Nutter Butter Sandwich Cookies (& a favor)

Gluten-free peanut butter-shaped, peanut-butter flavored & filled sandwich cookies – just like Nutter Butter Sandwich Cookies, but safely gluten-free! more »

I need a favor. You up for it?

Yesterday, I learned from someone I trust that the phrase “good, for gluten-free,” and the attitude it represents, just isn’t going to budge any time soon. I heard that it was uttered by some of the most important food writers in the U.S. They said it because that’s what they still think. They weren’t trying to be elitist or unfair or unkind. They weren’t trying to hurt anyone’s feelings, and they weren’t trying to dumb us down. It’s just that that’s what they think it is supposed to be like. Their standards are very low, which means that the food media doesn’t want to cover gluten-free food much at all. Gluten-free is still the ugly stepchild of the food world. And it’s driving me up the WALL.

That media and cultural bias is part of the reason that I love making gluten-free clone recipes. Like gluten-free Milano cookies. And gluten-free Chips Ahoy! cookies. And gluten-free Ritz crackers. And gluten-free Thin Mints.

And like these Nutter Butter-style cookies. So here comes the favor: I need you to bake, and I need you to share. I need you talk about it with everyone and anyone. Know anyone in the media? Get them to write about it. My books sell (thank you I love you thank you keep buying them please!!), but they really don’t get a lot of press. Not because you don’t want to hear about them, but because the media doesn’t really want to talk about gluten-free food. And so the gluten-free marketplace is still crowded with products that aren’t nearly good enough, for tons and tons of money. Nobody knows!! We know. But no one else knows. I really need you to spread the word. For real. I’m impatient for a better gluten-free marketplace, and now I’m really kinda mad. Not at you! But at the establishment. Now I’m a rebel! I know. A rebel with clone cookies. Not too scary.

Oh, and unless I sound like I think I’m all noble and stuff, I have to confess that it took me a truly embarrassingly long time to figure out that, to make a peanut shape out of these dead-ringer-for-the-real thing clone cookies, all I had to do was to use an oval cookie cutter (Ateco makes a whole set of them and I love sets of cookie cutters I really do) and just … pinch in the center. Duh, right?

And also I didn’t make up how to make the criss-cross pattern on the tops of the cookies, so they even look just like the real thing. I read that someplace on the Internet, but I can’t for the life of me remember where since I’ve been planning these cookies for a long time but was still hung up on the peanut shape. Don’t ask.

So after all that, even if you’re too tired or too busy or really really too tired to become a Gluten-Free Evangelist, you should totally make these cookies. Don’t like/can’t have peanut butter? Make them with no-stir almond butter instead. They’d be maybe even, dare I say it, better??

I couldn’t show you a big photo of the inside of the cookies, because, well, the filling just doesn’t look very pretty until it’s covered. You know how some people just look amazing in clothes, but then you see them naked and you’re like … meh? It’s like that. Don’t judge. Just bake. And spread the word!! Ugly stepchild no more. (If I came on too strong, I’m sorry and it’s only out of l-o-v-e really it is).

Prep time: 25 minutes       Cook time: 9 minutes       Yield: 40 sandwich cookies

1 cup (256 g) no-stir natural peanut butter

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter

2 cups (280 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

1 extra-large egg (60 g) at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter

3/4 cup (192 g) no-stir natural peanut butter

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons cream

  • Make the cookie dough. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, place 1 cup peanut butter and 8 tablespoons butter. Melt, stirring frequently, over medium heat. Once the mixture is melted and smooth, remove from the heat and set aside to cool briefly. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar and brown sugar, whisking to combine well and working out any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the melted peanut butter and butter mixture, and stir to combine. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix until the dough comes together. Knead until smooth and flatten into a disk.

  • Shape the dough. Place the cookie dough between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper, and roll out into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Cut out oval shapes with a 2-inch oval cookie cutter (Ateco sells a set of concentric oval shaped cookie cutters). Pull away the scraps of uncut dough, gather the scraps and set them aside. Carefully transfer the ovals to the prepared baking sheets, placing them about 1 inch apart (they will not spread much during baking). With a moistened thumb and forefinger, carefully pinch each oval on either side of the width of each oval’s center to create a peanut shape. Reroll the gathered scraps of dough and repeat the process, reserving about ¼ cup of dough. Place the reserved dough in a small bowl and mix with hot water by the tablespoon and stir until you have a thick paste. Transfer the paste to a pastry bag fitted with a #2 tip, and pipe a crisscross pattern on half of the cut-outs.

  • Bake the cookies. Place the baking sheets in the freezer until the cut-outs are firm (about 5 minutes), and then place each, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, for 9 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.

