This is the recipe for summer cookies.
The irony is that I discovered it in the holiday/cookie tin section of Julee Rosso’s “Great Good Food: Luscious Low-Fat Cooking” (1993). She named it Peanut Butter Bites.
I guess the idea of low fat is relative, compared to other indulgent holiday desserts.
But, this cookie is too good to wait until the last two months of the calendar to enjoy it.
My modification of Rosso’s version includes a more descriptive name – Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies – and detailed instructions.
Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies can be your go-to recipe for a short-term dessert when company rolls around any time of the year. And, with its light texture, the cookie is an easy addition for summer get-togethers.
This recipe is common on the internet under several different names, such as Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies.
With just three ingredients, the new cookie name signals an early call for simplicity. Heating the oven takes longer than combining crunchy peanut butter, sugar and an egg.
And, mixing by hand is enough strength to bring these ingredients together. Thus, it is not necessary to drag the electric beater.
Other benefits for those with dietary restrictions are that the absence of flour makes the cookies gluten-free and the omission of butter means dairy-free.
I didn’t miss the flour and butter. Their absence likely explains why a colleague noted that this cookie tastes more “peanut butter” than when using a traditional recipe. The peanut butter shines in this stripped down recipe.
But, the dough can be enriched by adding unsweetened 100% cocoa baking chips.
Peanut Butter Options
With cookies depending on few ingredients, the quality of the peanut butter matters to me. Read the label of a jar of peanut butter and you might be surprised to find more than the ingredient of the same name.
Since the natural oils in peanut butter can separate over time, some manufacturers add partially hydrogenated oils as a preventative. But separation is not a big problem for me. I just mix in the peanut butter and use it as needed.
Some peanut butters also contain sugar or other sweeteners. I like to keep those hidden sugars at bay. This cookie recipe contains enough sugar.
The biscuit is lighter and more delicate than other flour-based versions, so great care must be taken when removing the biscuits from the baking sheet onto a cooling rack. And the cookies are firmer at room temperature.
Once you’ve tried a batch of these cookies, not eating them for a few minutes out of the oven can be a challenge. But be patient. They’re such a satisfying bite when you’re craving a sweet treat.
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Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup large chunks of peanut butter
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. (Or, use a paper towel to spread about a 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil on the baking sheet and set aside.)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and beat for about 1 minute until frothy, which will help bulk the cookies. Add sugar and peanut butter and stir until combined.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet. The cookies will spread a bit, so don’t clutter the baking sheet. For a flatter cookie, dip a fork in water and use the backs of your tines to slightly flatten the ball of dough.
4. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes (the cookies will continue to brown on the bottom) before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will have a firmer texture if left to sit for a day. Makes about 36 cookies.
Chocolate chip options: Add 1/3 cup unsweetened 100% cocoa beans to batter.
Laura Gutschke is a generalist journalist and food columnist and manages the online content of the Reporter-News. If you enjoy local news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.