File under Obsessions: Roasted Peanut Flour

Peanut flour. Two words that go great together (insert “roasted” in the middle and that’s where the magic is…skip the raw variety). A while back I picked up a little bag a Trader Joe’s and since then I fear it’s no longer regularly stocked, but but fortunately a quick search reveals it’s alive and well via shopping online.

Besides blending with a little almond milk and a touch of agave for a lower-fat peanutty dip for apple slices and chilled grapes, roasted peanut flour excels in baked goods. And adds a protein boost too. But this flour is best at adding peanut butter depth and richness to recipes without the oily heaviness often associated with peanut-butter flavored baked goods. In fact, I think I just might prefer peanut butter cookies made only with the addition of roasted peanut flour.

The following recipe is a gluten-free cookie developed a while ago for a project that’s on the back burner for now, but still equals great peanut butter cookies with a light texture and plenty of peanut aroma. Regarding the gluten free flour mix, use your favorite purchased blend (like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix), our blend from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, or a blend of rice and oat flour (with perhaps a touch of coconut or quinoa flour for body).

I’ve since then “glutenized” this recipe for myself by using an equal amount of whole wheat pastry flour in place of the GF mix. I love how the cinnamon and brown sugar compliment the toasty notes in the peanut flour too. And I’ve even replaced ⅓ cup of the oil with apple sauce for a moist, tender peanutty-cookie with less overall fat. However you pick your peanuts, these little cookies can be changed and re-arranged to suit your peanut butter treat needs.

Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies
makes about 2 dozen small cookies

Looking for a light and leaner cookie? Substitute ⅓ cup of unsweetened apple sauce for ⅓ cup of the oil.

1 1/2 cups gluten-free baking mix or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup roasted peanut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup plain almond milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup peanut, sunflower or canola oil
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl sift together gluten free baking mix (or flour), roasted peanut flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

2. In a separate bowl whisk together brown sugar, almond milk, vanilla extract and oil until smooth. Pour into the dry mixture and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir just enough to form a thick dough. Add chocolate chips and gentle fold into the dough with your hands, pressing in any chips that pop out. Drop by generous tablespoons onto the parchment paper, spaced about 3 inches apart. If desired press a few extra chips into the tops of cookies, then press down on each cookie with your palm or back of a measuring cup to flatten.

3. Bake for 10-11 minutes, then remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Use a spatula to lift cookies and move onto wire rack to complete cooling. Store tightly covered. Tightly wrapped these cookies also freeze very well; let stand on a counter top to reach room temperature or gently warm in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.

Vegan (Recipe) Hack Attack: Trash Mash Cookies

This is a shameless vegan hack of a cookie that’s received celebrity-grade attention in NYC in recent days: the “compost” cookie from Momofuku Milk Bar. This version is a dairy-free, eggless yet buttery disk that barely contains a slew of chocolate chips, vegan white chocolate chips, pretzels (make mine peanut butter filled), potato chips and ground coffee. Open your heart and mouth to this Frankencookie that’s a freefall of salty, crunchy, brown-sugary and chewy, plus best of all: coffee! Grind up fresh a few tablespoons of your best beans, I promise it’s worth the effort.

Still in the dark about vegan white chocolate chips? Try an Internet search for “vegan white chocolate chips” and you’ll find some handy sites for ordering online. I make an occasional trek to a local Kosher supermarket and stock up on Israeli dairy-free white chocolate chips; just look for the yellow bag with the smiling chef-hat bear.

Don’t fear adding potato chips to cookies; it’s an old secret ingredient that adds loads of chewy texture, best with the classic crunchy, slightly oily style of chocolate chip confection these cookies take after. Hearty kettle-style potato chips are my favorite in life and in this recipe. I opted for peanut butter filled pretzels in mine but go ahead and use any style of pretzel (salt & pepper or sourdough) or other mashed up cookies such as graham crackers (is this cookie cannibalism?). Whatever you load these up with you’ll have an extreme sporting event for your mouth that goes great with a glass of almond milk. And please don’t call these wholesome, they’re a decadent party or holiday treat to be shared with the junk food fans in your life.

Trash Mash Cookies

4 tablespoons almond milk
4 teaspoons ground golden flax seeds

1 cup Earth Balance margarine, slightly softened
2/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
generous pinch sea salt
3 cups salted potato chips
1 1/2 cups peanut butter filled pretzels, roughly chopped
1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
4 teaspoons ground coffee beans (medium grind)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small cup gently heat the almond milk in the microwave until steaming, about 1 minute on high (or warm on a stove top). Use a fork to whisk in ground flax seeds and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric handheld mixer to cream together Earth Balance, brown sugar and sugar until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrap the sides of the bowl frequently. Add flaxseed mixture and vanilla and beat until creamy. Sift in flour, baking soda and sea salt and beat to form a soft dough, scrapping sides of bowl frequently. In a separate mixing bowl combine potato chips, chopped pretzels, and both chocolate chips and using your hand press down on the chips to crush. Add mixture to dough and fold into the dough; I like using my hand to make sure everything distributes evenly. Sprinkle ground coffee and knead dough just a few times to distribute coffee somewhat randomly through the dough.

Use a 1 Tablespoon sized cookie scoop and drop scoops of dough onto baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies as they will spread. Gently squish down dough scoops with your palm and bake for 9-10 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on sheets for 5 minutes before using a spatula to transfer to cooling racks. Store completely cooled cookies in loosely covered container. Makes about 2 ½ dozen.