dawn – I think it was unsweetened (the first one).

    Judy – oh, if I could have Trader Joe’s, I would… I certainly would.

    Autumn – agreed!

    Flo Makanai – I think they are salted… I rarely buy unsalted peanut butters and I think the recipe would be lacking the proper flavor without some salt to enhance the natural sweetness of the nuts. I’m pretty sure organic raw sugar would be fine too. The only thing to be aware of is the size of the grain. If it’s a large crystal, then it might not incorporate well – just a guess. The pictures that include my hands are easy to do with a tripod and self-timer on the camera :)

    Esther – I often think a crunchy peanut butter would add some nice texture to the cookie, no?

    Katie – I think if you use unsweetened PB, just mix it up and taste the dough. If it isn’t sweet enough, then add a touch more sugar. Honestly, I think there’s plenty of sugar.

    Aran – I cannot believe, with all of the amazing pastries you make, that you have now gone gluten-free. More power to you! I hope it makes a big difference for your condition :) xo

  31. Flo Makanai says:

    Thanks for your answer Jen. i’ll try very soon :-)

  32. Eileen says:

    I used my favorite brand, smuckers, the glass jar with just peanuts and salt. So the flavor was fantastic, and I love the simple ingredients. I prefer chewy pb cookies, but these are definitely still a great cookie. I sprinkled sea salt on half the batch – extra goodness! Thanks so much :)

  33. Nicole says:

    I love doing the criss-crossed pattern too!

    Although I must admit I don’t often make peanut butter cookies coz I think I’m addicted to it. The last time I made some I ate more than I’m used to. So no more peanut butter cookies for me…uhmmm…wait maybe if I make a half batch it wouldn’t be so bad right? hehehehe… ^_^

  34. baker says:

    two words:

  35. Ellen Yu says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. My husband loves peanut butter and he will surely love these cookies.

    I have just recently discovered your blog (thru and I became an instant fan.

  36. stephanie @ glutenfreebynature says:

    anyone try these without the egg or using egg replacer? suggestions?

  37. Peanut Butter Cookies (glutten-free) « Sweet Ginger says:

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  38. jim says:

    beautiful cookies, love your photos, looks very yummy, I’m drooling

  39. Bug says:

    So, I just pulled these out of my over about 15 minutes ago, and I must say: As a pastry chef, I feel these are the best peanut butter cookies I have ever made.

    I am somewhat poor right now, and trying to build muscle, so I go through 2+ peanut butter sandwiches a day. Because of this, the only PB I can afford is the large Skippy jars from Costco. I know organic and stuff would probably make it taste even better, however, I can say that if you cannot get that a regular brand would also make a good cookie with this recipe.

    Also, whenever a client orders something form me with vanilla beans, I always keep the leftover pods and stick them in my sugar supply, so my sugar has a delightful vanilla bean flavour as well. I feel this complimented the cookies quite nicely.

    They are very sweet, and they would be fine if you choose not to roll them in extra sugar. I was going to roll only half of them, but I got carried away and forgot :-P

    They look and smell so incredible when you take them out of the oven, it is so hard to resist the temptation to eat them right away, but they need to cool for at least 10-15 minutes! If you try eating them right away, they will fall apart (like any cookie) and burn your mouth/hands.

    Great blog, and great recipe! Thank you very much for sharing!

  40. jenyu says:

    stephanie – I haven’t tried it, but this recipe is easy enough that you could give it a test drive and see how it works.

  41. Tricia says:

    My sister-in-law is coming to visit next month and she’s on a gluten-free diet. I tried this peanut butter cookie recipe and they are fantastic! I wouldn’t have known their gluten-free if I had not made them. This is a keeper. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  42. Joann says:

    I just made these! My boyfriend is gluten-free and happens to love peanut butter so this recipe is awesome, Thanks!

  43. Gluten Free Diet Foods says:

    Really thanks for the great recipe, I love peanut butter cookies …. they are my favorite gluten free food.

  44. Out and About with the Spritzer Leyba Family » Last Minute Gluten-Free Holiday Baking says:

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  46. Gloria says:

    I love this recipe also, thank you so much for sharing!!!

  47. Abigail says:

    Hiii my friend was just diagnosed just wondering whether sun-pat was okay to use i know its not organic but it is suitable for vegetarians?

  48. jenyu says:

    Abigail – I googled the ingredient for Sun-Pat and it apparently has some stabilizer in it. Why not use pure peanut butter that doesn’t have any fillers? Then you’d know for sure that it is okay.

  49. Marina says:

    What a delicious cookie this makes, thank you!

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