Any Butter (but butter) Cookies

This week I “discovered” a new (to me) cookie recipe. I’ve come to find out the basic recipe has been around forever under many different names (Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, Easy PB Cookies, the Best PB Cookies – you get the idea). They all have gotten really rave reviews, and I love easy recipes that need ingredients that you already have in your kitchen. This cookie has no flour or butter, and you would never miss either ingredient. They are crispy on the outside and chewy in the center – the best combination for a cookie!

I decided to go a little outside the box when I baked up a couple batches for my recipe demo. I made the classic peanut butter version, but peanut allergies are very common, and I had heard that these cookies worked great with almond butter as well. Well, that’s too easy, so I decided to make some with sunflower seed butter. Sunflower seed butter is tasty, and something that a lot of people haven’t tried before. The one we carry at the Co-op (Sunbutter Sunflower Seed Spread) is produced in a nut-free facility, so it is safe to consume if you are allergic to any or all nuts.It is made with 100% roasted sunflower seeds, so it is also certified gluten-free. We carry a few versions of it, but I used the organic variety.

Sunbutter Cookies © Sassy Sampler 2011

Both batches of cookies were a great success and got high marks from my tasters. Personally, I have never tasted a more peanut buttery cookie, and the sunflower cookies were a big hit (I also toasted some sunflower seeds and added them to the batter). One other thing I did that might not be the norm – when I made the classic criss-cross pattern in the top of the cookies, I dipped my fork in sea salt for the “criss” and in sugar for the “cross”. Both cookies tasted great with the savory salt and the sweet sugar on top, but the sunflower version benefited the most.

You can use any nut or seed butter when you make these cookies (hence my new name for the cookie!).Pumpkin butter ones would be great during the holidays, and I’m definitely adding chocolate chips the next time I make them!

photo nut butter cookies

Any Butter (but butter) Cookies © 2011 Sassy Sampler

Any Butter (but butter) Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c nut or seed butter (peanut, almond, sunflower, etc.)
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • ~1/4 t sea salt (only if your nut/seed butter is unsalted)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 t baking soda

Optional Extras (use about 1/3 c for dry additions)

  • Toasted sunflower seeds (if using sunflower butter)
  • Chocolate chips
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds (if using pumpkin butter)
  • 1 t vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and either lightly grease 2 cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.
  2. Beat together the nut/seed butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer (or in a stand mixer) until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add beaten egg and baking soda to any butter mixture and beat until well combined, about 3 minutes.  Add in any “extras”.  The dough will be crumbly and loose.
  4. Form 1 t of dough into a ball and place on cookie sheet, 1” apart.
  5. Flatten cookies with the tines of a slightly wet fork in a criss-cross pattern; dip fork in salt for “criss” and sugar for the “cross”.
  6. Bake until lightly golden/browned, about 8-10 minutes.
  7. Cool cookies on baking sheet for about 2 minutes and then transfer with a spatula to a wire rack to cool.

Cookies may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days.

You can decrease the sugar to 1/2 c or put in up to 1 c of sugar, depending on how sweet your nut or seed butter is and how sweet you want the cookies.

The egg is the “glue” in this cookie—you can use an alternate sugar (honey, agave, brown rice syrup, etc.), but you’ll have to adjust the amount of sweetener you add (depending on it’s sweetness).  Try about 1/3 c for a liquid sweetener.  Granulated coconut sugar isn’t recommended as the cookies aren’t in the oven long enough for it to bond with the nut/seed butter.

Slightly increase cooking time if you make larger cookies.

Any Butter (but butter) Cookies PDF

You can find a chocolate/cashew adaptation of this recipe at My Field Days – Yum!

No Bake Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

For yesterday’s Cordata recipe demo, I wanted something tasty and sweet.  Our annual staff party was Friday night (a Co-op Prom!), and I knew that I would want to have something easy to prepare because I would be doing my own preparations at home that evening.  I came across a post from Amy Green’s blog Simply Sugar and Gluten Free – No Bake Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, and I knew I had found a winner.

Amy uses only unrefined sugars in her recipes, and I have kept my eye out for something that used coconut palm sugar.  We started carrying it at the Co-op a little while ago, but I hadn’t used it in a recipe yet.  Coconut sugar is derived from the sap of the coconut palm, and is a low-glycemic sugar (it has a glycemic index of 35, which is equal to figs, quinoa and wild rice).  It is gaining popularity as an alternative to agave syrup (although this recipe calls for both).

