Chocolate-filled peanut butter cookies [Vegan, Gluten-free]
Easy and quick to make, these peanut butter cookies not only use more healthful ingredients than traditional cookies, but they also hold a chocolaty surprise in every center. They're perfect for a quick dessert, especially to take to parties.
Sweet Riot Chocolate:
The folks at Sweetriot sent me a sampling of their fair trade chocolate deliciousness. Sweetriot is a company that sells only fair trade chocolates, with a mission focusing on social and environmental sustainability. The company hits that sweet spot of having both a responsible and respectable business stance and a high quality product to offer consumers.
I enjoyed the chocolate so much that I wanted to use it for a dessert recipe. I wanted to make something classic, with a simple, familiar flavor so that the chocolate would have a chance to stand out. It was easy enough to settle on a favorite cookie, the peanut butter cookie. Hiding a square of Sweetriot chocolate bar in the center of each drop of cookie dough is a great way to enjoy this well-loved treat with a melty surprise in every center.
Sweetriot was even willing to provide a promotional code for you, dear readers, to help you recreate this recipe right down to the chocolate center. To get your own fair trade chocolate, visit sweetriot.com and enter in "treehuggerriot" at checkout for a 15% discount.
I used Sweetriot's 70% Dark Chocolate with Kickin' Coconut for the filling in this recipe -- not only do the cookies have a chocolately center, but also a hint of coconut flavor. Deeelicious!
Since this chocolate bar is vegan and gluten-free, it was only fitting to select a vegan and gluten-free cookie recipe. I found a basic vegan peanut butter cookie recipe I really like from 101 Cookbooks, which also uses olive oil, a healthier alternative to the usual vegetable oil. I altered it in a few ways, including using a gluten-free multi-blend flour from Authentic Foods. It is an excellent cup-for-cup style flour that is great for making gluten-free cookies and quickbreads. However, if you prefer using all-purpose flour, you can simply substitute.
Other substitutions to consider is using applesauce instead of oil, and maple syrup (or honey, if not a strict vegan) instead of agave nectar. This makes about 16-24 chocolate-filled cookies, depending on cookie size.
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, or cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup organic smooth peanut butter
1 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 bar vegan fair-trade dark chocolate, such as Sweetriot's dark chocolate with coconut, cut into squares
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place a rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a fork to sift.
3. In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, agave nectar, olive oil, and vanilla. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
4. Pour the flour mixture over the peanut butter mixture and stir until just barely combined.
5. Take a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and press an indentation in the center. Add a square of chocolate to the indentation.
Fold the edges over to completely cover the chocolate, taking care not to not work the dough too much. Place on the baking sheet and press to slightly flatten.
Depending on how chocolatey you want your cookies, adjust the amount of dough per cookie. Smaller cookies mean more chocolate flavor, larger cookies mean more peanut butter flavor.
6. Bake for 12 minutes (or 10 minutes if you have made smaller cookies). Bake until just barely golden brown, taking care not to over-bake. Let cool five minutes on the tray, then transfer to a cooling rack.
7. Enjoy with a glass of cold almond milk to wash them down.