|I was in a good mood tonight, and skipped into the kitchen to put together a quick late night batch of flourless peanut butter cookies. We always have a colossal tub of peanut butter on hand for just this sort of noctournal cookie craving.|
Baking is a very happy thing for me. The idea that some people are frustrated by baking, or just flat out hate it, is confusing. It’s always a good time to bake! I bake when I am happy, when the world already seems encrusted in sparkling sugar crystals. I bake when I am sad, to salve my depression with something warm and usually chocolatey. I bake when I am stressed out, to lose myself in the simplicity of blending fat, sugar, and flour to remind myself that yes, I am still good at this one thing, even if nothing else is working. I bake when I am bored, as a creative outlet. And most importantly, I bake to show people that they are appreciated. Food is love. Especially gluten-free sweets.
While my first sheet was in the oven, I started thinking about my Christmas cookie assortment. I love putting together packets of untraditional goodies for folks, as it’s a nice break from your great aunt’s dry, burnt-bottomed, flavorless spritz. Ick. (And yes, I am thinking about the holidays already, and realize this is probably not healthy. I’ve spent too much time on Pinterest lately trawling for DIY gift ideas that say “thoughful” rather than “we couldn’t afford a real present.” Ha.)
These flourless peanut butter cookies need to make an appearance in my holiday repertoire, as they border on fudgy and require just four ingredients. (Yes, four!) But how to make them special? I considered drizzing with chocolate, a combination I’m frankly not fond of. Nah. Cinnamon? Meh. I evaluate the spice cabinet like a cyborg scanning the terrain for signs of life. Five spice powder? Beep, buzz…*in robot voice*…locking target and evaluating mission compatability…Bingo! That’ll do!
These “fusion” cookies channel the eastern flavor combination of anise, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, and cloves paired with peanuts. And you can have them out of the oven in 30 minutes flat, with minimal dishes to wash afterwards. (Why are you still reading? Get thee to the kitchen!)
- 240g (1 cup) peanut butter
- 145g (2/3) c. sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
- flake sea salt for dusting, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F and get out a baking sheet.
- Mix all ingredients together (except for salt, if using) in a mixing bowl with your trusty wooden spoon. Do NOT overmix after ingredients are combined, as this causes the oil in the peanut butter to separate and creates hard, oily cookies. Allow dough to rest for about 5 minutes if it looks too sticky to roll into balls at this point.
- Roll dough into 1″ balls. Place on baking sheet, 3″ apart, and press a fork into the top in a criscross pattern. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of salt over each cookie, if desired.
- Bake 10-12 minutes, until a few cookies become barely golden at the edges. They will still look gooey at this point, but never fear! they firm up as they cool. Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.