Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – Dairy/Soy/Wheat Free

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It is hard for me to resist these little beauties.  Really hard.  They are so so good I have to put them out of sight or else I find an excuse to grab another one.  It seems I can have a little bit of dairy free chocolate in my diet, just a little, so I have to practice some major self-control when I go into the kitchen.  When I eat these cookies I don’t find myself thinking about what they are missing (butter) like I do with a lot of non-dairy sweets.  I do find myself delighted that something so delicious is so healthy, for a dessert item.  Although they are not a health food, these cookies aren’t full of fat, processed sugar or white flour.

And I’m not the only one who likes them.  These cookies even passed the “Non-Dieter” test.  I pulled out my Tupperware container full of these cookies at our Mothers Day BBQ.  The cookies were a hit and I got several requests for the recipe.  That says a lot people!  It is hard to pull off a good butter-free-chocolate-chip-cookie-like food but this one does it.

I found the basic recipe for this cookie when looking through a collection of Paleo diet recipes.  If you haven’t heard of the Paleo diet, it is also known as the caveman diet.  I’ve just recently learned of it and from what I understand, people on this diet try to eat as a caveman would, eating fruits, vegetables, meats and avoiding processed sugar, all grains, dairy and soy.  Almond flour is used in place of regular white flour in baked goods.  I’m not trying to follow a Paleo diet, just happen to almost be on it anyway with the food limitations we have, but finding a large collection of new dairy/soy free recipes has been great.

While perusing some Paleo recipes, I found a recipe for almond butter cookies in an article on “How to Have a Paleo Cheat Day.”  (There are a few other good looking recipes I haven’t tried yet.)  I didn’t have almond butter but I had some natural peanut butter and so I made them as Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.   So if you can’t use peanut butter,  try using  almond butter.

PS- Usually I’m a batter person.  I taste batters to check the flavors and I like the batters for cookies/cake more than the end result.  This was the total opposite.  I really didn’t like the batter at all.  While the first batch cooked I was betting I would have to throw the whole experiment away.  So glad I didn’t!!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

2 cups Almond Flour

1/2 cup peanut butter – I used a natural peanut butter that was a bit chunky or use almond butter if you don’t do peanuts

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 tsp salt – If your peanut butter has no salt in it I would bump this up to 3/4 tsp.

2 cups Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips or other dairy/soy free chocolate chips

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Scoop out tablespoons of dough and roll into balls.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake 8-12 min at 375 degrees F.

October Food Finds

Recently I’ve found quite a few dairy and soy free snacks for Colin and myself.  This group I found at Trader Joe’s.  Hopefully you are lucky enough to have one near you.  They have a unique selection of items and great prices.

1.  Trader Joe’s Freeze Dried Banana Chips- These are just freeze dried bananas.  They are great for us because they are just bananas, no other ingredients and they dissolve pretty quickly compared to the usual dried bananas.  I can eat them and if I break them up into little pieces, Colin can eat them.

2.  Trader Joe’s Coconut chips -These are little flakes of coconut.  They are small, like a little piece of tape.  They aren’t quite what I would think of as flakes and not quite chips.  They are sweet and crunchy and something I can have when I need that little something sweet to munch on.

3.   Trader Joe’s Top 8 Allegern Free Soft Baked Snickerdoodles –  I really like these cookies.  They are free of the top 8 allergens and are soft and chewy right out of the box.  If you’ve tasted my snickerdoodle recipe, they taste nothing like that.  They are much closer to a soft ginger snap in my opinion.  I think the dates and brown sugar in the cookie create a molasses-like flavor.  They are very very yummy!

4.   Trader Joe’s Spiced Cider – I have to put this on the list because I tell everyone about their cider.  Yes, you can get cider just about anywhere these days and adding mulling spices yourself isn’t hard, but I love this cider.  It is cider, not just apple juicen and the spices are just right.  All you need to do is warm up a mug and find a quiet place to enjoy it!

Puffy Sugared Cookies

It was really tough this summer to get to the computer.  Now that Hannah is back in preschool, I have a little more time to get pictures off of my camera and get back to my recipe blogging.  My “free” mornings aren’t all that free since I’m chasing Colin around, but when he naps I can get a few minutes of work done.

The recipe I’m sharing today is the go-to cookie in my house when I want to make a cookie I can eat. I probably make these once a month since everyone in the house likes them.  They are dairy and soy free without needing any expensive butter substitutes.  The recipe is Betty Crocker’s Stir-and-Drop Sugar Cookies.  I’ve named my post “Puffy Sugared Cookies” to give you an idea of the texture of these cookies.  Although Betty Crocker calls them sugar cookies, they aren’t the dense flat ones you put frosting on.  When I make them they come out lighter, puffy and rounded on top.  The cookie itself isnt’ very sweet, it’s the sugar pressed into the top that really makes the cookie. (So don’t skip that step!)

