Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (V/GF)

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Cutting board with a glass of dairy-free milk and stack of our Peanut Butter Cup Cookies recipe

Christmastime has always meant Christmas cookies.

My sister and I used to go to my aunt’s house and decorate sugar cookies along with an assortment of other goodies for our family’s Christmas dinner.

If you haven’t guessed yet, I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth. The only difference between 30-year-old me and 10-year-old me is a wee bit of self-control. I no longer eat 3 cookies before dinner and 13 after. I enjoy one or two – you know, the way a normal human should indulge.

Making strides, people, one year at a time.

Whipping peanut butter for our amazing Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

These peanut butter cookies are adapted from my Fluffy Vegan Gluten Free Sugar Cookies – a must-try for the holiday baking season. This recipe requires just 1 bowl and less than 1 hour to prepare!

While sugar cookies will always have my heart, chocolate and peanut butter will forever be my favorite flavor combination. When you combine that into a cookie, I can barely contain myself. It’s a miracle I was able to hand off more than half of this batch to friends. They’re that good! Undetectably vegan and gluten free.

Parchment-lined baking sheet filled with peanut butter cup cookies ready for baking

The base for these gems is peanut butter, aquafaba, vegan butter, and cane sugar. The flours are almond and my DIY gluten free blend, and cornstarch helps bind and puff these babies up into fluffy perfection.

All that’s left is a dairy-free peanut butter cup to smash into the center while they cool off. Then it’s straight into your mouth, where they will bring you so much joy you won’t be able to stand it.

Parchment-lined baking sheet filled with freshly baked gluten-free vegan Peanut Butter Cup CookiesStack of our gluten-free vegan Peanut Butter Cup Cookies recipe

I hope you LOVE these cookies! They’re:

Tender
Peanut buttery
Chocolaty
Salty-sweet
Super indulgent
Insanely delicious
& PERFECT

This is thee perfect cookie for cookie exchanges, holiday parties, or homemade gifts this holiday season. They won’t last long wherever you take them!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers + happy baking, friends!

Stacked Peanut Butter Cup Cookies for a delicious gluten-free vegan dessert

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (V/GF)

Easy 1-Bowl Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanut Butter Cup Blossoms! Tender, salty-sweet, gluten-free, and perfect for the holidays!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Cutting board filled with Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
4.77 from 13 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 18 (cookies)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup softened vegan butter (1 stick = 1/2 cup // or dairy butter if not vegan)
  • 2/3 cup organic cane sugar* (plus more for rolling)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine from a can of cooked chickpeas // or 1/4 cup (50 g) pumpkin purée* // amount as original recipe is written)
  • 1/4 cup salted creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch sea salt (add 1/4 tsp if peanut butter is unsalted // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size)
  • 2/3 cup almond flour* (or sub more cornstarch or gluten-free blend)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1 1/3 cup gluten-free flour blend* (plus 1-2 Tbsp more as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size)
  • 15-18 mini vegan peanut butter cups (such as Justin’s brand)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Add softened vegan butter to a large mixing bowl and beat until creamy and smooth - about 1 minute.
  • Add sugar and mix on medium speed until fluffy and light - about 1 minute. Then add vanilla and chickpea brine (or other egg substitutes*) and mix again, scraping down sides as needed.
  • Add peanut butter and mix once more. Then add baking powder and sea salt and blend to combine.
  • Lastly, add almond flour, cornstarch, and gluten=free flour blend and mix on low until the ingredients are combined.
  • The dough should be thick and almost difficult to mix at this point. If too soft, continue adding 1 Tbsp each gluten free flour blend, almond flour, and cornstarch until a thick, moldable dough is formed. If it is too dry for some reason, add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) almond milk and stir. Then transfer dough to the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes*.
  • Use a cookie scooper (I like this one) or Tablespoon to measure out 1 1/2 Tbsp amounts of dough and gently roll into balls - the dough will still be soft, so be gentle. Arrange on the parchment-lined baking sheets and press down gently with the palm of your hand to smash slightly (see photo). The cookies won't spread much, so don't worry about giving them too much room on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 11-12 minutes or until the cookies appear fluffy and the edges are slightly beginning to dry out. Remove from oven and immediately press an unwrapped peanut butter cup down in the center of the cookies. Don't press too hard or it can crack too much. Be gentle - they only need to be inserted enough to stick in place. Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely (expedite cooling time by transferring to refrigerator).
  • Enjoy as is or with a glass of DIY Almond Milk or Hot Cocoa! Storage: Once cooled, store leftover cookies covered at room temperature for 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.

