So I have this problem.
I find it kind of impossible to turn down great opportunities, even if I absolutely should. You know, because I’m having (had?) a baby.
Obviously, since I’m participating (yay!) in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap for 2014 and all the recipes will be posted December 15, and I’m due with my second baby December 14th or 16th, I’m writing this in advance.
You can understand that, right?
I wanted nothing left up to chance. I mean, we’re talking about cookies.
So I realized near the end of November that I hadn’t received the names of the people I would be sending my cookies. I had kind of just assumed that things didn’t work out and I wouldn’t be participating.
And I saw blogger friends on Instagram receiving boxes of cookies, and I thought to myself, “I should probably double check just to make sure…”
So I did. And sure enough the lovely ladies coordinating had sent an email November 12 that went straight to my spam folder.
It was crunch time. The cookies had to be shipped out December 3, and I was to be making gluten-free, dairy-free, pecan/walnut/hazelnut/almond-free cookies.
Now, I think being able to make great-tasting food that is allergy friendly is a really important skill, even for people like myself with no food allergies. And I think this was a really great time to go about testing out some allergy friendly cookie recipes.
But my first batch of cookies was a big flop.
And not like a typical flop where we eat it anyways and they are actually totally fine. They went in the garbage.
So my 8.5 month pregnant self started to feel a little emotional.
And the next day, I tried again.
I found this recipe from Averie Cooks, and it looked similar to a gluten-free cookie recipe I’d made from the back of the peanut butter jar. I wasn’t sure if peanut butter was in fact dairy free, but I did a little research and checked the label, and it seemed to be safe.
And they were totally awesome.
My husband helped me taste test, because I surely didn’t want to be sending out anything as awful as my first batch of cookies, and after my previous fail I could be pretty sure he’d tell me honestly.
I tried baking them 2 ways: straight from the bowl, unrefrigerated, and refrigerated for 1 hour.
I guess I get a little rebellious when it comes to waiting for cookies.
Without refrigeration, I found the cookies spread a little more, but not like crazy. They were slightly thinner and crispier on the outside, but still fudgy and soft on the inside.
The ones I refrigerated on the pan prior to baking stayed a little thicker during bake time. (You can see the difference in the cookies in the photo above)
I also found baking the cookies exactly 7 minutes was perfect, but my cookies were much smaller than Averie’s, because I got about 24-26 out of each batch. If you make them larger, you might want to bake the full 8-9 minutes.
Anyways, I hope, Lisa, Heather and Meg, that they were just as good when they reached you as they were when they left!
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter (I used Kraft Light)
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together peanut butter and brown sugar, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth and combined.
- Add the cocoa and baking soda and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary.
- *The dough should come together easily. There may be some crumbly pieces in the bowl, but you should be able to squeeze them and roll them into a ball. If you can't, add a little extra peanut butter, 1 tbsp at a time.
- Scoop out 1 tbsp of cookie dough and roll into a ball. Place on a large plate and flatten slightly with a fork. The dough won't spread much once it's refrigerated, and you don't want the cookies to be puffy and domed. You also don't want to flatten too much and have very thin cookies.
- Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to 5 days according to original recipe).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or spray well with cooking spray. Place cookies on prepared sheets a couple of inches apart (I baked 12 to a pan).
- Bake 7-9 minutes, until edges are set and tops nearly set. Overbaking will result in drier cookies, and cookies will continue to set up as they cool. I found 7 minutes for a 1 tbsp cookie to be just perfect.
- Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to finish cooling. Store at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
*Note: original recipe used 2 tbsp cookie scoop and baked 8-10 minutes, making 13 cookies.