In my family, the winter holidays were synonymous with lovely treats- peanut butter balls, coconut cakes, pumpkin rolls, and all kinds of cookies! Most of these confections only made an appearance that one time of year. I have a distinct memory of going into my grandmother’s utility room and sneaking a heap of treats out of the freezer. I’m pretty sure that if I had asked I would have been given some, but probably not quite as many as I ate.
Peanut butter cup cookies were always one of my favorites. I recently found these vegan chocolate caramels and I had the idea to use them in place of mini peanut butter cups. One bag should be enough to make 32 cookies; I had already opened mine to try them, so I was a few short of making all 32. I just added some chocolate chips to the remaining dough and baked the last eight as small peanut butter cookies.
The original recipe called for a half cup each of granulated and brown sugar. I reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup total and added a tablespoon of molasses. I usually make my own brown sugar, but in interest of time, I just added molasses directly instead of mixing it with the sugar first.
I thought about replacing the egg with two tablespoons of applesauce. I wasn’t sure if that would change the texture of the cookie in an unwanted way, so I used Ener-G egg replacer. Also, I got a little crazy and instead of using two tablespoons of water, I used two tablespoons of brewed coffee. I don’t know, my coffee was just there in front of me and I went for it. If you try this with a different egg substitute, please tell me how it works out.
Just, seriously, these cookies. They immediately took me back to childhood. They were everything I was hoping they’d be. If I can get my hands on some mini vegan peanut butter cups (do those exist??), it would be on. The cocomel cookies were amazing. The little chocolate chip peanut butter cookies were amazing. It was all we could do to not consume every single one in one sitting.
I will note that I could probably reduce the sugar even further and they’d still be super sweet and delicious. I’ll experiment with it because I will definitely be making these again.
Happy baking, friends!
- 1¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 egg equivalent (1½ teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer + 2 tablespoons water)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 bag cocomel coconut milk caramels
Gather together all of your ingredients. Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium-small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, beat together the coconut oil, peanut butter, sugar, and molasses on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the “egg” and vanilla. Mix for another minute, until fully incorporated.
Add the dry mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix on low until just combined. Give a mix with a rubber spatula to ensure all flour is incorporated.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; I used a 2 teaspoon measuring spoon for this.
Place dough balls into the cups of a mini muffin pan. Do not press them down, allow them to stay a sphere.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden and a bit puffy.
Remove from oven and immediately press a candy into the middle of each cookie. Press down so that the top of the candy is even with the top of the cookie.
Allow to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Yield: 24 cocomel muffin cookies and 8 small cookies