  • Prepare the filling. While the cookies are cooling, heat the 4 tablespoons unsalted butter and ¾ cup peanut butter in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add the dash of kosher salt and stir to combine. Add the confectioners’ sugar, and stir until well-combined. The mixture will be very thick. Add one tablespoon of cream, and stir to thin the filling. Add another tablespoon of cream if necessary to create a thickly pourable filling. Allow the filling to cool until no longer hot to the touch.

  • Assemble the cookies. Place the filling in a pastry bag fitted with a medium-sized plain tip (I used a #12 tip). Turn over the half of the cookies without the crisscross pattern, and pipe a generous amount of filling on each overturned cookie. Top with the decorated cookies to create sandwiches, pressing down gently to force the filling to the very edge of the cookies. Allow to sit at room temperature (or in the refrigerator) until the filling is set. Serve chilled or at room temperature.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of both of My Cookbooks! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!

  • Sherry L

    I am almost speechless Nicole!!  These look amazing and will be a wonderful “gift” to my family during this holiday season, I can’t wait to make them!!  Thank you!  I feel your frustration about the general attitude towards gluten-free food.  I share my gluten and dairy-free cooking with family and friends every chance I get.  I usually wait until after they tell me how good it is, before I tell them what it doesn’t have in it! Also, I regularly direct those who are (or are considering becoming) gluten-free to your blog and books.  Thank you again for your wonderful recipes, and for leading the way for Team Gluten-Free!

    • gfshoestring

      Team Gluten Free!! Thank you for spreading the word – and waiting until they love it before telling them it’s GF. It’s like bringing home your boyfriend and introducing him as a “friend.” Then your family loves him and you spring the news on them that you’re getting married. And they can’t be all, hey! we don’t even like him! ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kim

    OMG! You may have just won my heart. I will have to make a few subs to be dairy free as well. But seriously, these look awesome. I’m a PB person and this is just up my alley! 

    • gfshoestring

      I’d go with vegetable shortening in place of the butter, not a nondairy butter sub, Kim, since nondairy butter subs have tons of moisture and add all sorts of other ingredients and flavors. I will take good care of your heart. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Gpillamac

    cookies look incredible.  and yes i promise to spread the word as much as i can.  I hate that all there really is at the grocery stores are over priced sub par tasting garbage.  and it doesn’t help when the entire Celiac and GF issue is played down on reputable “Dr.” shows all the time as ‘just a fad diet” and usually “not really necessary”.  Makes me tingle with anger!!!

    • gfshoestring

      Sing it, Gpillamac! Yeah, Dr. Oz deserves a noogie or something. That was pretty shameful! We will have to change attitudes ourselves, then. We will!!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kristy B.

    I solemnly swear to spread the word. I hate that “good, for gluten free” garbage. I prefer “you’d never know it was gluten free.” Or “That’s gluten free!?”…….or even better, my husband eating a peanut butter cookie from the make your own cake mix in your new book (shield your eyes kiddies)…”F*** gluten!!!.”

    • gfshoestring

      Kristy, I hope you’re good at sharing, because I am in love with your husband, sight unseen!
      Seriously. ENOUGH with the “good for gluten free” crapola. No more GFGF!!
      xoxo (for your husband) Nicole

  • Michelle

    Nutter butters were my favorite gluten-free cookie. I’m having a rough day and this makes me very, very happy! These will be baked this afternoon.

    • gfshoestring

      Oh no Michelle! I’m so sorry you’re having a rough day. I know how that feels, but tomorrow will be better. And you have the promise of Nutter Butters! Glad it helped. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Lynne R

    I’m with you there! And as Sherry L. said, I love to make it and have them taste it and love it BEFORE I tell someone its gluten free!  I just bought two more of your new book as Christmas presents for some GF newbies!

  • Laura

    Nicole – you just made my hubby a very happy man!  He is the only one in the house who can eat gluten.  These are a fav of his. I’ll only let him buy those individual packages and then he has to eat them at work.
    Boy oh boy, he’s going to flip when I can MAKE them – and the whole family can eat them!

    On an unrelated note, this blog is amazing. Your books are amazing. But I’d never have known about them if it weren’t for this blog. And a thank you to your hubby. (At least I think it was your hubby.) Several months ago, he posted a link to your blog on a some GF Facebook page  – I don’t even know which one.  Had he not done that, I would still be buying those awful GF cookies from the market.

    We eat so much better now! 

    xoxo to you and your hubby, too.

  • Dana Schwartz

    Yes to all that, Nicole. And yum to Nutter Butters! I loved those as a kid. Seriously, if I hear GFGF one more time I may bring out some of my old self-defense moves (yeah I used to teach classes!).

