Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe

Not your typical peanut butter cookie recipe - but just as good. Tastes pretty darn close to the classic but without all that butter, and with maple syrup in place of the white sugar. Vegan, egg-free, and easily made wheat-free if you like.

Peanut Butter Cookies

I had my heart set on writing a peanut butter cookie recipe for Super Natural Cooking. A recipe that featured ingredients other than white flour, white sugar, and huge amounts of butter, yet somehow retained the spirit and flavor of the classic peanut-y cookie everyone loves. In the process I cooked many, many batches of bad cookies, and eventually gave up. I tried a lot of flour and sweetener combinations - nothing tasted good. One memorably bad batch tasted like un-sweet, hot, steamy nut cakes. That did me in. Flash forward two years and I'm back at it. My first try last week wasn't so great, but I think I'm really onto something with this version - you be the judge. The cookies are maple syrup sweetened and come together with just seven ingredients. I cut out the eggs and butter altogether. Bonus points for being able to lick the bowl clean and not worry about raw eggs.

I'll mention this in the head notes as well - whole wheat pastry flour is my flour of choice for these cookies. It delivers a tender crumb and traditional coloring. Spelt flour is great too - it just bakes off a bit darker, a worthy substitute for people who might need to choose spelt flour over wheat because of allergies. I did a white whole wheat flour in the past with a slightly different recipe - no good. Too dry and bread like. Vegans, these cookies are for you too - no substitutions needed.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

Spelt flour bakes into a slightly darker cookie (photo), whole wheat pastry flour is slightly blonder - more traditional in appearance in the end. Finish the cookies with chopped nuts or a sprinkling of flaky salt. I'd also recommend seeking out a peanut butter that is well combined, and not super-oily (extra slick) looking - to avoid problems with the cookie batter.

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, spelt flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup organic, chunky natural peanut butter
1 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place racks in the top third.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. in a separate larger bowl combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Pour the flour mixture over the peanut butter mixture and stir until barely combined - still a bit dusty looking. Let sit for five minutes, give one more quick stir, just a stroke or two. Now drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Press down on each one gently with the back of a fork. It's a loose batter, so if you're set on doing criss-crosses, go ahead and chill the batter for an hour or so before this step. Bake for 10, maybe 11 minutes - but don't over bake or they will be dry. Let cool five minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

Make 2 - 3 dozen cookies.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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My son has life-threatening allergies to all milk, egg, and beef products...even the tiniest bit of casein in something sends us to the ER with his airway shutting down. THESE COOKIES ARE A LIFE SAVER! We needed something yummy and easy to have on hand for playgroups and treats. Many thanks. Many, many, thanks

Ranger Trixie

It looks like you may have found success with this peanut butter cookie recipe! I am intrigued by the use of olive oil and look forward to trying the cookies out.


These look so good, I'm thinking of trying them right now!


Looks like you've got some more material for your next book! (Incidentally, I work as a bookseller, and Super Natural Cooking was my very first staff recommendation. I get such a thrill seeing people take copies home.) In the vein of whole-grain vegan sweets, the Post-Punk Kitchen has a terrific recipe for jam thumbprint cookies that also features olive oil, maple syrup, and whole wheat pastry flour, along with ground oats and almonds. (The recipe calls for raw almonds, but I find that roasted nuts help bind the dough a bit better.) Whenever I make them, they're gone in a flash. These look divine, too, of course. Thanks for getting back on the horse, Heidi -- for all our sakes! :) HS: Thanks for supporting my book Katie! The PPK cookies sound great, I'll have to give that recipe a go.

Katie Loncke

Here's another option I found that is really great... from Mani's Bakery cookbook - 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour - 1 1/2 tsp baking soda - 1 tsp salt - 1 cup natural style nut butter - 3/4 cup fruit juice sweetener such as Wax Orchards Fruit Sweet (available online) - 1 generous tsp vanilla Preheat oven to 350 degrees, use parchment paper on cookie sheets. Mix wet ingredients in mixer, add dry ingredients, beat just until combined. Make balls with 1 Tbsp of dough, then squish with a wet fork to get the traditional pattern. Bake 7-10 minutes (these are easy to overcook due to their color - watch closely, and take out when they are just barely browning on top.)


Tina, I live in Shreveport and same here on the whole wheat pastry flour. I order from King Arthur Flour. They have a lot of things I can't get here. They have an online catalog.


Somebody needs to chop up a dark chocolate candy bar or two and throw it into this mix.


Heidi, Once again, a very simple recipe that sounds intriguing! I have never used olive oil in a cookie before, but there is always a first. ;-) I do, however, love maple syrup sweetened desserts. Delish. Thanks! Amber, Your recipe really caught my eye, considering it didn't have any flour in it (a plus, in my opinion). Did you come up with it yourself? I might just have to try it! Pam, I have tried almond cookies made with ground almonds that did turn out great. I have also used almond butter in other recipes as a substitute for peanut butter with great results, so my guess would be that it could work. Let us know if you try it!

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

That's a near-perfect recipe for me. Any thoughts on using almond butter instead?


Ummm, certainly these cookies sound interesting! Flavors of the Mediterranean and Canada, with peanuts... It's not easy to find a natural peanut butter in Mexico, most of them are full of trans fats and bad stuff, but if I really exert myself in the project, I could try making my own peanut butter from scratch. Your creativity keeps amazing me, Heidi. Thanks for sharing your culinary experiments :-)


I love baking with olive oil. Maple syrup on the other hand is not one of my favorites, but I have an open mind.


I live in Texas and have checked two stores for whole wheat pastry flour. Where do you get it?


Wonder how they'd stack up against my great grandma's recipe... 1 C shortening 1 C white sugar 1 C brown sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp salt 1 C peanut butter 1-1/2 tsp baking soda 2-1/2 C flour 1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp baking powder Mix all, make balls, press with fork, bake at 350 for 14 minutes. By the way, now that you're in possession of this recipe, we're officially family. :) Amy @


I love trying out new things and this will be on the list. Currently my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe is: 1 c. organic peanut butter (can use creamy or chunky) 1 egg 1/2 c. raw sugar (can use white) 1/2 c. brown sugar 1/2 c. chocolate chips 1 tsp. vanilla extract mix together and bake at 350 until brown on edges. It makes a yummy soft cookie and there is no flour or oil. I can't wait to try yours with olive oil and maple syrup it just sounds so interesting!


they look gorgeous Heidi! they sound healthy too .. thats always a plus aint it? Thnx for this :-)


I hope peanut butter cookies guarantee a makeup. I'll make this for my girlfriend - even if I end up burning the kitchen - but if she doesn't forgive me after that, I'll know who to come after. Lol.


Peanut butter cookies are my favorite! Lucky me... I just purchased some shole wheat pastry flour and wasn't sure what to use it for yet! One question: is the peanut butter salted or unsalted... as I only keep unsalted in the house!? Oh, and I love your blog, I've been reading for a while after I discovered it via Smitten Kitchen. The two of you keep me cooking! Thanks :)


And here I am with a bag of spelt flour and a boyfriend who loves PB cookies - serendipity strikes! Many thanks for the interesting recipe.


Can't go wrong with a peanut-butter cookie recipe - yum!!


Olive oil? This recipe looks so intriguing I'll have to try it and compare to my usual butter-laden recipe.


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