Last summer my family stopped by one of our favorite bakeries in McCall, Idaho. They have the most amazing, soft, huge, perfect, chocolate chip cookies in the entire universe. My older boys both got one, and my youngest asked for a peanut butter cookie instead. I looked at the cookie case and noticed the only peanut butter cookies they had were labeled “Gluten Free.” Naturally, I told my son they were out of peanut butter cookies, because why would I waste my money on gluten free baked goods?! Unfortunately the kiddo saw the peanut butter cookie in there himself, so I had to buy it. It certainly looked big and soft and perfect like the other cookies, but I secretly wondered what weird ingredient they put in there to trick gluten free people into thinking it was a real cookie. Out of habit, I snagged a big chunk of the peanut butter cookie while my 3-year old wasn’t watching. And then I was very confused. It was amazingly soft, with perfect peanutty flavor and slightly crisp edges. Perfection. I walked immediately to the counter to talk to the owner and ask her how the heck she made it. I assumed she had some amazing super-secret flour blend, but her response surprised me. “Oh, those are flour free. Actually no butter, either.” Wait, what?
She went on to tell me it was simply peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, and a dash of vanilla. That’s it. I kind of thought maybe she was lying so I could never recreate them on my own, but my curiosity got the best of me. The moment I got home I threw those ingredients together, and sure enough, they were some of the softest, most delicious peanut butter cookies I’d ever had. After some Googling (don’t ask me why I didn’t do that before throwing together my own random guessing recipe) I quickly found out these are a thing. Lots of people make them, and my measurements and ingredients were similar to most of the recipes out there, but hey, I did feel cool for 5 minutes for thinking I alone was responsible for recreating a commercial baked good.
These are seriously the easiest, quickest cookies and I almost didn’t want to tell you guys that they were gluten free, or didn’t have any butter or flour, because I know there are people out there who will dismiss this recipe thinking of it simply as a replacement if you can’t have normal cookies. Not the case. This is actually just an amazing cookie recipe and it’s simply a fun side note that they don’t have flour or butter. As proof- I honestly make these more often than any other peanut butter cookie recipe. It’s a bonus that they’re stinking fast. It literally takes me maybe 60 seconds to mix the dough. This is one of our family favorites for our weekly Monday Night Family Nights because I always have the ingredients on hand.
Here we go! This is all you need, really.
Mix peanut butter and some brown sugar.
Add in an egg. Make sure it’s a large or extra large egg.
Toss in a splash of vanilla, a pinch of salt, and a little baking soda. That’s it! Make sure you beat your dough well. I need to update this post with a picture of what the dough should look like, but if it’s soft and smooth like normal cookie dough- you haven’t beaten it long enough! In a split second it sort of changes texture and looks sort of clumpy. That’s the texture you want.
I like to roll balls in sugar and give them a little criss cross, but you could simply put spoonfuls of dough on the sheet and flatten them a little with a bottom of a cup if you’re in a hurry.
I also reeeeealy like them with chunks of dark chocolate.
The dough looks a little different, naturally, but just roll it into balls.
And either flatten slightly or with a fork.
You’ll be amazed when they come out of the oven all puffed and perfect.
You want to bake them just until the edges are set, and not overbake. In my oven 8 minutes is just about perfect.
Let them cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes so they don’t fall apart on you when you transfer them, and then put them on a cooling rack.
If you put them in an airtight container, they’re great the next day, too.
And I love that the basic recipe makes a small batch, about 20 cookies with a standard size scoop. You can easily double it if you want more.
Look at the centers of those cookies, you can tell just by looking at them that they’re soft and perfect.
Here’s a couple different graphics for pinning (just hover your mouse over the image to Pin!)
Easy Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe by Our Best Bites, inspired by Santa’s Sweet Shoppe
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large or extra large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
optional: heaping 1/2 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
(I recommend dark or semi-sweet)
optional: sugar for rolling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat peanut butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Mix for about a minute. Shape into balls, and if desired roll in sugar. Flatten with a criss cross pattern with a fork, or simply flatten with the bottom of a glass. Bake for 8-9 minutes, don’t overbake, and let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Makes 20 cookies.
Speaking of super-easy cookie recipes, if this one sounds good, you’ll probably also love this Nutella Cookie recipe- with only FOUR ingredients!