Have you ever made whole wheat cookies? I have. I’ve tried to substitute whole wheat flour for white flour in quite a few of my cookie recipes, like snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies etc. It doesn’t usually end well which my kids do not appreciate. BUT, you can switch out whole wheat flour for white in peanut butter cookies and still have them taste so good! I have made quite a few different ‘healthified’ peanut butter cookie recipes and they’ve all been pretty good, and after a lot of experimentation, I’ve found that this recipe is the best! They are soft and chewy, even though there is no refined sugar, and they taste amazing!
So, what do I use to sweeten it? Honey and pure maple syrup. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my hubby, Scott, and I are doing a sugar fast until Thanksgiving. So, when I say sugar, I mean actual cane sugar so the sweeteners in these cookies aren’t included in that category, lucky me! A little side note, last week we had a ‘baking buddies’ group at my house and I had the girls make these cookies and homemade vanilla ice cream, also sweetened with pure maple syrup. When Scott got home from work and he saw me eating a bowl of said ice cream with crushed peanut butter cookies inside, he said something like, “Uh, Dear. I think this sort of defeats the purpose of our sugar fast.” Lol! Okay, so I may have gone a little overboard with this one, but I only host baking buddies at my house twice a year so it was a special occasion :).
Alright, now back to the cookies. I’ve made these cookies using all honey for the sweetener, and all pure maple syrup. They turned out yummy both ways, but the maple syrup cookies were a little too cakey for me and while the honey cookies were perfectly chewy, the flavor of the honey wasn’t as mild as the maple syrup, and I kind of preferred the mild flavor. So I found that combining the two sweeteners gave me a perfectly chewy and flavorful peanut butter cookie.
This cookie recipe is extremely straight forward so I won’t take you through the recipe, step-by-step, with pictures. But I will share a couple of tips that I gleaned from making these cookies so many times in the past several weeks.
I grind my own wheat with my Nutrimill wheat grinder. I’ve had this machine for several years, received it as a Christmas present from Scott, and I love it and use it often. Because I do a lot of baking foods from scratch (breads, pizza dough, tortillas etc), I use a lot of wheat flour and it’s cheaper to grind it myself. And there is something satisfying about grinding your own wheat :). This machine works very fast, is not messy at all and fits perfectly on my kitchen counter under my cupboards. I understand that most people do not have their own wheat grinders and so if that’s the case, use a good quality whole wheat flour. I’ve used King Arthur’s Whole White Wheat flour and would recommend it.
Once you’ve mixed together all your ingredients, using a cookie scoop to drop the dough onto the baking sheet will make baking 40 cookies quick and easy with very little mess; no dough sticking to hands which is always a plus.
There’s also no need to grease your baking sheet or use parchment paper. They come off with a spatula nice and easy. I was able to fit 20 cookies on my large baking sheet.
Once they get out of the oven, wait a couple of minutes before removing them from the pan to a cooling rack so that they’re not as hot and fragile. And do your best to wait to eat your first cookie until it’s cooled a few minutes otherwise you may burn your tongue and then the others won’t taste quite the same for a short while….not that I know anything about that…. I would never do something like that…I’m the epitome of patience and self control :).
My kids are obsessed with these cookies! Even though this recipe makes about 40 cookies when you use the cookie scoop, our family can finish them off in a couple of days; granted, we have seven members in our family, and 40 divided by seven equals about six cookies each, with the two youngest getting five…Or mom and dad could each have ten and the five kids could split the other twenty evenly, four a piece. You get the idea ;). And because they’re whole wheat and honey sweetened, I don’t see anything wrong with serving them as an after-school-snack. If your family is not as big as mine, or if you just want to demonstrate a little more self-control than we do, these freeze well. Just wait til they’re completely cool, stick a layer in a freezer ziploc bag, two layers if you separate them with parchment paper, and freeze them for up to a couple of weeks. I hope your family enjoys these as much as mine!
Peanut Butter Cookies
makes ~40 cookies
1 ½ c whole white wheat flour (King Arthur’s has a good brand; grinding yourself is best if you have a grinder)
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
¾ c natural peanut butter
1/3 c raw honey
1/3 c + 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
½ c (1 stick) butter, softened and cut into chunks (or melted coconut oil)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, or in a large mixing bowl and a handheld beater, mix the peanut butter honey, syrup, butter, egg and vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined. Use a cookie dough scoop, or a spoon, to drop the dough onto a large ungreased baking sheet and bake until the cookes are light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
*Can freeze a layer in a ziploc bag; can do multiple layers if you separate them with parchment paper.