Almond Butter, Peanut Butter: Two Tiny, Tasty Cookies

Nut butter cookies (9)I know, I know: peanut butter cookies are nothing new.  But they’re my husband’s favorite, and to tell you the truth, I’ve never really been satisfied with the recipes I’ve found for them.  Everyone has their own preference — and I wanted little, dense, soft cookies that tasted really nutty.  Instead I got crisp and airy, oily and bland, dry and gritty, sugary and enormous.  I tried recipes with cake flour, no flour, cream cheese, and on.  Finally, I took out a bowl and made my own recipe, tinkering with it time and again until I felt victorious (and my honey was happier than ever).  Then I thought: what about almond butter?  I Nut butter cookies (1)knew its delightfulness but hadn’t tasted it in dessert form. Using my newly created peanut butter cookie recipe, I did a few trial runs and found that almond butter – though it acts a little different than its more common cousin — is just as easy, just as delicious… and just as loved in my house.  The recipe for both cookies is simple and easy, made in one bowl with no mixer, then a quick stint in the oven.

Almond Butter or Peanut Butter Cookies [makes 25 – 30 little (1.25-1.5”) cookies]

  • 3/4 cup peanut or almond butter (I prefer chunky nut butters that contain nothing but roasted nuts and salt, but please use whatever kind you like best)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons softened butter*
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup moist brown sugar, packed*
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (for peanut butter cookies)
  • OR 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (for almond butter cookies)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (increase to 1/2 teaspoon if your nut butter is unsalted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*For almond butter cookies, use 2 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. For peanut butter cookies, use 3 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar.  For either kind of cookie, reduce sugar by a few tablespoons if your nut butter already contains sugar.

Pre-heat oven to 325 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. If using natural peanut butter, give it a good stir.  In a large bowl, mix first four ingredients plus the extract with a spatula until smooth, pasty and completely even in color.  Add the flour (do not sift unless it’s particularly lumpy), salt and cinnamon, mixing until no traces of flour remain and dough holds together.  It may be easiest to use bare hands for this step.

Nut butter cookiesMake little balls of dough that are  smaller than a tablespoon (about half an ounce) a piece; you should have 25-30 cookies.  Place them on prepared cookie sheets.  For peanut butter cookies, indent with a fork, bracing the sides of the cookie to prevent cracking.  Almond butter doesn’t hold its shape as much but still needs to be pressed down for even baking, so use your thumb or the back of a spoon, adding an almond on top if you’d like.  Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and be sure to let cookies sit on hot cookie sheets for 10-15 minutes before touching or moving.  With the mouthwatering aroma in your kitchen, this last act can be the hardest part.

Nut butter cookies (2)With their trace of cinnamon, their moist brown sugar and their high share of nut butter, these little cookies pack a rich and flavorful bite in a soft and tender form.  By avoiding electric beaters, sifted flour and egg whites, the dough is dense and delicious.  And with this recipe’s simplicity and ease, you just might make both types — almond and peanut — in one scrumptious session.

Nut butter cookies (5)Maybe next time… Though I haven’t tried it yet, I have a hunch that these cookies would take well to gluten-free flour.  Either type would be delicious with chocolate chips or dipped in melted chocolate, just as they’d both make great mini-ice cream sandwiches.  Peanut butter cookies hold indentations well, so get creative with what you press into them: perhaps a meat tenderizer for checkered look, or a heart-shaped stamp for extra sweetness.  You can even fill your indention with jam or melted chocolate like I did here.

Nut butter cookies (6)A final thought:  A place and time exists for all kinds of cookies, even the versions of peanut and almond butter cookies I personally never crave.  Just as there are strong and opposed opinions about how smooth or chunky a nut butter should be, so are there ardent feelings about the perfect qualities of its cookie form.  I realize my cookies might not meet your ideals. Moreover, as happy as I am with the above recipe, I can see myself playing with it even further in the future; after all, the possibilities in this sensational sweet world are nearly never-ending…

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11 Responses to Almond Butter, Peanut Butter: Two Tiny, Tasty Cookies

  1. I love almond butter, I’m definitely going to take a shot at making these!!

  2. Pingback: A Sweet Valentine’s Day | butter, sugar, flowers

  3. katy says:

    I love this post, as well as your tireless tinkering with recipes! I’ve also never been 100% satisfied with peanut butter cookies (despite my ability to gorge on peanut butter) either, but I bet these would help move me in the right direction….especially with some cinnamon or vanilla ice cream cradled in between (I recently had an ice cream sandwich with peanut butter cookies at C.R.E.A.M. and, honestly, it reminded me of how palatable ice cream makes everything).

    • Thank you so much, Katy! I definitely feel the same way about peanut butter — and about ice cream! In fact, when ice cream is involved in a dessert that has a baked good component (e.g., ice cream sandwiches or brownie sundaes or pie a la mode), suddenly I want the baked good to be the condiment in terms of ratio. In other words, the more ice cream, the better — more ice cream than baked good = best! Needless to say, this is pretty telling considering my love affair with baked goods… Thanks again!

  4. My husband LOVES peanut butter cookies & I’m betting he’d like them even more with that little bit of chocolate tucked in the middle. Now I’ve never heard of almond butter (educate me yet again)…is it like peanut butter or is it butter – like in the refrigerated section. I’m sure this is a very dumb question but when I think of almonds & cookies I’d definitely like to try something with that flavor.

    • Wives of peanut-butter-cookie-loving-husbands UNITE! Almond butter is just the same as peanut butter but made with almonds instead. But it doesn’t have as strong of a nutty flavor. Do you have Trader Joe’s? They have a great selection alongside the peanut butter. Some of the more mainstream grocery stores don’t carry it for some reason, but if they do, it will be with the peanut butter. XO!

      • Oh thank you – I do have Trader Joe’s & will be sure to check them out. They have some really great things that our grocery store just doesn’t carry – plus I love their staff.

  5. A perfected classic is always welcome, and I love the idea of almond butter too! When we were little, my mom taught us to make desperation peanut butter cookies: 1 c peanut butter, 1 c sugar, 1 egg. They were surprisingly edible, and easy for small hands to bake! But I haven’t made them in ages, and I think this would be a perfect update to my little kid version 🙂

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