Notes

*If you’d like to cut back on sugar, sub 1/3 cup of the sugar with 1 packet (~3/4 tsp) stevia extract- I like Trader Joe’s brand (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). This will make the cookies softer, so you may need to add more gluten free flour, almond flour, and/or cornstarch to help thicken the dough.
*The chickpea brine substitutes an egg in this recipe. In its place, you can also try subbing 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1 egg replacer, or 1 small chicken egg if not vegan (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). I haven’t tested it with a flax egg or any of the other substitutes and can’t guarantee the results.
*If not gluten-free, you can try subbing the almond flour and gluten-free flour blend with unbleached all-purpose flour.
*The almond flour in this recipe isn't replaced well by almond meal, so be sure to pick up flour! I included a link above. If you have a nut allergy, you can try subbing the almond flour with additional gluten free flour blend.
*You can make the cookie dough ahead of time and refrigerate up to 2-3 days in advance. Simply let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before scooping and baking. It should be soft and moldable.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 18 cookies.

Nutrition (1 of 18 servings)

Serving: 1 cookies Calories: 263 Carbohydrates: 26.6 g Protein: 5.4 g Fat: 16.1 g Saturated Fat: 6.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 105 mg Fiber: 2.1 g Sugar: 13.6 g

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  1. Dani says

    I am from Italy and we don’t have the mini vegan peanut butter cups here, so I made them with chocolate chips and they are absolutely delicious! Thank you for this wonderful gluten free recipes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Wonderful! Thanks for sharing, Dani! Next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Christy, a couple other readers have modified with all purpose. To see what they did, you can press “ctrl+f” on a PC or “command+f” on a mac and a find bar should pop up that allows you to search for specific words in the post and comments. Try “regular” as a search word. Hope that helps!

  2. Kat says

    Justine’s pb cups say may contain milk (at least the ones occasionally sold here ’bouts do), how are they considered vegan?

    I’m not vegan, just curious. I do sadly have to battle a dairy allergy though (amongst many others). So I’ve been looking for safe pb cups forever.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kat, when it says “may contain milk” that usually means that while none of the ingredients used to make it contain milk, it may be processed on the same equipment as something that contains milk. So it will depend how strict you need to be.

    • Charlotte says

      Hi, I have contacted Justin’s about this. They stated that the dark chocolate pb cups are indeed vegan but made in a facility that uses milk. Because they sell their product out of the US and some countries are requiring the wording to say, “contains” rather than “may contain” they are changing the packaging to suit all countries. They assured me they intend the dark chocolate to remain made with out milk.

  3. Ree says

    So these were my favorite cookies growing up, except for we would roll the cookie dough into balls and put them into mini muffin tins. Under bake the cookie slightly like 9 to 10 minutes. Pull out of the oven and immediately shove a mini peanut butter cup into each cookie and let them cool completely in the muffin pan. I haven’t had them in like 10 years and I’m going to use this gluten free recipe to make it happen. Thank you so much.

  4. Lyssa says

    I was wondering if it would work to sub coconut oil for the vegan butter? Due to corn and soy allergies we don’t have a safe vegan butter. Do you think it would work?

  5. Anne says

    I made these today, I used 2 cups of flour in place of gluten free flour and almond flour. I did also use cornstarch. And I used two flax eggs. I think I made the cookies a little smaller than I should have, because one peanut butter cup was too much, I cut them in half. They were seriously seriously good……. I cannot wait to serve them on Christmas.

  6. Melissa Gillaume Cappaert says

    Excellent recipe. I used 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour in place of the other flours because I’m not GF. I didn’t add the arrowroot starch. I will definitely make this again! Thanks for another incredible recipe Dana!

  7. Erin says

    Lovely recipe! I used 1 and 3/4 cups of regular, all-purpose flour instead of a GF blend. The first time I made them I used the Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups (not vegan), and they tended to spill over. This most recent time I made them using the Justin’s brand pb cups (vegan). I think the cups themselves are a little taller, so they withstood the cooling process. These turned out so scrumptious and everyone I’ve given them to raves about them. They’re a great alternative to the overly sweet cookie that people receive around the holidays.

  8. Sarah says

    Hello!

    I just made these cookies with a flax egg instead of Aquafaba and 2 cups AP flour instead of the gluten free blend. My dough turned out very dry but adding another flax egg fixed it right up! These turned out lovely and delicious :)

  9. Anne says

    I’m going to make these for Christmas this year! I’d like to try a non gluten free version, so I’ll sub 2 cups flour for the almond and gluten free flour. Do I still use cornstarch? Can’t wait! Bought my peanut butter cups today!

  10. Samantha says

    Hi Dana

    This looks brilliant and I’m looking forward to trying it out. I’m allergic to chick peas (and eggs). Would banana work as a binding agent and if so how many would you suggest?

    Thanks so much.

