I used to love making a bunch of different Christmas cookies…trying new recipes each year and making my favorites. Then I had Jenson and that got more difficult, but I still managed quite a variety. And then I had Marlowe, and two days before Christmas I’ve only made 2 recipes so far. Baking with a toddler who wants to “help” and with a baby who is constantly pulling up to stand against my legs and wanting up is nearly impossible. The first recipe barely counts because it consists of putting Hershey kisses or Rolos on a pretzels, putting them into the oven for 5 minutes and then pressing an M&M on top. It takes longer to unwrap the candy than to make them. I’m not downplaying how good these are though…because I’ve probably already eaten a cookie sheet amount of them already (note to self: make these last next year). The other cookie that I’ve made is Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies that I’m going to tell you about today.
The best thing about these cookies is that they only require 5 ingredients, plus the candy. The 2nd best thing about these cookies is that you can make them several different ways from the same dough and have a variety that everyone is going to love. They are flourless, gluten free, and dairy free (though not egg free and certainly not peanut free). Using Hershey Kisses is the more “traditional” way, put I prefer putting the dough in mini-muffin pans and pressing in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups after baking. Other options include Rolos, or you can just make them plain if you for some reason hate chocolate – many people use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern right after they are baked when making them plain. You can even roll them in white or colored sugar before baking or substitute Nutella for part of the peanut butter (see those options here). Since I was fresh out of Rolos from the pretzel treats mentioned above, I made them with Hershey Kisses (both milk chocolate and dark) and Reeses this year.
I waited until Lo was home so Jenson could “help” me measure the ingredients for the dough while Lo looked after Marlowe. You can mix them by hand or with a mixer, and they only require 1 bowl, a 1 cup measuring cup, and a teaspoon. I doubled the recipe belowe and it made 1 cookie sheet of the Kiss variety (20 cookies), 1 mini muffin pan of the PB cup variety, and 1/2 of a mini muffin pan of the mixed variety (kisses and pb cups).
So to recap, here are 5 topping options: Kisses (any variety), PB cups, Rolos, plain, and Nutella swirled. They can also be rolled in sugar before baking if you want.
These simple gluten-free cookies can be made several ways with the same dough, so they will suit different tastes and add variety to cookie trays.
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup sugar (I prefer 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 white sugar)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ -1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- candy toppings, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap Hershey Kisses now or during the baking time. Mix everything together using a mixer or by hand. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet; these will only spread slightly, or place in a mini muffin pan if using Reese's Cups (this method works for Kisses and Rolos too). I prefer to use reusable silicone baking mats or parchment on my cookie sheets, but the cookies shouldn’t stick to any pan. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes, until they start look slightly dry and begin to show cracks. If you want them to be soft and chewy, pull them out when the cracks form. If you prefer crunchy, wait another minute or two until they are more golden brown. Remove from oven and lightly press a Hershey’s kiss or rolo into the center. The chocolate on the bottom will melt slightly and hold the candy to the cookie. Leave cookies on pan for at least 5 minutes to help them set up. If you use a mini-muffin pan, wait 10 minutes and gently slide a toothpick down beside the cookie to loosen, and it should pop out pretty easily. Carefully transfer to a wire rack until completely cool and wait until the chocolate on top is hardened again before stored in an air-tight container. Store in the fridge if saving for a week or so.
You can get away with only dirtying 1 measuring cup by measuring sugar first and then peanut butter using the same cup. If you are using 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar, put the brown sugar packed down in the bottom half of the measuring cup and add white sugar on top to fill it - it doesn't have to be exactly equal amounts, as these can be made with all brown sugar (softer cookies), all white sugar (for crunchier), or a mix.
If you measure the baking powder before the vanilla, you'll only need 1 teaspoon - just estimate filling the teaspoon 1/2 full for vanilla. Also note that these can technically be made without baking powder or vanilla as "3 ingredient cookies", but I prefer them with the addition.
Here are previous batches I’ve made before. The top ones are rolled in white sugar before baking and topped with Rolos and Kisses after baking. The bottom one I subbed some Nutella for some of the peanut butter, which created a marbled look and added a hint of Nutella taste.