“So wait–you’re telling me it’s a peanut butter cookie, but it’s peanut free?” Haha, yes. And nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan. And, beyond that, this recipe doesn’t rely on any esoteric peanut butter “substitutes”. Instead, we recreate the flavors of peanut butter using two seed butters.
There are a lot of people who avoid peanuts, even if not all nuts, for a variety of reasons. Peanuts are one of the most serious allergies for those who suffer from them, often causing the allergy sufferers to have to carry emergency injection pens and the like. More and more commonly in schools, meet-ups, offices, and more, organizations are making themselves peanut-free. These cookies are perfect for those places–or, just for you at home, whichever you prefer!
Let’s talk about the ingredients. What exactly are we putting in here to make them taste like peanuts?
Tahini is simply ground up sesame seeds. In most cases, it has the consistency of natural peanut butter; it’s a bit more liquidy than commercial peanut butter. Tahini is peanut-free and nut-free, because it is made up of sesame seeds. Most tahinis have just one or two ingredients: sesame seeds, salt.
Where can you find tahini? Your local health food store will probably sell it, but you might get better prices from a middle eastern food market, or Trader Joe’s (that’s where I bought mine).
Sunflower Seed Butter
I bought sunflower seed butter at Trader Joe’s, but this is another one you can probably find at the health food store, or even make your own.
If you want to make your own, (it’s delicious on toast also, by the way!) you’ll need a decent blender that’s capable of turning nuts and seeds into creamy butter. Simply put 2c of roasted sunflower seeds into the blender. You may need to add a tiny bit of sunflower oil to get things blending, adding it 1 TBS at a time. What you’ll need for this recipe is a creamy sunflower butter, (no chunks,) so if you can’t achieve this with your blender, it might be easier to just go buy some.
I used Trader Joe’s gluten-free flour for this recipe, but other pre-mixed gluten-free flours will likely work similarly. We’ll be adding xanthan gum as well, so if you choose a different blend, you may want to check and see if contains a large amount of xanthan gum and potentially adjust accordingly.
For many gluten-free baked goods, xanthan gum acts as a binder. Since we don’t have gluten, our cookies would fall apart if there were nothing holding them together. So, we add a tiny bit of xanthan gum to keep everything sticking together.
Coconut Oil in a “Mushy” State
Virgin coconut oil (as opposed to refined) will be the easiest to work with in this case, just because the temperature at which it transitions from a liquid to a solid is very close to room temperature. Our goal for this recipe is to use coconut oil which is neither liquid nor rock-solid, but kind of mushy instead.
You can gently warm rock solid coconut oil by running warm water over the jar, and you can gently cool liquid coconut oil by placing it in the fridge for a few minutes at a time.
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 1/2 c cane sugar
- 1/3 c virgin coconut oil in “mushy state” (see above)
- 3 TBS applesauce
- 1 TBS agave nectar
- 2/3 c sunflower seed butter
- 2/3 c tahini
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 c Trader Joe’s gluten-free flour
- 1 TBS xanthan gum
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit / 191 degrees Celsius.
- Combine all ingredients, listed above, in a large bowl.
- On a lightly greased cookie sheet, drop 1 TBS of dough for each cookie. Leave at least an inch and a half of space between each cookie.
- Bake the cookies at 375 degrees Fahrenheit / 191 degrees Celsius for approximately 8 minutes. Take them out right as soon as you see the first signs of brown on the cookies.