After I discovered flourless peanut butter cookies, I’ve never once made peanut butter cookies the traditional way again. You might ask why we need to go flourless on something that doesn’t taste bad with flour in it. Well, peanut butter cookies don’t need to be flourless. It’s just that some of us — even those who have no issues with gluten — prefer flourless peanut butter cookies to traditional ones, because the peanut flavor in flourless peanut butter cookies is much, much more pronounced. The cookies are also moister and remain that way longer. They even taste great frozen.
If you’ve never had peanut butter cookies made without any added flour, you should really try them. Even if you still won’t abandon your traditional peanut butter cookies for these flourless ones like I have, I still think you’d consider this another great version of peanut butter cookies.
Not all flourless peanut butter cookie recipes out there are great, however. I’ve tried a few and while some are quite good, some are disappointing. Some produce cookies that spread out too much in the oven. Some produce cookies that are too dry and powdery. Fortunately, I’ve found the Goldilocks of flourless peanut butter cookies.
These flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies are from one of San Francisco’s best chocolatiers, Recchiuti.
This is, to date, the best recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies I have ever come across. The ingredient list is short. And though the fat content is not so low since it’s peanut butter we’re talking here, these cookies are lower in fat than many others since they don’t have any fat other than what’s in natural peanut butter. True, chocolate provides added fat, but you can cut it out entirely without any ill effects. I’ve made this recipe several times before with no chocolate added and always been pleased with the results.
What I love best about these cookies, in addition to them being absolutely delicious, is that you can mix the batter by hand with just a wooden spoon (even easier if you warm up the peanut butter in the microwave just slightly). Fewer things to wash. You’ve got to love that.
The recipe instructs you to mix the dark chocolate chunks right into the batter, and you can certainly do that. However, this batch you’re looking at here was my — I don’t know — 200th batch (?), so I thought I would convert it into thumbprint cookies for fun and in anticipation of the upcoming holidays.
All you have to do is follow the recipe as it is written (although I replaced white sugar with dark brown sugar for this particular batch). Instead of stirring the chocolate chunks into the batter, set them aside. Form the batter into 24 balls, flatten them, arranged them on Silpat- or parchment-lined cookie sheets with about 2 inches of space between them, and make an indentation in the middle of each with the end of a wooden spoon before you bake them. Once the cookies are done, you’ll need to reinforce the indentations while the cookies are still very warm right out of the oven. [This is because the cookies will have puffed up somewhat and the "wells" in their centers are too shallow for the chocolate filling.]
While the cookies are still warm and on the baking sheets, fill their centers with the chocolate chunks (you can use chocolate chips) which should slowly melt upon contact with the warm cookies. If your cookies have cooled down a bit too much and the chocolate chunks don’t melt readily, briefly pop the cookies back in the oven which, at this point, should still be warm. Smooth out the surface of the melted chocolate with the tip of a small knife or a toothpick.
Additional notes on the recipe: The recipe calls for natural peanut butter and chopped roasted peanuts. You can eliminate one step by using chunky natural peanut butter and forget the roasted peanuts. I usually double the recipe and use one whole 16-ounce of Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter (chunky).
Regardless, the success of this recipe rests on your peanut butter being natural. You cannot use the kind of peanut butter that is soft and spreadable at any temperature; you need the kind that comes with liquid fat that rises to the top. Even the brands that have “natural” on their labels produce disappointing results. If they say you do not need to stir it, you should not use it in this recipe.
I’ve never used homemade peanut butter, but I think that should work well.