For the past five years these have been my go-to cookies to whip up when a sugar craving strikes. And I don’t see that changing.
I first made them when I was living in Beijing, where good-tasting butter was only available at the expat supermarkets. After an afternoon of googling, I found a peanut butter cookie recipe that required neither butter nor flour.
I changed up the recipe a bit by using chunky peanut butter instead of smooth. And instead of dropping the dough onto the sheet, I used my hands to compact the dough and make smaller, denser cookies and shortened the baking time by a bit. As a result my cookies came out crunchy, whereas the picture on Cookie Madness made them look soft and chewy.
But…jackpot…these taste almost exactly like the large peanut butter cookies my father used to make at his Cantonese bakery back in Boston. The ones I would scarf down whenever I stopped by, to “visit.” And since he hardly ever baked at home, I didn’t really learn any of his trade secrets. (Yes, it’s true that Chinese folks tend to prefer crunchier cookies, having grown up outside the cult of Nestle Tollhouse.)
This recipe makes 40 small cookies, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be gone by morning.
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 40 small cookies
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup peanut butter (chunky for crunchier cookies, smooth for slightly softer)
- 1 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, egg, baking soda, and vanilla. Add the peanut butter and (optional) chopped peanuts. Mix until well incorporated.
- Squish the dough to make small, tightly compressed balls about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Press them down with a fork so they bear the universal lines for “peanut butter cookie.” Or just press them down with your hands. Bake in the oven for 8 or 9 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Share the cookies with others, or hide them from your significant other or roommates if you want any left for yourself.
Adapted from Cookie Madness. Recipe first published April 2, 2008. Revised April 8, 2013.