    Anyway, ever think about opening a cafe? My husband and I were saying that what the world needs are restaurants, cafes and bakeries that are totally G free and don’t make a big deal about being that way (mainly bc of the dummies who think GF is subpar) and it would just be normal, you know, to walk into a place and feeling t

  • Tammy Trayer

    Hi Nicole,
    Your recipes and cookbooks are amazing. Being we are 100% gluten free and 100% dairy free and live very traditionally making EVERYTHING from scratch.   I have been sending your information all over the place and talking it up in regard to Gluten Free on a Shoestring and yourself as well as my second love Better Batter and Naomi.  I have a couple articles that will be published that mention you ladies and I also have several others in the works.  Thanks for all your hard work and efforts.  Please know they are greatly appreciated….

    Tammy Trayer <3

  • Hannah

    I also hate the words “Good, for gluten free.”  ARGH!  I have come to the point where I don’t tell anyone who doesn’t NEED to know that my baked goods are gluten free.  Its amazing to me how relatively easy it is to ruin something by perception.  I’ve made angel food cake, chocolate cupcakes, banana chocolate chip muffins and more and didn’t mention that it was gluten free.  99% of the time, folks who don’t know come back for seconds and thirds and beg me to make more, insisting that they are the best they have ever had.  Those same people, when presented with the SAME baked goods and told, “oh, but these are gluten free” take a few bites and say, “well, its pretty good…. for gluten free.  but I like those (pointing to the GF item that was not identified as such) better.  I can really taste a difference.”  And, when asked what, exactly, that difference is?  “Oh, I don’t know, just something about them that is different.”

    When I point out that both items are actually Gluten Free, they feel foolish to say the least.  But still.  Come on people.  If it tastes good, it tastes good.  If it doesn’t, its not because its gluten free, its because it wasn’t made well.

  • Egrigby

    I’m trying to be good, so I’m not going to make these cookies.  However, just for you, I want you to know that every time I try something new from your cookbooks (I have both), I post a picture on facebook to all of my friends and let them know how amazing it is.  If I had a twitter following, I’d do it there too, but like most real people, I only have about 7 followers on Twitter.  I like delicious Gluten Free food, and I’m not going to take the crappy stuff any more!!!

    • Candaceiw

      I recently added someone to my FB page and they commented…do you do anything besides bake and cook? I always post my GF cooking escapades! I talk hockey a lot too and add a bit about my sewing and crocheting..oh, I work outside the house too, but that isn’t anything fun…I think make/bake/take GF is much more interesting….

  • Patti

    I am with you.  I take my (your recipes) g-free, homemade goods everywhere.  I wait until someone remarks how wonderful the item is & then tell I them it’s g-free.  They are ALWAYS shocked/surprised.  I love that reaction.   But I promise to step it up a notch…………….not sure how just yet ( I don’t facebook, tweet, blog, etc.), but I will do something, even to talk it up more and send them to your site. 

    The world needs to know!!

    O, and I will add this, I was honestly depressed a year ago with the selection of g-free food out there.  Found your cookbook (at the library after searching for g-free cookbooks) & devoured it.  Went to your website, bought your first cookbook & now the second and no more depression over lousy g-free foods!!  Can’t say thank you enough.

  • Mary Hall

    Sorry, guys, but I’m on the other side of the fence on this one–I ALWAYS tell folks that a food is gluten-free BEFORE they eat it.  With all the food allergies that folks have, I wouldn’t want to spring gluten-free foods on anyone anymore than I would want someone to spring gluten on me.  There are lots of gluten-free baked goods which contain eggs, soy flours, nut flours, etc. that can be common allergies.  Those with allergies–including gluten allergies–often know what “to keep an eye open” for.  If I were allergic to nut flours, and someone told me a cookie was gluten-free, it would at least give me a heads-up to ask about the flour used.

    On another note though, as a recent gluten-free convert, this past Thanksgiving was my first holiday gluten-free.  Between my daughter and I, we managed to make an ENTIRE gluten-free Thanksgiving meal, including cornbread stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole (darn that glutenous cream of mushroom soup and French’s fried onions!) and dinner rolls (Nicole, we used your recipe for the rolls and they were AMAZING).  Like any other family, we have our traditional foods, and because we were all aware of the gluten (I’m the only one who deliberately eats GF), we were able to recreate every single traditional food item–gluten-free.  The result?  The food is GONE!  It was delicious and beyond the initial, “Wow, I can’t believe this is gluten free!”, we simply ate a delicious dinner.

    • Hannah

      Oh, I think it is important to let new people know what the ingredients in your food are specifically because there are so many allergies out there too.  But with those you know who don’t have issues, it gets exhausting when they are constantly implying that your food must be less than because it is gluten free.

    • Hannah

      Of course, I also think its the responsibility of the person with the allergy to ask for the ingredients.  I never assume that something is gluten free, so why should someone else assume mine is egg free, for example.  If asked, I will always happily give out the recipe or ingredients.

