Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies
January 24, 2011
Always looking for an excuse to get together, my friends and I decided to have a little “conference game party” this past weekend to eat, I mean, watch football. Though I’m not a huge sports fan, I appreciate the ability of these events to bring people together. We decided on a finger food theme, and they consented to my bringing desserts! Yay!
One of the things I wanted to bring was some sort of miniature cookie, one that could be eaten in a bite, because of the ooh-ahh-cute value and the practicality of it at a finger food party. This post inspired me, and I was all ready to start cookie production until reading the yield. I’m still super excited to try out the recipe but I didn’t have the motivation to deal with all that dough. And the recipe would have been hard to halve because it called for just one egg. Hard pressed for time and a solution, I turned to the girl who always saves me in such circumstances, Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Minutes later, I had a recipe and an hour or so later, I had cookies!
I ended up halving to half this particular recipe, yielding 4 dozen teaspoon sized cookies, in order to make them bite sized, and chocolate chip sized. Perfect! And my favorite part about these cookies is their versatility. You could make them and eat them on their own, or you could put candy in the centers after baking, like the ridiculously adored and well-known peanut butter blossom. I’m sure there are at least dozens of other ways to utilize this cookie base, as well, like making a thumbprint and filling them with jam after baking. Hence the reason I tweaked the name, wanting to highlight their adaptability.
“Multipurpose” Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies (originally called Peanut Butter Crisscrosses)
(Recipe adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar)
Yields 2 dozen cookies, rolling them into generous tablespoon size balls
½ cup shortening
½ cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth (Isa recommends the natural, no-stir kind of peanut butter, which is what I used, but if you don’t have the no-stir variety, make sure to stir it very well to use it in the recipe)
¾ cup granulated sugar (or brown sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons molasses or honey (if using brown sugar, eliminate this ingredient)
1 ¼ cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 to 3 tablespoons (non-dairy) milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If you have non-stick baking sheets, there’s no preparation necessary, otherwise grease your cookie sheets or line them with parchment. To get a crispy, brown bottom on these cookies, use dark metal baking sheets.
2. In a mixing bowl large enough to contain all ingredients, cream the shortening, peanut butter, and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes by hand.
3. Mix in vanilla and molasses/honey (if using).
4. Add half the flour, and the rest of the dry ingredients, and stir with a sturdy wooden spoon or using your hands to incorporate the ingredients.
5. Add the rest of the flour and keep combining the dough. If the dough will not stay together when squeezed, add the milk, one tablespoon at a time, mixing in between additions of milk until the dough comes together.
6. Pinch generous tablespoon sized pieces of dough and roll them into balls. From here you could roll them in sugar and bake as is (if you want to add some sort of mix-in on top after baking), or flatten them with the back of a glass and then use a fork to press the crisscross shape into the top of each cookie. These cookies do not spread much at all, so they only need to be an inch or so apart when placed on the baking sheets.
7. Bake each sheet in a preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned.
8. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 6 to 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, though after 3 days, like most baked goods, the cookies get a tad stale.