With the exception of healthier sugar cookies and candy cane cookies at Christmas and pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting in the fall, we don’t bake cookies in our house too often for two main reasons: sugar and gluten.
Rolled oats are my saving grace this season and thanks to these peanut butter oatmeal cookies, we can enjoy a healthy cookie that is gluten-free cookie AND very low in sugar!
However, let me back up a moment and talk about sugar and gluten.
First, we were already in the process of quitting sugar. Last year we took a baby step and switched to turbinado sugar (which is one step less processed than white granulated sugar) AND we’ve been able to make this sugar work in our budget over the long term.
However, my husband and I saw a HUGE transformation in our kids while they weren’t eating sugar at all during the Whole30. So much so, that we’ve been incredibly strict with desserts and how much sugar they’re eating in general.
It’s a different story though when you talk about cookies.
Cookies rely on sugar to help keep their form, to help with their rise and to help with the texture. Take out the sugar – or substitute with a liquid sweetener like honey or maple syrup – and you’re no longer making cookies… you’re doing a science experiment.
I don’ t know about you, but I don’t want to chance using my precious grocery budget on some food experiment that might not even be edible.
Second, both Mr. Crumbs and The Girl had a reaction to gluten when we reintroduced it after finishing the Whole30.
Their reactions weren’t so extreme that we went to the hospital and no one spent the whole night in the bathroom, but it was enough to give us pause and for us to avoid it for this season.
Unfortunately, gluten is also pretty important in baking. It’s the protein that makes breads go up, it gives a light and fluffy texture to cakes and without it, you’re pretty much eating a brick of food.
That is, unless you making these peanut butter oatmeal cookies.
These cookies are everything a peanut butter cookie should be:
- Rich and Peanut Buttery
- Soft and Chewy
- Slightly sandy (thanks to the peanut butter) but without crumbling in your hands
- SUPER easy to make
- Incredibly Addicting
But these peanut butter oatmeal cookies in particular are also gluten-free… they’re made with oat flour instead of wheat flour and no one can tell the difference!
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Let’s break down the ingredients:
Most awesome homemade cookies call for butter, and this recipe is no different.
You need just ½ cup of granulated sugar, but a quick whiz in the blender or food processer turns any granulated sugar into a superfine sugar… which makes the final texture of these cookies SO soft!
Creamy peanut butter is the way to go for a classic peanut butter cookie, but make sure you’re reading ingredients. You want a peanut butter that has just two ingredients listed: peanuts and salt. Avoid the peanut butters with hydrogenated oils and added sugars.
Egg + Egg Yolk
The extra egg yolk is what gives our cookie some structure without turning it into a crumble fest. Peanut butter cookies are sandy by default – the peanut butter is what causes it. But by adding an extra egg yolk to the dough, we can help combat the crumble.
I learned this trick from Sally’s Baking Addiction – adding cornstarch to cookies creates a softer dough and a more tender cookie. That’s exactly what I was looking for in these peanut butter oatmeal cookies!
In the traditional sense, there is ZERO flour in these cookies.
Instead we’re taking rolled oats, whizzing them in the blender or food processor (when we’re done with the sugar) and adding them at the very end of the mixing cycle. The result creates a low-sugar, gluten-free peanut butter oatmeal cookie that rivals any other peanut butter cookie you’ve ever had.
In fact, my husband said – as he shoved FOUR cookies into his mouth in under two minutes – that they’re the best peanut butter cookies he’s ever had in his life, EVER!
This batter isn’t like most cookie batters – it will seem crumbly (thanks to the peanut butter) and it will seem dry… but DON’T WORRY. If you follow the recipe exactly as written and use the tips I’m about to share you’ll have the most amazing peanut butter oatmeal cookies in no time.
1. Chill the dough.
This is another pro tip so I’m heeding advice and we’re chilling the dough. This primarily helps the cookie to avoid spreading in the oven.
It’s recommended to do this with any dough that is sticky or wet – which seems to be pretty much any cookie dough in my book – but it’s especially important in the case of peanut butter oatmeal cookies.
We have lots of healthy fat going on thanks to the butter and peanut butter and extra egg yolk, so we want to make sure we chill the dough first so our perfectly scooped cookies don’t turn into one big greasy cookie blob in the oven.
2. Use a cookie scoop.
It’s one of my most often used kitchen tools and for under $10, it’s a worth investment. This is the one I have and I LOVE it. I really truly can’t recommend it enough, especially if you don’t want to hear your kids argue over which one gets the bigger cookie. (Newsflash kiddos – they’re all EXACTLY the same!)
3. Use a silpat mat.
I found a 3-pack of silicone baking mats at Costco one year (they’re identical to these) and I use them ALL the time, and not just for cookies. They’re great at helping to keep your cookies sheets clean when baking homemade breakfast sausage!
In terms of cookies though, they help the cookie to bake evenly without the bottom getting too crispy too soon. Nothing is worse than a dark brown or burned cookie bottom with unbaked cookie goo in the middle.
4. Use a wet fork to make the peanut butter cookie marks.
I feel like you can’t really have a peanut butter cookie without the criss-cross marks on top, but I learned that it’s easier to make the marks using a wet fork.
I turned on the tap water so it was a very small stream and wet the back of a fork every 4 cookies or so, shaking off excess water before marking the cookies. This little bit of water is enough to keep the dough on the cookies (and off the fork) but not enough to make the cookie dough wet.
This recipe makes 30-35 cookies when you use two cookie scoops per cookie (that’s about 2 Tbsp of dough per cookie). I recommend letting them cool for about 10 minutes before diving in to give the cookie a chance to “settle in.” If you try to handle it fresh out of the oven, it will be too warm and it will crumble.
However, once they’re cool, they’re fair game and incredibly addicting. Consider yourself warned!
My husband actually asked me to put these cookies away in the freezer, because he couldn’t stop himself from eating them… so turns out, they’re freezer-friendly too!
- ½ cup granulated sugar (I use Turbinado)
- 2 sticks of butter (1 cup), room temperature
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅔ cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- Measure the sugar into a blender and process for one minute, until the sugar looks like powdered sugar.
- Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if you’re using a hand-held mixer. (There’s no need to wash out the blender yet.) Add the butter salt and peanut butter and mix until everything is super creamy.
- Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix until everything is creamy and well combined.
- Measure the rolled oats into a blender and process for one minute. Use a spatula to scrape everything into the mixing bowl. Add the cornstarch and mix until you can no longer see dry portions of oat flour, about 2-4 minutes.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 1 full hour. You cannot skip this step.
- When the one hour is nearly up, preheat the oven to 350F and line your baking sheets with either parchment paper or a silpat mat.
- Using a cookie scoop, measure 2 Tbsp of dough per cookie (this is 2 scoops for my cookie scoop). Leaving 2″ of space between cookies, fill up your cookie sheet with dough. Place remaining dough in the fridge if you are baking in batches.
- Use a wet fork to make the criss-cross pattern on the top of the cookies, if desired.
- Bake for 8-11 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are JUST turning brown.
- Remove from the oven and let the cookies cook on the pan for 10 minutes. Gently remove to a cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool completely before storing.
- Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
Have you had success making cookies without granulated sugar? And do you like peanut butter cookies with the criss-cross pattern, or could you care less? Leave your ideas and suggestions in the comment section below!
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