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.
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.
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.
I hope you LOVE these cookies! They’re:
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!
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (V/GF)
- 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)
- 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).
*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.