These paleo peanut butter cookies use sunflower seed butter and have a crisp edge and chewy center! With a vegan option. Includes a video.
I know. Peanuts aren’t paleo. These cookies don’t actually use peanut butter but they taste similar to peanut butter cookies! As close as you’re going to get without any actual peanut butter.
I used unsweetened sunflower seed butter, which is a fantastic sub for peanut butter. I used it in this healthy peanut butter and jelly fudge and this chocolate peanut butter fudge for the paleo version (both are vegan) and the sunflower seed version is really just as delicious as the peanut butter one.
You’re probably not going to fool your kids into thinking these are made with peanut butter, though. Thought I should give you that warning. :)
Even if you think you don’t like sunflower seed butter (some people think it’s a bit bitter), I bet you’ll love these paleo “peanut butter” cookies! Believe me – there’s enough sweetener in there to take care of any bitterness issues!
I will say that the strength of the sunflower seed taste depends on your sunflower seed butter. I use homemade sunflower seed and on those days when I accidentally toast the sunflower seeds a little too long and they’ve started to brown, the sunflower seed taste in the cookies is naturally stronger.
If your cookies turn green or have some green spots, don’t panic! It could happen (though I haven’t had that issue). It’s a normal reaction between the chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds and the baking soda. It doesn’t change the taste and they haven’t gone bad!
I read in the SunButter FAQ that a splash of lemon juice helps. So that’s what I’ve done! So far, no green cookies. :)
I also read that reducing the baking soda helps but I tried that and these cookies need the full amount of baking soda.
Something else I did to transform my paleo chocolate chip cookies into these paleo peanut butter cookies was to add another tablespoon of coconut flour. Sunflower seed butter is a little runnier than almond butter and you could see it by looking at the dough.
Or is that just my homemade sunflower seed butter? I’ve made different variations of these cookies over 100 times and every time, the sunflower version comes out very wet – at least until you chill the dough very well!
Using different sweeteners
I’ve gotten SO many questions about using maple syrup or honey in place of the coconut sugar in my chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’ve tried it loads of times and just don’t like the result.
You unfortunately can’t sub a liquid sweetener for a granulated one and not reduce the liquid. The problem with my recipe is that there’s no liquid to reduce! More liquid in a recipe = more cakey, which is definitely not how I like my cookies.
I experimented with just using the yolk, adding more flour, and stuff like that but nothing worked.
So the same goes for this paleo peanut butter cookie recipe – you have to use a granulated sweetener unless you want to totally change the texture of the cookies. When you sub in a liquid sweetener, these cookies will taste like a healthy cookie.
Want to use peanut butter?
And as for using actual peanut butter in these cookies, I still haven’t had success with that. I’ve had loads of people tell me in the original recipe that they used it with success, but I really wonder if they first tried the almond butter version.
Every single time I’ve tried, the resulting cookie texture is definitely different. The peanut butter ones are cakey and don’t have the awesome texture and they don’t taste very peanut buttery. I actually prefer these sunflower seed butter cookies over the real peanut butter version!
Until I master a grain-free peanut butter cookie, you can always make my vegan chickpea cookies! They’re like ooey gooey peanut butter cookie dough when eaten straight out of the oven. :D
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Paleo Peanut Butter Cookies (vegan option, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 8 huge bakery-style cookies or 16 regular-sized cookies
- 1 cup (100 grams) blanched almond flour
- 5 tablespoons (40 grams) coconut flour, sifted if lumpy
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/8 teaspoon salt (or 1/4 teaspoon if using salted sunflower seed butter)
- 6 tablespoons (84 grams) coconut oil or unsalted butter, room temperature (if your coconut oil is a little soft, put it in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes or until firmer, like softened butter. If you use very soft coconut oil, the dough will be greasy and the chocolate chips will be hard to incorporate.)
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) coconut sugar
- 6 tablespoons (98 grams) salted natural sunflower seed butter (the kind with just sunflower seeds in it and no added fat / sugar), room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, if desired, to prevent cookies from possibly turning green
- 1 large egg (50 grams, out of shell), room temperature or 1 chia egg for vegan
- 1 1/4 cups (213 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided (use dairy-free / vegan / paleo chocolate), if desired)
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer or using a stand mixer, beat together the fat, sunflower seed butter and sugar for about 1 minute.
- Beat in the vanilla and egg or chia egg on low and mix until well incorporated. Stir in the lemon juice and then the flour mixture until well combined. Then stir in 1 cup (170 grams) chocolate chips. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap (I form a flat disc so it chills quicker) and chill for about 4 hours or until firm. If you're in a hurry, press into a very flat disc or two and freeze for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Roll the dough into 8 (75-gram) balls, press down very slightly, and place the remaining 1/4 cup (43 grams) of chocolate chips on the top and on the sides of the dough balls. You can also roll them into smaller balls but then you need to adjust the baking time. Place 4" apart on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 13-17 minutes or until the surface of the center of the cookies no longer appears wet. They'll be very soft but will continue to cook as they sit on the cookie sheet.
- Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Don't be alarmed if there are green spots in the cookies – this could happen (see post for more details).
- For paleo: use coconut oil, and paleo chocolate.
- For dairy-free: use coconut oil and dairy-free chocolate.
- For vegan: use coconut oil, vegan chocolate and a chia egg.