I’m on a roll with the date-sweetened desserts. Since many people are already loving the date-sweetened brownie recipe I posted last week, I thought I’d try my hand at sweetening another favorite dessert with dates: peanut butter cookies.
You know those super-easy peanut butter cookie recipes that call for only three ingredients? Usually it’s something like 1 cup of sugar + 1 cup of peanut butter + 1 egg. I’ve made that recipe numerous times using coconut sugar and a vegan egg, so it got me thinking… what if I substituted one cup of dates for the one cup of sugar? Could it be that easy??
The simple answer is, yes. It’s that easy.
This recipe is one of the easiest and healthiest cookie recipes I’ve ever made. It calls for slightly more than 3 ingredients because I wanted to add a splash of vanilla for flavor, and a touch of baking soda and vinegar to help them rise, but they still have a short ingredient list and quick preparation.
These cookies are also:
- Gluten-free and grain-free
- Date-sweetened with no added sugar
- Paleo-friendly, if you use a different nut butter
- Moist and delicious
They’ve passed my picky 3-year-old’s taste test with flying colors, so I hope you’ll love them, too.
Date-Sweetened Peanut Butter Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, process the dates until crumbly. (It's okay if a ball forms, too.)
- Add in the peanut butter, ground flax, water, vanilla, baking soda, and vinegar. Process until a sticky, uniform batter is created. Be careful not to over-process the mixture, as the peanut butter will release excess oil when over-mixed, and that will make the batter feel very oily to work with. (Don't worry if this happens, though-- the cookies still turn out totally fine!)
- Use a heaping tablespoon to scoop the dough into your hands, then roll the dough into a ball between the palms of your hands. Repeat with the remaining batter, making about 20 balls. Place each ball onto the baking sheet about an inch apart, then use your hands to gently flatten each ball into a cookie shape. Sprinkle a bit of coarse sea salt over each cookie, if desired, then bake until the edges of the cookies start to feel dry, about 13 to 15 minutes. (The cookies will still feel fragile at this point, but that's okay.) The longer you bake the cookies the more firm they will be, so at 13 minutes of baking you'll have a soft, almost under-baked middle (which is how I love them!) and at 15 minutes they will be a little more firm and brown around the edges. I imagine you could bake them up to 20 minutes without burning them, if you want a cookie that is even more firm, but my family likes our cookies to be soft and tender in the middles.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the baking sheet and serving. Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. (The cookies will soften if you leave them out on the counter overnight, so chilling them is best for texture and shelf life.)
Calories per serving: 99, Fat: Carbohydrates: 8g, Fiber: Protein: 3g
- I imagine these cookies could be made using any nut butter you love, so if you want to use almond butter or sunflower seed butter (for a nut-free cookie!) go for it. Beware the sunflower seed butter + baking soda can produce a green-colored cookie due to a chemical reaction, so don’t be startled by that if you make the substitution. (It’s still totally safe to eat!)
- I haven’t tested this recipe using date paste yet, but I would guess you could replace the dates with 1 cup of date paste with similar results. (Maybe omit the extra water in the recipe?)
- If you don’t need this recipe to be vegan, I think you could swap a real egg for the “flax egg.” Simply omit the flax seeds and water and use a real egg instead.
- As always, please leave a comment below if you try making any modifications to this recipe so we can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite type of cookie? My dad’s favorite is Oatmeal Raisin, so I’m thinking of tackling a date-sweetened version for Father’s Day!