    Sam

  11. Caitlin says

    I found this recipe last Christmas. I LOVE peanut butter and dark chocolate and knew I had to make this the minute I saw it. It was and is still my favorite cookie of all time. Thanks so much, Dana!

  12. DSommer says

    Made this today and they came out perfectly. The cookie is a bit dry for my taste but goes perfectly with some almond milk.

  13. Beth says

    This is Christmas as a vegan and we made lots of cookies to keep with tradition. These are a holiday “must” in my family, so thanks a ton for gifting us this recipe. We’re not GF, so I subbed regular flour but 2 1/4 cups made a very dry dough and cookie. I’ll cut way back on that next year, but otherwise, a yummy addition to my vegan Christmas :)

  14. Stephanie says

    These are, hands down, the best gluten free cookies I have ever made. I gave them to my students today and they were shocked that they were gluten free. I used an egg (I’m not vegan) but I did use vegan butter. I can’t wait to make these for Christmas! Thanks for your amazing recipes :)

  15. Emiliy says

    I just posted a picture of these on Instagram because they are too good not to. Absolutely love them! My favorite cookie so far this holiday! Thank you!

  16. Susanna says

    Dana,

    Do you have any high altitude recommendations? I have tried making a few baked good recipes and they haven’t been turning out as well as I’d hoped and I think being a resident of the Mile High City might be the cause…

      • Susanna says

        They end up really dry when I bake them and often burn. I don’t have this issue on non baked good items from your blog. I’ll play around with it, but if you think of any specific changes that might work, please let me know!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi there! Not sure why they’re burning. I’d say next time, cut back slightly on the gluten free flour blend and cornstarch. They may be drying out the dough too much. And also don’t worry about chilling! That can dry the dough a little, too.

        • DSommer says

          I’m in the mile high city as well I just added a bit more flour and a little almond milk. I also cut the cooking time to 9 mins.

  17. EG says

    These look so fantastic!! Quick question on the aquafaba: when using canned beans is it best to look for the low sodium variety? Or just regular ol’ chickpeas? Thanks!!

  18. Sabrina B says

    your peanut butter chocolate predilection is one shared by me, but don’t usually see this often in a cookie, at least not recently, so thank you for sharing this! Also, thank you for the lower sugar option, I prefer them less sweet!

  19. Colleen says

    Hi Dana,
    I love your recipes!
    Do you think brown rice flour alone would work for the gluten free blend? I have almond flour, as well as arrowroot and cornstarch, but don’t have a gluten free blend on hand. I do have organic wheat based flour on hand but was hoping to make it gf. Do have thoughts on which would work better? The brown rice or the wheat based?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, it may work! I haven’t tried it that way. But perhaps that mix of ingredients would work! Let me know how it goes.

      • Colleen says

        Well, I have had mixed results with rice flour in the past (not with your recipes) and I had spelt flour on hand, so I used that instead. Not gf, but they are beautiful looking, healthy, and delicious! I made these for my husband who loves Reese’s Pb cups but I like to provide better quality choices for him! Thanks Dana for hitting another recipe out of the ball park!

  20. Annette says

    I have made a regular (non-GF, non-vegan) version of these for years and have since become GF, I’m so excited to be able to indulge again…yay! Just a suggestion, I have always made mine in mini muffin pans and then the on cup fits better and I think they look a bit cuter. I think chocolate kisses would be perfect on top too!! Thanks! Can’t wait to try it out!!!

    • Vanessa says

      Annette,
      Me too! Mini muffin tins work like a charm. Hoping these remind me of the non-GF version I made last year.

  21. Cindy says

    This looks superb! Anything PB in my books is sure to be a winner. :)
    I can’t wait to make this for holiday potlucks (and personal snacking… needs) but I have a couple questions:
    1. Are there any subs for the cornstarch? I don’t have any. Also, I’m not GF so I’d be using WW flour or spelt flour. Would that make a difference?
    2. Would coconut oil work instead of the vegan butter?
    3. I don’t have a mixer. Would some old-fashioned arm power and a good whisk work the same?

    Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      1. Try Arrowroot! I haven’t tested with spelt but give it a try!
      2. I haven’t tried that, but let me know if you do!
      3. Should work!

    • Laura ~ Raise Your Garden says

      If you don’t have a mixer, you might want to check the goodwill or Salvation Army. I’m not kidding! My mom just scored the $300 stand Kitchen Aid Mixer for $20 bucks! And she’s giving it to me because she has two already. Most gals get one when they get married (not me, haha, I knew no one was spending that chunk of change) and then toss it. They are out there and it has rocked my world. These cookies look divine and totally, yes, Christmas and cookies go hand in hand!

      • Debbie says

        Laura,
        Wow, what a great idea to look for a Kitchen Aid Mixer at Goodwill or Salvation Army.
        Thanks for the brilliant suggestion.