How Can I Make Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies?

Jack ThatchLast Updated Oct 19, 2020 6:04:58 PM ET
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Whether you’re dealing with kids or adults, peanut butter cookies are always a favorite at a gathering. Well-made peanut butter cookies are the perfect blend of sweetness and salt in a soft yet chewy package, and they’re as great for an afternoon snack as they are desert to bring to parties.

What’s more, peanut butter has nutritional value that chocolate does not, making peanut butter cookies particularly worthy of consideration for anyone trying to satisfy a child’s sweet tooth. While peanut butter cookies are very much still cookies and therefore not as healthy as, say, an apple, they can make for a responsible treat for young ones. There’s a peanut butter cookie recipe out there for every baker’s needs, whether that’s something that can be whipped up quickly with few ingredients or even a sugar-free delight.

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The Nutritional Value of Peanut Butter

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Everybody knows that peanut butter tastes great, but what you may not be aware of is its nutritional benefits. Peanut butter is low in carbohydrates, making it great for low-carb diets, and it’s also rich with nutrients, including protein, some vitamins, potassium and especially fiber. Peanut butter also makes you feel full more quickly, which can help with weight loss if you’re careful.

And while this salty condiment is high in sodium and fat, the situation isn’t as bad as it seems in either case. Salted peanut butter is comparable to bologna, roast beef and many other common sandwich toppings in terms of salt content, while unsalted peanut butter isn’t high in sodium at all. Similarly, the fat in peanut butter is mostly unsaturated, which can actually reduce LDL cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

Of course, peanut butter isn’t the only ingredient in peanut butter cookies; there’s also sugar, and that’s definitely not nutritious. However, sugar in moderation is fine for most children and adults alike, and there are some peanut butter cookie recipes that don’t make use of it at all. (Although sugar substitutes come with their own drawbacks — more on that later.) Peanut butter cookies will never have the nutritional value of fruits or vegetables, but when eaten responsibly, they can taste great while being a bit healthier than other cookies to boot.

3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

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Did you know that there’s a peanut butter cookie recipe that uses only three ingredients? This recipe makes delicious cookies and only takes a few minutes to prepare and bake. It’s such an easy recipe that even kids will love to make these cookies — and you’ll want to bake them over and over again. The recipe consists of creamy peanut butter (commercial rather than natural peanut butter works best), white sugar and an egg. These ingredients make a dozen cookies, so it’s easy to multiply the ingredients to make larger quantities for a bigger batch.

To make the cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, which will make cleaning up after baking much easier. Mix all three ingredients together until the batter reaches a smooth consistency. Scoop out the dough into 1-inch balls and drop them by the spoonful onto the cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until golden brown, and then leave them on the tray for 1 to 2 minutes more to cool. Move them to a wire rack afterward to finish cooling before transferring them to an airtight container.

Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

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While peanut butter cookies are a bit more nutritious than some other cookies, such as chocolate chip, they’re still loaded with sugar. This can be a problem not just for people worried about their diet, but also anyone with diabetes or another health condition that places limitations on sugar consumption. Fortunately, there are many sugar substitutes out there, and many of them are even calorie-free — just don’t forget the calories in the other ingredients!

This recipe uses either Splenda granular or SugarTwin in place of sugar, along with flour, baking powder, creamy natural-style peanut butter, canola oil, an egg, water and vanilla. After preheating the oven and greasing the cookie sheet (you’ll notice two measurements for flour in the recipe — the second is for sprinkling on the tray to keep the cookies from sticking), combine the Spenda or SugarTwin with the baking powder. Then add the rest of the ingredients, taking care to mix them thoroughly.

Next, make the dough into 1-inch balls, place them on the cookie sheet, and flatten each one with a fork. This will help them cook properly and give them that signature homemade peanut butter cookie look. Finally, bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let them cool and enjoy.

5-Ingredient Grain Free Maple Peanut Butter Cookies

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Of course, not everyone is a fan of artificial sweeteners. While fears that they can cause cancer have proven to be unfounded, some people may simply not enjoy the taste or texture that different sweeteners bring to a recipe, and of course, many people prefer all-natural ingredients when possible. If you’re looking to make peanut butter cookies using a natural sugar substitute, you can choose from options like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar and more. Just be aware that many such substitutes have as many calories as sugar, and some may have side effects.

Here’s one easy peanut butter cookie recipe made with maple syrup rather than sugar to get you started. All you need is natural drippy peanut butter (peanuts and salt, basically), maple syrup, an egg, coconut flour and baking soda. (You can also add numerous toppings, such as sea salt, if you wish.) After preheating the oven and lining a tray with parchment paper, mix all ingredients together. Scoop the dough into balls and flatten it on the tray with your hand. After baking them in the oven and letting them cool, add your toppings and enjoy.