My friend Laurel has issues. Food issues. No dairy, no gluten. She seems to get by just fine with these restrictions but damn, it’s difficult for me. I can’t send her my annual Christmas Cookie ridiculousness because all 19 varieties have flour AND butter. I can’t give her my usual baked thank-you’s for her kindness or one of my special cakes for her birthday. I specialize in butter and flour, the very things that make her miserable. Of course, of course I can figure out something that works for her and I mean to, I really do, but somehow I never do. I’m a bad friend filled with good intentions. But that’s about to change.
Right now, yes at this very moment, I am cruising the back roads of California wine country with my Sunday Lunch friends and my good pal Laurel who has arranged four full days of fun. We go way back, to our mutual restaurant days where she was the sommelier, and she has long since moved onto the greener pastures of grape vines as far as the eye can see. I love to visit and she is a kind and gracious host, carting me and whomever I drag along to various wineries for wonderful behind the scenes tours, spectacular tastings, divine meals and lots of laughs. And she drives. You can’t beat that.
Laurel calls upon a wonderful network of friends who so kindly open their cellar doors to share their world with us. Though we always buy wine, this year I got my act in gear and made little treat boxes as a special thank you for these folks, packed with tiny cookies, brownies and candies. And I made a special box just for her. I hesitate to divulge my secrets here because she’ll probably read this before I get chance to present my little gift. Oh well. So Miss Laurel, guess what? Spoiler alert: I made you some stuff! Maybe you shouldn’t read the next paragraph right now. Or look at the picture just before the recipe.
I packed a box full of things she can eat without worrying about getting sick because you know what? She deserves it. I tucked in a batch of my spicy peanut brittle sans the small amount of butter in the recipe (didn’t even notice a difference.) I made a fudgy egg white based cookie that was mighty dark, intense and delicious. And I made these simple peanut butter cookies which are just darling. I’ve been making these for years and never gave a second thought to the fact that they are gluten and dairy free. They’re just good. Those are the best kinds “restrictive” recipes – the ones that are made with regular ingredients, not $75 worth of specialty flours. Thank god she doesn’t have a nut allergy.
STRESS THERAPY BAKING FACTOR: HAPPY, SAFE AND DELICIOUS. Safe because if someone does have allergy issues – other than egg and nut – they can eat these without concern. It’s a good thing to have little frozen balls of this dough tucked away for those cookie emergency, allergy or otherwise. Wait, you don’t have cookie emergencies? I can’t be the only one. Freeze some, just in case.
On this blog four years ago: Brown Butter Banana Bread. 4 years ago. Huh.
On this blog three years ago: Peanut Butter Bars
On this blog two years ago: Peterson Garden Project, Round 2
On this blog one year ago: Strawberries in Hibiscus Syrup
FLOURLESS PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
Makes about 10-12 regular size cookies or about 48 mini cookies
1 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use the natural stuff)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until well combined. (I use my standing mixter with the paddle attachment but you could do this by hand.)
- Mix in the baking powder.
- Add the egg and stir until well combined.
- With a scoop or damp hands, scoop/roll the dough into 1” balls.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mats and space 1” apart.
- With a fork, lightly press down in a crosshatch pattern. If the dough sticks, lightly wet the fork with some water.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes (6-7 minutes for minis) until the cookies hold together but are still a little soft – do not overbake or the cookies will be dry and definitely not delicious. If you gently poke them, the bottoms should be just set with very soft tops.
- Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes.
- Carefully slide the parchment or silpat with the cookies to a cooling rack for 10 minutes until they are firm.
- Store tightly wrapped for a few days.