I of course made a few artistic changes to the recipe to suit what I had in my pantry.  I used Republica Del Cacao‘s organic 75% cacao chocolate chips (in bulk!) in place of the carob chips in the original recipe (you know I’m a sucker for dark chocolate).  We do carry unsweetened carob chips in bulk, so if you are looking for the lowest sugar level possible, give those a try (we also have grain sweetened carob chips).  I also used my favorite Santa Cruz dark roasted crunchy peanut butter in place of the smooth peanut butter in the original recipe – just make sure the peanut butter you use has no sugar, as it is commonly added to most conventional brands of peanut butter.  Nature’s Path GF Corn Flakes and Puffed Rice worked really well in this recipe as well.  They are headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, a short 25 mile jaunt across the border, and are produced locally in Blaine (just down the road from my dad’s house!) as well as in Delta, BC (which is also in the lower BC mainland).

The bars were very easy to make, and turned out great.  The NP corn flakes gave them a satisfying crunch, and they were very popular with customers.  I love recipes that you can adapt to what you already have in your cupboard, and this is another gem!  They remind me of my granola bar recipe ingredient wise, but end up tasting very different.  Enjoy!

photo chocolate peanut butter bars

No Bake Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars © 2010 Sassy Sampler

No Bake Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

INGREDIENTS

For the chocolate filling:

  • 2 T organic unsalted butter (or organic shortening)
  • 7 oz unsweetened carob or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ t vanilla extract (use high quality vanilla if using carob)

For the crunchy bit:

  • 2 ½ c GF corn flakes, lightly crushed
  • 1 ½ c GF puffed rice cereal
  • ¾ c peanut butter (unsweetened)
  • ¼ c agave nectar
  • ¼ c coconut palm sugar
  • 1 ½ T organic unsalted butter (or margarine)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper (let the edges hang over the side).  Lightly mist with cooking spray.
  2. Put 2 T butter (or shortening) in the bottom of a glass or stainless steel bowl (that will fit snugly on top of a saucepan) or in the top of a double boiler.  Top with carob/chocolate chips, chopped baking chocolate, and vanilla.  Bring an inch of water to a boil and place the bowl on top of the pot.  Turn off burner.  Let sit until the mixture melts, stirring occasionally.
  3. Put the corn flakes and rice cereals in a large bowl.
  4. Put the peanut butter, agave, palm sugar, and butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil for one minute, stirring.  Pour hot peanut butter mixture over cereals and stir until coated.
  5. Press half of the cereal mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan.  Spread with the melted chocolate mixture.  Top with the remaining cereal mixture, pressing them into the chocolate mixture.
  6. Cover and refrigerate until set, about one hour.  Cut into desired size with a sharp chef’s knife.
  7. Enjoy!

No Bake Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars PDF

“Buckeyes” (Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls)

For this week’s demo, I wanted to make something sweet. If you notice the ratio of desserts to entrees that I tend to sample, you’ll see that I do have a bit of a sweet tooth, although I try to keep a balance of recipes. I haven’t demoed a sweet treat since late August, so I felt it was time!

Buckeye tree nut

Buckeye tree nut

I trolled the web and found numerous recipes for Buckeyes that sounded promising – who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate? Well, actually one mother daughter duo professed to me yesterday that they didn’t, but everyone else I talked to sure did! If you are not familiar with Buckeye trees (as probably many in WA state are not), here are a few facts: Buckeyes are nuts from trees of the same name, which are very closely related to Horse Chestnuts. They grow all over the world but in North America, they grow mostly in the southern half of the continent (you’ll find them in CA, TX and of course in OH, which is called the Buckeye state). Buckeyes and Horse Chestnuts were historically used to aid circulation in both humans and horses (hence the name).

Homemade buckeye treats are very easy to make, and taste like a really, really good peanut butter cup. I used Santa Cruz organic dark roasted peanut butter in my batch, as well as organic dark chocolate chips for the coating. Some organic powdered sugar, butter and vanilla rounded out the ingredients. This is a recipe that does not shy away from sugar, and believe it or not, I used less sugar than the original recipe called for (by about 2 cups!).

A customer and I chatted about substitutions for the recipe, and you can of course use margarine in place of the butter if you want a vegan version, but she was going to try using coconut oil instead and I thought that might work out pretty well. She was also going to replace the powdered sugar with Rapadura sugar (both powdered and the crystals) but I wouldn’t recommend that unless you know what Rapadura tastes like – it does have a stronger flavor than regular white sugars, but I think in this recipe it could work.

This is a great recipe to make with kids, as there is no oven involved – as long as there is supervision melting the chocolate (although that can be done in the microwave in a pinch, but I think it tastes better done on the stove). You can also easily halve this recipe and still have a decent amount of treats. Enjoy!

photo of buckeye peanut butter balls

Buckeyes © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Buckeyes

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 oz jar of peanut butter
  • 1 c butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1# powdered sugar
  • 4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
  2. Roll into 1” balls and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  3. Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later as the handle for dipping them).  Chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Melt chocolate chips in double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.  Stir frequently until smooth.
  5. Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick.  Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeye nuts.
  6. Place Buckeyes back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until served.  Remove toothpicks before serving.
  7. Buckeyes (Peanut Butter Balls) PDF

    adapted from www.allrecipes.com