  • Addy

    When I first went GF I wasted money on those overpriced not very good store bought stuff. Then I found your blog, now the only thing I really buy is GF Pasta, for those nights when I need something super quick. Most everything else is made from scratch. I also made my first fully GF Thanksgiving, and I used your Popover & Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese frosting. People were impressed and wanted to take lots of leftovers home. My husband had his Grandpa bring his favorite type of pie because he wanted to bring something, and when we packing up his “Care Package” of leftovers, he asked for the Pumpkin Cake. It doesn’t have to be GFGF, it just has to be great.

  • Candaceiw

    I don’t bake/make anything BUT items that are GF.  They come with me to sporting events and as school treats and thank yous and birthday parties…I don’t make excuses for gf, and I DO make a point of telling people that they are gf (and sometimes cf and soy free, peanut free and even vegan sometimes and that they don’t contain a slew of chemicals)…I get weird looks, like why would I share?

    But, I share and it starts a whole discussion of why we make such drastic choices when no one has celiac disease….BUT, my kids have been tested and ARE sensitive to gluten and casein and peanuts and I avoid soy at all costs…we prescribe to this way of eating because my son has autism and we have seen amazing changes in his behaviors…so while, it is easy to say it is GF it often comes with a long explanation. I’m an educator at heart…I also share that they are GF, because I think the stuff I choose to bake/make/take tastes amazing. Better than the crud that can be picked up locally and easily. Name brands that are familiar and contain lists of ingredients that most people cannot verbalize. So, good enough as GF and I say, better than store bought, because I care enough to make it myself and I KNOW what is in it…and if it is store bought, it is NOT going to have a list of chemicals either….

    and Nicole it is because of you and your wizardry with food science that keeps encouraging me to do what I do, because on top of it all…GF is not easy! I’ve experienced a  lot of failures, but You, Nicole make GF bake/make/take amazing! 

  • Kelardo1

    I bring my GF treats everywhere I go for my boy and just to see if folks will notice.  I usually make the “chips ahoy” because its my fave. And you know what, nobody notices that they are GF AND AND AND they ask me for the recipe because they have “this great texture.” that’s when I spill the beans and they’re all like “no way, these are amazing.” so let’s just keep doing that one person at a time.

  • Ruth M. Henshaw

    It seems my church frequently has fellowships after church which of course includes snacks.  After a very long time I now have one more gluten free person at church and it makes things a little more enjoyable.  It is amazing to me how “ignorant” people are about being gluten free and they act like it is just another recipe to try.  I have discovered that I can truly taste when cookies are made with just rice flour for instance and I find it very unpleasant to my palate.  A good gluten free cookie to me should not taste any different than one made with wheat flour. (unless it’s better)  I am anxious to try your nutter-butter cookies because I have always loved nutter-butters and really miss them.   Love your recipes (including all the comments).  You have been a blessing to me and best of all I no longer feel deprived because gluten free cooking is a challenge, not a death sentence.
    Thanks for all you do to uplift the spirits of many people.  Merry Christmas to you and your family with love and gratitude.
                                                   Ruth Henshaw

  • Sanja

    I am making these for my daughter’s school birthday party tomorrow!!! Thank you, Nicole! They sound and look delicious!
    Happy Mom :)

  • Debrah

    Oh, man! These are my FAVORITE store bought cookies! Nicole, you have just made me really, super duper happy with this recipe!! Muah! Thank you!! <3

  • AllieBoBallie

    Gluten-free can and should and does taste great. I think the keys to silencing the naysayers are these:
    – Experiment
    – Buy quality ingredients*
    – Ask for advice, if you need it
    – Don’t feed your catastrophes to the uninitiated
    – Feed your triumphs to EVERYONE

    I know my GF cupcakes, brownies, cookies, cakes, etc. kick the gluteny butts of my friends’ from-scratch baked goods any day. Any day, I tell you! Of course, most of my friends use store-bought mixes. Even then, my GF friends, ours taste better… because I said so. ;^)

    *We need to bring the cost of GF basics down. The cost is outrageous. I truly feel for anyone in a financial pinch who needs to eat GF. And do food banks stock GF products? I wonder about that every holiday season, and should probably look into it. If anyone knows…

    I’m rambling. I’ll stop. Thanks for a great post, Nicole.

  • Christenar

    MADE THESE!!!! (although I couldnt wait to own an oval cookies cutter, so mine are round)
    My husband just informed me these were his new favorite cookie.  No one suspected anything beyond yummy.  Thinking I want to dip in dark chocolate next! =)

  • Jessica

    You are great…all the things I worry my kiddo will miss out on, you make. Thanks!

  • Pam Cotterman

    I luv this post and can’t wait to try these cookies…. :* 

  • Pam Cotterman

    I luv this post (and YOU) & can’t wait to try these cookies….. :* … does anyone remember ‘Gaucho’s’?  Very similar to Nutter Butters … probably showing my age ;)

This recipe was brought to you by Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring:
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