5-ingredient flourless almond butter cookies

This is a story about a cookie; an incredibly simple yet decadent salted peanut butter cookie that I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with.

Whenever I see these plump beauties in the case at my local coffee shop, with their golden, domed tops sprinkled with crunchy salt, I must have one. They’re gluten-free and flourless – so how bad could they be?, I thought – and in this case ignorance was bliss.

When the bakery shared the recipe a while back, everyone made a big deal that it’s only a 3-ingredient cookie (PB, eggs, brown sugar).

But whoa, Nelly! One of those three ingredients turns out to be Skippy — chock full of refined sugar and, even worse, that most unholy of fats, trans-fatty-acid-packed hydrogenated oil. So much for my beloved 3-ingredient cookies.

Now, I still treat myself to one of these cookies on occasion, because life is short, and they really are that delicious. Also my willpower simply isn’t that good! But I also set out to create my own healthier version, so I can enjoy that magical trifecta of sweet-salty-nutty goodness any time, with a lower sugar profile and minus the inflammation-fueling trans fats (seriously, factory fats are evil!).

For my first batch I used an all-natural almond butter, for the simple reason that we were out of peanut butter. I love the flavor of the almond butter in these (especially paired with gomasio, aka sesame salt, which makes them even nuttier), but next time I might test PB to see how it works out (research purposes, you know?).

These healthier nut butter cookies are flourless and have only 5 ingredients (including salt and vanilla): almond butter (I used Justin’s unsalted, though any brand that’s on the thick and not too runny/oily side would likely work), brown sugar (I used coconut palm sugar which is less refined and higher in nutrients than regular brown sugar), an egg, pure vanilla extract, and salt (or in my case, gomasio, which adds a wonderful salty-savory-umami element).

The dough comes together so quickly and easily that by the time you crank up the oven and crack an egg into a mixing bowl you’re about 15 minutes from crisp-edged, chewy-centered nut-butter cookie heaven. I won’t call these a healthy cookie, but I will say they’re a relatively wholesome treat. And satisfying, too – with almond flour and egg they’re packed with protein and far the from the mini sugar bombs that most cookies are these days.

5-ingredient flourless almond butter cookies

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free

Makes about 18 1-inch cookies

Almond butter is wonderful in these cookies, but feel free to sub your nut or seed butter of choice — peanut, cashew, pecan, even a thick tahini. A thick and relatively non-oily nut/seed butter works best, but if you’re using a thinner nut butter you can add a tablespoon or two of almond flour to thicken the dough and make it easier to roll into balls.

I like the cookies best on the day they are made, when the edges are crisp and the centers chewy. They are still delicious the next day but have a softer, cakier texture.

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup brown sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup almond butter (I used Justin’s brand plain, unsalted almond butter)

1/4 teaspoon kosher or Celtic salt

flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) or Two-Tone Gomasio for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

In a mixing bowl whisk together egg, brown sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Add almond butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough (it will be quite stiff).

Roll dough into approximately tablespoon-sized balls and place on prepared baking sheet spaced at least 1 inch apart.

Press each ball with a fork to flatten slightly. Sprinkle with gomasio or flaky salt. Bake until cookies are golden, 5 to 6 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Remove from oven and leave on baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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