Delightfully thick and chewy gluten free apple peanut butter cookies with tiny, fork-tender chunks of diced apple throughout and rich peanut butter flavor.
I used to think of “cookie season” as the fall and winter holiday time. I now consider it to be all year, and just doubling down around the holidays.
It is in that spirit that I give you these delightfully thick and chewy gluten free apple peanut butter cookies. They really are the perfect fall cookie.
Baking with peanut butter and apples
Something pretty amazing happens when you bake with both peanut butter and apples. Baking with peanut butter tends to make cookies crispy, like standard crosshatch peanut butter cookies.
And since apples have lots and lots of moisture in them, baking with them tends to produce a cake-like cookie. Baking with both, in the very same cookie? Boy oh boy.
What to expect from the raw cookie dough
You can see in the photo above how moist the raw cookie dough is. You can easily squeeze it together in your hands.
Unlike the dough for many other cookies, you won’t chill this dough before baking it. The peanut butter in the dough helps to keep the cookies from spread too much.
You do want to roll the dough into a ball, and then press it into a disk. Otherwise, your cookies will be more like puffy little buttons than actual cookies.
What is the texture of these apple peanut butter cookies?
Thick and chewy is indeed the very best way to describe these cookies. They spread just enough to make a proper cookie but not so much that there are any lacy, crisp edges.
The tiny, tender apple chunks add the unmistakeable flavors of fall, and the peanut butter flavor is rich and full, just as it should be. Say hello to a new family favorite.
Ingredients and substitutions
If you’re dairy-free, you will need to replace of the butter in this recipe. I would try vegan butter. Melt brand and Miyoko’s Kitchen brands are my favorite.
Earth Balance buttery sticks generally are not a good substitute for butter in any recipe like cookies that need to maintain their shape during baking. They have a lot more water in them than butter, and that causes the cookies to spread a lot more than intended.
Since there is only one egg in this cookie dough, you should be able to replace it relatively easily. I would try a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel).
These are peanut butter cookies, so you need, well, peanut butter. The recipe calls for a smooth, no-stir peanut butter, which is just the type of nut butter the oil in which doesn’t naturally separate from the rest of the mixture at room temperature.
If you would like to try using another nut butter, I recommend trying smooth, no-stir almond butter. Barney Butter is a really good brand (although it’s crazy expensive, and seems only to have gotten worse!).
Thick and Chewy Gluten Free Apple Peanut Butter Cookies
2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (128 g) smooth no-stir peanut butter
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely diced (about 180 g) (Granny Smith works best)
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar and whisk again to combine, breaking up any lumps. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, peanut butter, egg and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will be thick but soft. Add the finely diced apple, and mix carefully until the apple is evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Pull off portions of cookie dough that are about 2 tablespoonsful each, roll into a ball between your palms and flatten into a 1/2-inch thick disk, then place about 1 1/2-inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheets. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cookies are lightly golden brown all over and set in the center, about 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. If you attempt to move the cookies from the baking sheet too soon, they won’t hold together.
Adapted from Taste of Home. Originally published on the blog in 2015. Recipe unchanged; video and some photos new; some text new.