Sweet Musings with a Bitterly Sharp Wit

Working for Peanuts


Let’s start the week out right with something sweet and simple: Peanut butter cookies. They come in all shapes and sizes, textures and shades of brown, and I have yet to meet a single rendition that failed to satisfy. Midterm exams are leaving me with few extra words to extoll the wonders of these nutty morsels, but a ravenous hunger for their gently salted, roasted, and rich flavors. To celebrate the diversity of the classic cookie, I present to you two distinct approaches for fellow equal opportunity cookie lovers out there.

First up, a crisp, buttery, slightly crumbly rendition speckled with bittersweet chunks of chocolate. Perfect to accompany a cup of tea or coffee, they strike me as the perfect treat to power a last-minute study session. Indulgent yet refined, they’re the sort of peanut butter cookies that could effortlessly transition from a standard snack time munch to elegant after dinner offering.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have these soft, chewy, and utterly crave-worthy cookies which conceal a stunning list of healthy qualifications. Created for a demo at the Honolulu YMCA on healthy vegan baking, these beauties are soy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and if you ask me, entirely guilt-free! Best of all, these babies can be whipped up in a flash, with pantry staples that I always keep on hand.

You can’t go wrong with either peanut-packed delight. The hardest part will be deciding which to bake first!

Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies

1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine
3/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Cornstarch or Potato Starch
1/2 Cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with silpats or pieces of parchment paper.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the Earth Balance and peanut butter at medium speed until perfectly smooth and homogeneous. Add in the brown sugar, salt, and vanilla, mixing briefly to incorporate. Gradually introduce the flour and cornstarch to the mixture, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl and ensure there are no lumps remaining. Mix just enough to fully integrate all of the dry goods. Lastly, stir in the chocolate by hand.

Turn the cookie dough out onto a lightly floured, cool surface and roll out to about 1/8 – 1/4 inch in thickness. Sprinkle additional flour over the top of the dough if it threatens to stick to the rolling pin. Use 2-inch round fluted cookie cutters, or any comparably sized shape, and punch out as many cookies as possible. Transfer them to your prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1/2 inch apart. Gather up the scraps, re-roll, and repeat until all the dough is used up.

Bake for 13 – 16 minutes, until just barely golden brown around the edges. Let the cookies finish cooling on the sheets, where they will continue to crisp as they reach room temperature. Once completely cool, store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

About 3 Dozen Cookies

Printable Recipe

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

1 Cup All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Light Agave Nectar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate, larger bowl, use a sturdy spatula to mix the peanut butter, agave, oil, and vanilla, stirring until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous. Add in the dry ingredients and stir until fully incorporated, being careful not to overwork the dough.

Use a spoon to scoop out 1 – 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie and drop each ball on your prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch of space in between. Use a fork to press a crisscross pattern into the top of the raw cookies, flattening them out slightly at the same time. If the dough sticks to the fork, very lightly grease the tines before proceeding.

Bake for 8 – 12 minutes, until just golden around the edges. Let cool completely before enjoying or storing in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Makes 1 – 1 1/2 Dozen Cookies

Printable Recipe


Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

24 thoughts on “Working for Peanuts

  1. Wow, these look great! How about the calories and other important information about these cookies. I would love to make the for my family but we all need to watch our cholesterol. Great looking cookies.

    Sent from my iPad Alberta


  2. Mmmm PB cookies! I was eyeing up the first ones but the ingredients on the second ones are winning me over!


  3. Ok, yes, can I please have a stack of both? No need to wrap, I’ll just eat them on the go! Looks delicious Hannah! :)


  4. oh man, how to choose?! ok ok, i am totally intrigued by the shortbread so that wins… at least for now :)


  5. No need to choose…I’ll try making both. Made biscotti today, why not cookies tomorrow?



  6. Oh my, there’s two. How to choose… if I had to, it would be one for each hand. :-)


  7. Those cookies caught my eye more than anything :D

    Choc Chip Uru


  8. Oooooh I love both versions and will likely make them both on the same day so that I can eat both at the same time ;)


  9. I love peanut butter cookies, are the Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies chewy or crunchy?


  10. they look delicious!


  11. Those healthy peanut butter cookies are right up my alley! As if I needed another excuse to eat almond butter though ;)


  12. Is it too greedy to want all of them?! =)


  13. Yum!! The chewy ones are definitely what I would make…but I would take the chocolate from the shortbread ones! Both look beautiful. So jealous of your Hawaiian adventures :)


  14. Wow.. These shortbread cookies look really fantastic..It looks crisp and baked well.. A lovely snack to have for afternoon tea.
    the healthy PB cookies really sound very healthy – perhaps a good guilt-free snack.


  15. Ooh delicious. Normally I think healthy schmealthy, but those look just as amazing as the other version!


  16. Soft, chewy, peanut buttery cookies?! Double YES!!!!! Stop making me hungry! :) That’s so awesome you made them for Honolulu YMCA! How long are you staying there?


    • Well I was there for two months… But sadly, just returned to the east coast a day ago. I’m missing Honolulu already!


      • Wow 2 months in Honolulu…will you recommend the city or other cities in Hawaii for vegan food? I have yet to go to Hawaii ;( ahhhh! Haha, I came back to this post because I was hungry for some peanut butter cookies. >___<


      • I’m still trying to figure out how to make a comprehensive post about all the places that I ate at, since there are so many amazing restaurants to list! Regardless, you absolutely must get out there. Hawaii (especially Honolulu) is my favorite place in the whole world. There is just nothing else like it. Try to visit in the winter since I’ll be going back then!


  17. Love the idea of peanut butter shortbread. The perfect combination!


  18. Pingback: BitterSweet's Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies | Killer Bunnies, Inc

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