I know what you’re thinking, these are probably just like the standard flourless peanut butter cookies (1 egg, 1 cup pb, 1 cup sugar). I’ve tried those – they’re good, but not great. Average. And I’m not here for average when it comes to baked goods. They always seem a bit dry and lacked a toothsome bite. Pushing down on them with a fork to make a criss-crossed pattern would cause the edges to crack (like this), which causes anxiety for a slight perfectionist.
These flourless cookies….. well, they’re the cookie of my dreams, and I do not say that lightly.
Soft and chewy, with ripples of dynamic flavors.
A sturdy edge with a tender dome, making the perfect pillow for your teeth to sink into.
A sprinkle of salt to bring out the nutty sweetness.
Glossy tops with a ribboned pattern.
Even though there are only five ingredients to a recipe like this, little intricacies can make a big difference when there isn’t much to work with. And that doesn’t mean difficulty, but more the science of slightly changing ingredient quantities and technique to drastically change the outcome. So what makes these so much better than all the other recipes on the internet? Leave it to the Brooklyn bakeshop, Ovenly (as detailed by Smitten Kitchen), whose Salted Peanut Butter Cookies bring people in droves, to figure out the magic equation for an incredible flourless cookie like this.
- Less sugar and nut butter per egg, rather than the classic 1:1:1 ratio.
- The intense softness comes from using brown sugar (molasses adds moisture) instead of white. It adds a layer of caramel flavor too.
- That picture perfect height and pretty layers comes from using a cookie scoop (the one with a lever that pushes the dough out) to create the balls after freezing the dough for 15 minutes.
My adaptations were minimal, scaling down the recipe to make a small batch, one dozen cookies, because it’s just two of us. And used almond butter instead of peanut butter. I’m definitely not against peanut butter, in fact I love it, but I love experimenting with the different textures and flavors of nut butters. And since peanut allergies are so prevalent, I thought almond butter would be an unbeatable alternative.
You’ll mix everything in one bowl, the important thing being the order, which is included in the recipe. What at first seems like a giant blob, whisks into a sticky ball that slowly peels itself away from the edges and holds it shape.
Five ingredients – one bowl – one dozen cookies that are nothing like the standard, in the very best of ways. The vanilla (quality counts!) and coarse salt are super important, so don’t leave them out. Because to every good sweet is a little bit of salt.
If you turn on your oven for one reason this summer, let it be for these cookies (or these ever popular gluten-free chocolate chip cookies ;). xo!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet (make sure it is not a super dark sheet) with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and egg until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then the almond butter and until smooth and completely incorporated; you shouldn’t be able to see any ribbons of almond butter It will start to pull away from the sides, and come to a free form glob that holds its shape. (This is kind of like play-doh)
- To get those pretty marks on the top and keep the tall height, pop the bowl of dough in the freezer for 15 minutes, covering lightly with a cloth. (Make sure it's in a ball so the edges don't freeze way before the middle) Remove and scoop dough onto cookie sheet.
- Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake for 18 minutes on middle rack, until lightly browned on the edges and glossy on top (if you use smaller scoop, bake about 15 minutes). When finished, cookies should be golden at edges. Let set on the sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a cooling rack. Let these mostly cool before eating so the different textures (crisp outside, soft inside) can set up.
- Store in covered container and enjoy!
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