You know those peanut butter Hershey Kiss cookies? Yeah, Erik’s in love with them. In his quest to find desserts I can eat, he wanted to try making the peanut butter cookies for me and use some kind of chocolate I can eat in place of the Kiss. We never did have much luck finding a good chocolate to put on top, but I found I actually enjoyed the plain peanut butter cookie the most, even without rolling them in additional sugar. We had a lot of bad, squishy batches until finally finding the right combination of ingredient measurements. (And a Thank You must go out to Erik’s mom for her recipe, which we used as a template for creating a WFPB-version!) These are very simple, plain cookies, but I really enjoy them. It’s easy to continue popping these into your mouth before realizing you’ve eaten them all!
Servings: about 2 dozen, depending on how large you make the cookies
- ½ cup pure cane sugar (or turbinado, I use both)
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup peanut butter (I use the Kroger brand tubs near the health food section)
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour (or gluten-free alternative, it may not rise as much without wheat flour but it’ll still hold the cookie together!)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
Note: If you want to roll the peanut butter ball in sugar before baking it (to make it more like the actual Hershey kiss cookies), you can do so. It gives it a much sweeter taste (you’re adding a ton of sugar, duh), but it also adds a lot of sugar calories. I typically don’t roll mine in sugar because I like them well enough as just as plain peanut butter cookie ball. You could also dunk these in melted chocolate (sweetened by adding a little sugar) or squeeze a little honey over the top if you’re looking to add a sweeter taste to the cookie. I also really like adding raspberry or strawberry preserves to these cookies, though I have a different recipe (which I will post eventually) for peanut butter thumbprint cookies.
Preheat oven to 375°
Combine sugar with all wet ingredients. Mix. Add dry ingredients. Mix mix mix. The dough is going to be pretty tough; I highly recommend using a KitchenAid mixer if you have one so your wrist doesn’t break.
Roll into small balls (I use my hands), about 1″ in size, and place about a half inch apart (minimum) on an air bake cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. It’s best to let them cool at least a few minutes before scraping them off or the bottoms tend to get squishy and stick to the baking sheet.