Although I usually only end up making them around the holiday season, this recipe for healthy peanut butter cookies is one everyone in my family just can’t get enough of. I always bake them on the same weekend I make the gingerbread cookies, which is usually right after we put up our tree. Once the tree is up and the gingerbread and peanut butter cookies are made we can all really begin to get in the holiday spirit!
Make Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies with Secret Superfood Sweetener
When you scan the list of ingredients for the peanut butter cookies you’ll soon realize that just like so many Clean Cuisine recipes, this one too is made with a few very unconventional ingredients. In addition to being made with refined flour and shortening, most traditional peanut butter cookie recipes call for upwards of 1 cup of sugar for less than 20 cookies. Yikes!
Not only do I do away with the refined flour and shortening, I also omit the refined sugar. Pureed dried apricots are my secret primary sweetener. And believe it or not, the apricots sweeten every bit as well as sugar.
A true superfood and a favorite among the clean eating crowd, dried apricots offer a concentrated source of naturally nutrient-dense fruit sweetness. They also come packaged with anti-inflammatory plant-based phytonutrients, tons of antioxidants (including vitamin A and beta-carotene) plus potassium and phytosterols too.
Although I usually sweeten desserts with pureed dates, I like using dried apricots in recipes that are intended to be lighter in color, such as the healthy peanut butter cookies. The pureed dried dates not only sweeten the cookies to perfection without leaving any fruity flavor, they also contribute a wonderful chewy texture that you just can’t get from sugar.
When using dried apricots as a sweetener for the healthy peanut butter cookies, you want to stew them first. You can stew apricots stovetop or just do what I do and put the apricots in a cup of water in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for about 2 1/2 minutes. Then let the apricots sit in the super hot water for about 5 minutes to soften. Drain the water and the dried apricots are ready to be pureed with the wet ingredients you use in your cookie batter.
Ok, enough chit chat, time to bake some cookies!
- 14 organic dried apricots
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil (such as Barlean’s) melted
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-natural creamy peanut butter
- 1 pastured organic, pastured egg
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoons date sugar OR coconut palm sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sprouted spelt flour (such as One Degree Organic brand) OR whole wheat biodynamic flour (such as Isis brand)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup lightly sweetened cacao nibs (such asNavitas Naturals) or mini dark chocolate chips (I like dairy-free Enjoy Life brand)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place dried apricots in a microwave-safe dish and cover with 1 cup of water. Heat on high for 2 1/2 minutes. Let apricots sit in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain water and set apricots aside.
- Place peanuts in a mini food processor and process into fine “crumbs”. Set aside.
- In a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix), add the apricots, melted extra virgin coconut oil, peanut butter, egg, pure vanilla extract and water. Process on high speed for 1 minute, or until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and process again.
- In a medium-sized bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir the wet ingredients in with the dry and mix well. Add in the peanuts and cacao nibs (or chocolate chips) and stir to combine.
- Measure one tablespoon of batter per cookie and place cookies on prepared baking sheet. Flatten cookies lightly with a fork or the back of a spoon. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove cookies from the oven and set on a rack to cool. Note: Cookies will keep for 3 days in a covered container or freeze for up to one month in a zip-top bag.
P.S. Love the healthy peanut butter cookies? Find more clean cookie baking tips click HERE.