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  • Writer's pictureRobin Ankerich

Peanut Butter Cookies (That just so happen to be vegan and gluten free.)

Peanut butter has always been one of my favorites. Every single day, until the 5th grade, I had a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich for lunch. A favorite Christmas treat was my mom's chocolate peanut butter balls and everyone loves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. In middle school Home Economics class we made 3-ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies. They

were so easy and delicious and I've always enjoyed making a batch every now and then.

Recently the memory of the cookies was brought back as many people, including Alton Brown, were making peanut butter cookies because flour was scarce. Previously, I had been told that this recipe only worked with peanut butter with added stabilizers. Recipes always recommend to "avoid using natural peanut butter." I only buy natural peanut butter, usually just ground peanuts, so I wanted to test if you could make these cookies with natural peanut butter (no stabilizers or palm oil). I recipe test with "natural" (i.e. peanut butter where the only ingredient on the label was "peanuts" and the jar needed to be stirred upon opening) I found no difference or negative effect. As long as the peanut butter was stirred well, the recipe below will work with both creamy and crunchy natural peanut butters.

After settling the "natural" peanut butter debate, I needed to find a suitable egg replacement and test to see if I could replace white sugar with with raw or coconut sugar which I prefer to use as my sweeter in baked goods.

Above you will find one of my recipe tests. Listed below are the recipe variations:

  1. Peanut Butter, White Sugar, Flax Egg (1T flax meal + 3T water)

  2. Peanut Butter, White Sugar, Flax Egg (1T flax meal + 3T water)+Baking Powder

  3. Peanut Butter, Raw Sugar, Flax Egg (1T flax meal + 3T water)+Baking Powder

  4. Peanut Butter, Brown Sugar, Flax Egg (1T flax meal + 3T water)+Baking Powder

  5. Peanut Butter, White Sugar, Arrow Root Egg (1T Arrow Root + 3T water)+Baking Powder

As you can see, the first cookie, without the baking powder, spread. This is because egg proteins can provide lift by making "sturdy" air bubbles, while flax+water egg replacement can bind but does not provide the structure needed for lift. The difference between #1 & #2 was the addition of baking powder. I preferred the taste and texture of #3 & #4 (#3 uses my preferred raw sugar, #4 uses brown sugar which was also good but the molasses added additional moisture causing the cookie to spread somewhat. #5 appears to be fluffy, however, the addition of the arrow root egg caused the cookie to become crumbly and dryer than the others.

After a third test, I finalized recipe using 1 cup natural peanut butter (stirred to insure the oil and peanut butter is recombined if it has separated while in storage,) 1 cup raw sugar, 1 table spoon flax seed, 3 tablespoon water, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Yields: 12 cookies


1 Tbsp Flax Seed Meal

3 Tbsp Water

1 c Natural Peanut Butter* (stirred well)

1 c Raw Sugar**

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

(Optional: Flaky Salt)


*Processed peanut butter may work, but I did not test with it.

**Raw sugar comes in fine and coarse granules, both will work, but the cookie will hold together better with a fine sugar.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a small bowl mix together 1 tbsp flax seed meal and 3 tbsp water, set aside to gel.

  3. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the 1 cup peanut butter and 1 cup sugar.

  4. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease with oil.

  5. Combine the 1/2 tsp baking powder with the flax mixture. Then add the flax egg with the peanut butter/ sugar mixture. With a 1.5 tbsp spoon scoop or large dining spoon, scoop and ball cookie dough into 12 cookies. Use a fork to press cookies down in an # pattern (wet fork if needed to stop the dough from sticking). Optional: Sprinkle top of cookie with flaky salt.

  6. Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes (until slightly golden around the edges.

  7. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

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