Low Carb Cookies – Peanut/Almond Butter Cookies that Don’t Crumble!

March 4, 2012

Yes, delicious low carb cookies do exist, and you are looking at a photo of them!! 

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I tried making low carb cookies several months ago but gave up after finding them to be too crumbly.  However, my interest was piqued again this past week when my cafeteria served flourless (gluten free) peanut butter cookies.  They were a sell-out!  But, making a flourless cookie was only half the battle – I still needed to get rid of the sugar in the cookies.  I’ve described my trial and error process below, but you’ll love the ending (I did)….

Crumbly Cookie:   I looked up a simple flourless peanut butter cookie recipe, which was really simple:  mix together 1 egg with 1 cup peanut butter and 1 cup sugar, and then bake for 10 minutes at 375F.  I tried the simple substitution of liquid sucralose for sugar.    The cookies came out delicious but incredibly crumbly – in fact, I could barely get the cookie to my mouth before it disintegrated into powder.  The cookies were vanishing into dust, and I wasn’t even eating them!

Substitute Splenda For Sugar:  Next, I tried using Splenda.  Although I’m not usually a big fan of Splenda (because of the bulking agents it adds), my cookies were in dire need of some sort of bulking agent!  The cookies came out less crumbly, but were still very dry and all-too-eager to break into pieces.

Xanthan Gum?  I took some serious action after that by adding in some xanthan gum (which is a thickening agent that’s great in soups like egg drop soup).  This made the cookies more coherent, but it also gave it a chewy texture – reminiscent of Japanese mochi or rice balls (both which are generally made from glutinous rice flour).

EurekaI soon (after quite a few more batches!) realized that perhaps eggs could act as the glue in this recipe.  But I couldn’t just add more eggs in – it would make the recipe way too liquidy.  I had to add something in with the eggs.  That’s when it came to me…flax meal.  The xanthan gum went out and the flax meal and extra eggs came into the mixture.  The cookies came out more solid, with a texture rather like oatmeal!  Success at last. 

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Making the Cookies Rise:  Now that I had figured out how to make the cookies not crumble, I turned to the problem of making them rise.  I wanted cookies that were lighter and less dense.  Baking powder and baking soda are the common ingredients for making baked goods rise.  To minimize usage of baking powder (because it contains a little bit of unnecessary carbs), I used cream of tartar instead.  I’ll explain in my next post what all that means.  Basically, I tried adding just baking soda (the cookies on the right), and then both baking soda and cream of tartar (on the left), and the cookies definitely rose more with both ingredients (even before putting it into the oven)!  As you can see, cream of tartar also lightened the color of the cookie.  (The photo shows the cookie dough prior to cooking.)

THE RECIPE

Ingredients (12 cookies):

  • 1 cup peanut or almond butter (make sure it has no added sugar or salt or anything else!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup equivalent of Splenda
  • 1/2 cup of flax meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves  (if you don’t really like the taste of nuts, then these will hide the nutty flavor well)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (Splenda, flax meal, baking soda, and cream of tartar together).
  3. Add the peanut/almond butter and the 2 eggs.
  4. Shape into 1 and 1/2-inch balls and flatten into cookies.
  5. Bake in oven for 8 minutes.
  6. Leave to cool (they’ll harden a bit more upon cooling).

Note:  the dough may look rather oily before you put it into the oven (and I think the cinnamon might draw some of the liquids out of the dough so that it looks like your dough is sitting in a puddle of water), but it comes out non-oily and moist on the inside!

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