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3 Recipes for 4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

image source: sheri silver | babble
image source: sheri silver | babble

I love to bake — it’s just about one of my favorite things to do. And I’m not afraid of tackling recipes with long ingredient lists or that require hours of effort. But sometimes I just want a cookie. Fast. And there is NO cookie faster than the 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie.

Have you heard of it? It couldn’t be simpler (or faster) — a cup of peanut butter, a cup of sugar, and an egg. And while I have no idea how a recipe with no flour or leavening agents bakes up into a soul-satisfying, tender and delicious cookie, I do know that it’s my go-to when I need a cookie NOW.

It’s the lovely simplicity of this recipe that lends itself so readily to a variety of adaptations. Because sometimes we need to change things up — whether it’s for dietary or allergy concerns, or we want a little something extra.

4 ingredient peanut butter cookies
IMAGE SOURCE: SHERI SILVER

I’ve got three easy and delicious variations on the classic peanut butter cookie. All are gluten-free and need only one extra ingredient. I’ve tweaked things a bit for those with a peanut allergy or following a vegan diet.

Because simple should never mean boring. Even with a cookie.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints

4 ingredient peanut butter and jelly cookies
image source: sheri silver

For this recipe I changed the classic crisscross shape of the original cookie and created a thumbprint filled with a bit of strawberry jam. The taste is just like a PB&J, minus the bread!

4 ingredient peanut butter and jelly cookies
image source: sheri silver

Makes: 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup strawberry jelly

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place two tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl, set aside. Add the rest of the sugar, along with the peanut butter and egg, to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on medium speed until well blended.
  3. Make tablespoon-sized balls of dough and roll in your reserved sugar. Place on your prepared baking sheet.
  4. Using the end of a wooden spoon (or a clean finger), make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and place about 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the center of each cookie. Cool completely.

Almond Butter Bars

4 ingredient almond butter cookies
image source: sheri silver

My younger son has a peanut allergy, so I am a big fan of almond butter. As it has a milder flavor than commercial peanut butter I matched it with brown sugar for this recipe. I pressed the batter into a baking pan and gave it a generous sprinkle of flaky salt. The result? A crispy, yet tender bar with a salty-sweet flavor that is out of this world.

4 ingredient almond butter cookies
IMAGE SOURCE: SHERI SILVER

Makes: 16 bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • flaky sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F; line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper in both directions, leaving enough overhang to create a “sling.”
  2. Mix the almond butter, sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended. Press evenly into your prepared pan and sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack and cut into squares.

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

4 ingredient vegan peanut butter cookies
image source: sheri silver

My daughter has been a vegan for almost three years, so I’ve become quite adept at baking without the benefit of butter, milk, or eggs. For this recipe I chose a banana to replace the egg — and it worked beautifully. These cookies spread much more than their non-vegan counterparts, so I added a bit of baking soda to help them keep their shape (and provide some leavening too). The result? Cookies that are crispy around the edges with a tender center.

4 ingredient vegan peanut butter cookies
IMAGE SOURCE: SHERI SILVER

Makes: 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F; line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all the ingredients on medium speed until well blended. Drop tablespoon-sized mounds, spaced evenly, between your two baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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