I’ve used regular granulated sugar to decorate the cookies, coloring it first with a drop of food coloring (see below), and I’ve also used sanding sugar, which is a slightly coarser sugar.   In the picture above the yellow cookie is has regular sugar on it and the pink cookie has the decorating sugar.  Although both tasted great, I prefer the look and crunch of the coarser sugar.

Puffy Sugared Cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup neutral tasting oil, like canola oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

Additional sugar for tops of cookies- I like coarse sugar- the colored types meant for decorating

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and oil.  Then add the baking powder, vanilla, salt, eggs, and flour, mixing between each addition.  The batter will be runny/gooey compared to most cookie batters.

Drop teaspoons of batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  I find a disher is very helpful.

Pour the sanding sugar/colored sugar you want to use onto a small plate.  Press a glass very lightly onto a cookie to grease the bottom of the glass, then press into the colored sugar.  Place the glass on the cookie again to deposit the sugar on the top of the cookie.  You don’t need to flatten the cookie, you are just pressing enough to sugar the top.  If the sugar is not sticking to the glass, try wetting the bottom of the glass very slightly with water.  Repeat the sugaring process for all of the cookies.  Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes and enjoy!

* To make your own colored sugar, place a few tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small bowl.  Add one drop of food coloring.  Stir with a spoon.  At first the coloring will ball up and it will look like it won’t combine but keep stirring and mashing the food coloring with the back of the spoon. In a few minutes you will have uniformly colored sugar.

Snickerdoodles From My Sister

I have amazing family.  Immediate, extended and the one I married into are all full of supportive wonderful people.  I have needed a lot of ears for listening, a shoulder or two to cry on, and some patient hands in the kitchen to help me in the last 7 months.   I know I am not an easy house guest to have over anymore.  I always try to bring as much food as I can with me, but family members have still gone out of their way to make food I can eat.  It is a very difficult task, especially because our list of safe foods keeps getting smaller, and I appreciate it more than they will ever know.   Sometimes I see food as a struggle and a chore, often when I am out of food ideas or just tired of making almost every single thing I eat.  Having someone else take that out of my hands, even just for one meal or snack is a such a treat.  The recipe I am sharing today is from one of those occasions.

Around Christmastime I had been busy making butter filled cookies and candies for the cookie trays I give away.  I hadn’t really taken the time to make myself any safe treats and by the time our family Christmas eve party came, I was really wishing I had made myself something.  My older sister, who makes amazing snickerdoodles, showed up with a box of snickerdoodles she had made that were dairy and soy free.   She had replaced the butter in her recipe with Earth Balance Coconut spread.  It was such a great present.  I know she went to a lot of work to find the coconut spread and make the cookies (she has two kids to look after as well).  The cookies were sweet, soft and didn’t taste like coconut at all to me.  Just yummy snickerdoodleness.  I dove into those cookies headfirst.  I think I had four or five cookies that night and continued to eat most of the batch over the next two days.  I think my sister noticed I was eating them like a starving madwoman or she is just extra awesome because she keeps making them for me almost every time I see her.

My sister gave me her recipe for snickerdoodles and I’ve tried it a few times, trying to replicate her cookies which are always so soft, they way I love them.   I think the trick to them is to underbake them.  When I cooked them until they looked totally set they were good but too crispy after a day or two for my liking.  The cinnamon-sugar rolling mixture in the recipe includes two types of cinnamon.  She has found that her favorite, the Vietnamese cinnamon, is a bit too strong if you use two teaspoons so she uses another cinnamon blend from Penzeys to balance it out.  If you don’t have these spices, just make sure to use two teaspoons of good cinnamon, not an old jar that has been in your pantry too long.  Lastly, if you can’t get your hands on the Earth Balance coconut spread, look for their Dairy and Soy Free spread.  I’ve used that and had good results.   I’ve not tried using just Spectrum shortening for the fat but that might be a workable option if you can’t find Earth Balance.

My Sister’s Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

1 cup of butter alternative like Earth Balance Coconut Spread

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Rolling Mixture:
2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon Penzeys cinnamon blend

1 teaspoon Penzeys Vietnamese cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1.5 cups of sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each and then add the vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter/egg/sugar mixture and mix. In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons of white sugar and the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Form dough into small balls (mine are each about 1 tablespoon of dough) and roll them one or two at a time in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Place dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 5-9 minutes, depending on your oven and how soft you like them.  I cook mine for 5 1/2 minutes.   They will crisp up as they cool and go great with a cup of coffee!