Mmmm…peanut butter. Is there really any food that’s more versatile or more delicious? It’s perfectly at home in both sweet and savoury applications. It’s uses know no bounds. I challenge you to come up with a peanut butter combination that I would be unwilling to eat (as long as it’s still vegan of course 😉 ). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I ever have a kid and I find out that they’re allergic to peanut butter, there would only be one solution…adoption. Now some may think that sounds cruel, but let’s be honest here people, peanut butter’s been with me my whole life, through the good times and the bad, providing comfort and yummyness. Just the slightest whiff brings up so many happy nostalgic memories of Christmas, baking, eating Thai food or even just eating it from a spoon straight from the jar (something that’s actually a joy to get up to do in the middle of the night 😉 ). It’s loyalty is unwavering and steadfast. How can any child ever hope to compete with that?
Speaking of peanut allergies though, for those of you who have them, get the EpiPen ready, because baby, you’re not going to be able to resist these puppies. Now for those of you who are allergic and are getting really angry at me right now for saying that, all I can say is, you’re clearly a glutton for punishment, why are you even reading this post? It’s clearly about peanut butter, so don’t get all hypocritical indignation on me now (…or, you know, alternatively, you could recreate this same recipe with any other nut butter, or faux peanut butter and save yourself a trip to the emergency room and possible death. But what’s life without a little danger?)
These cookies are most definitely not your average peanut butter cookies. You may baulk at first when you find out what’s in them, but hear me out first. Even when the idea for them first came to me I said to myself “Amber, this could be the worst idea since the Flobee,you may be forced to enter witness protection and flee the country if this goes badly, are you sure you should do this?” But then I told that inner voice “you know nothing John Snow!!!….errr…Amber!!! Where would we be if Steve Jobs had listened to an inner voice questioning the viability of a little computer we call Apple?” (yes, I just compared a cookie to the entire Apple Empire because I think big like that).
Anyway, enough nonsense, on with the cookie explanation! I basically decided with these that I wanted to kick up the savouriness and the texture a notch. With that in mind, for texture, I toasted some quinoa (yeah for pretending to be healthy!), which added a subtle yet delicious crunchiness, definitely score one for that decision on my part. If you decide to attempt this recipe, feel free to add more (or less) quinoa depending on how much of a crunch you’d like to have. Ok, now this next part is the part I’m a little nervous about sharing with you. I replaced part of my flour with nutritional yeast, and then, in the middle of each cookie, I put about a teaspoon of Daiya cheese. I know you might be throwing up in your mouth a little over that one. I was nervous too. Which is why I waited with bated breath while Kevin tried one after it came out of the oven (I just told him that they were peanut butter cookies with a few “secret” ingredients. I didn’t want him biased before the trying). After working his way through two cookies in quick succession, they were declared an unparalleled success. Huzzah! (Now before you go saying he was just lying to my face to be nice, he really wasn’t. He’s the worst liar about those kinds of things, I can always tell just by his facial expression if he loves it or hates, so he doesn’t even bother trying to lie).
Well folks, on with the recipe – it’s Peanut Butter cheesy time. Feel free to sit back and read this recipe with jar of peanut butter at your side for inspiration 🙂
Yield: Approx. 20 medium sized cookies
1 egg replacer
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan butter)
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups of flour (I like to use bread flour because I find it makes the cookies chewier, but you could just use whatever you have)
1/4 nutritional yeast (I buy this at Loblaws in the organic section, and most health food stores carry it as well)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 tablespoons pre-soaked quinoa
1/4-1/3 cup Daiya Cheddar shreds
Sea salt (I’d meant to sprinkle sea salt on the tops of my cookies before baking, but then completely forgot. I definitely recommend doing this however, as that was the one thing I felt was missing. This is seriously a case of do as I say and not as I do 😉 )
1.To toast the quinoa – heat up a small pan on stovetop over medium heat. Put quinoa in pre-heated pan and periodically shake the pan, or lightly stir until quinoa starts to turn brown (depending on your stove, it should take approximately 5 minutes, but keep an eye on it, you don’t want it to burn). Remove from heat and allow to cool while you prepare the cookie dough.
2.Using an electric mixer, in a medium sized bowl, combine egg replacer, peanut butter, butter, coconut oil, brown sugar and vanilla. Mix until everything is fully incorporated.
3.In a separate bowl, combine flour, nutritional yeast, and baking soda (and maybe a pinch of table salt if the spirit moves you).
4.Slowly beat into wet mixture until fully combined.
5.Using a spoon, stir in the toasted quinoa until fully incorporated.
6.Using a cookie scoop, or a large spoon, scoop out a mound of cookie dough (slightly larger than golf ball sized). Take approximately 1 teaspoon of Daiya cheese and wrap dough around it forming a ball/small mound (doesn’t need to be perfect). The dough is a bit crumbly. To make it easier on myself, when I did it, I put half of the dough I wanted into my cookie scoop, lay a bit of the cheese in the center, and then covered it with the other half of the dough). Place cookies on a cookie sheet or a large plate and create a crosshatch pattern in the top by flattening slightly with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with sea salt.
7.Cover plate/cookie sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or even overnight.
8.Preheat oven to 350F and bake cookies for 8-10 minutes or until the very edges begin to brown. Don’t overbake them, they might seem too soft still, but they will harden as they cool. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
9.Gorge yourself on the salty-sweet goodness.