Healthier Peanut Butter Blossoms

Healthier Peanut Butter Blossoms

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Peanut butter blossoms are a staple at Christmas parties and cookie exchanges. I’ve also heard through the grapevine that peanut butter blossoms are one of Santa’s favorite cookies ;). Keeping along the theme of healthify-ing (trademarking that term now!) classic Christmas cookies, these healthier peanut butter blossoms are no different. I’ve substituted in extra light olive oil for the shortening, along with cutting back on some of the sugar. Because hey, who stops eating at just one Christmas cookie amiright? These healthier peanut butter blossoms taste just like the originals, but with a lot less saturated fat, and less sugar. A win-win in my book! I have also rewritten the instructions so that they are easier and faster to make. 🙂

Can you freeze peanut butter blossom cookies?

Yes! You can either freeze them before baking, or you can freeze them after they are baked. To freeze prior to baking, shape the dough into the 1-inch balls as directed in step 4 below, but do not roll them in the granulated sugar. Place the balls on a wax lined baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen. Once frozen, transfer them to a labeled freezer bag for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake them, remove the frozen balls from the freezer, roll in the granulated sugar. Then bake as directed,  adding 3-6 minutes to the baking time. To freeze after baking, transfer cooled cookies to a labeled freezer bag for up to 2 months.

Can you use butter instead of shortening in peanut butter cookies?

Yes! You can actually substitute in a lot of things for the shortening: butter, other butter substitutes, coconut oil, or extra light olive oil like I have done here. Just be aware that the texture of the cookies might change a little bit.

What is the healthiest substitute for butter?

Extra light olive oil, by a LONG shot. Coconut oil is healthier than shortening as well, but it pales in comparison to extra light olive oil. While extra light olive oil has a neutral taste and is used in baking, there are some recipes where it is not a good substitute because it doesn’t work well with the other ingredients. However, for most recipes, it works out well!

How long will peanut butter blossom cookies stay fresh?

If stored properly (in an airtight container in the fridge), they will stay fresh for up to a week, or longer if you freeze them.

Are Hershey kisses vegan?

Unfortunately, they are not. But, you have a couple of ways around this. The first, is to make your own vegan kisses. To do this, purchase a mold (from someplace like Amazon), melt some vegan chocolate chips, and fill the molds with the melted chocolate and let them set. Your other option, which is way less work, is to melt vegan chocolate chips and then use a spoon to place a dollop on each cookie. If you wanted something in between, you could melt the vegan chocolate chips and then pipe it onto each cookie.

How to Make Healthier Peanut Butter Blossoms: Step-by-Step

1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, mix together extra light olive oil, unsweetened applesauce, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking soda, Kosher salt, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and milk. Now, I know this is not proper form for baking, mixing in all the wet and dry ingredients together in a single step. BUT, it makes cleanup a lot easier, and it is much more practical. Most people are making several different types of cookies in preparation for Christmas, so I am all in favor for making recipes as simple as possible. I promise your cookies will still come out good :).

Extra light olive oil, unsweetened applesauce, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, an egg, Kosher salt, baking soda, creamy peanut butter, vanilla extract, and almond milk have been mixed together in a large glass bowl. The bowl sits on a white marble background.

2. Add half the flour, stir until combined. Add in the remaining flour, and stir until combined. Getting the amount of flour right for this recipe is critical. If you add in too much flour, your cookie will be crumbly. In the recipe, you will see that I have specified 1 1/2 scant cups of all-purpose flour for this reason. Undercut the amount of flour here. Also, when baking, it is always best to weigh out your flour versus measuring it with a measuring. Weighing out your flour is more accurate.

The dough in a large glass bowl after mixing in all of the flour. The bowl sits on a white marble background. A large slotted stainless steel spoon sticks out of the dough.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar to coat. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Because the cookies don’t really spread out, you can actually pack them in closer than I did here. You could easily add in another row and column, for a total of 20 balls as opposed to 12.

Healthier peanut butter blossom dough shaped into 1-inch balls, coated with granulated sugar, and placed on a textured aluminum baking sheet prior to baking.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. While cookies are baking, unwrap Hershey kisses. Now, in a lot of versions of this recipe they advise you to count out the Hershey kisses that you think you will need in advance, and then unwrap them as the oven as preheating. I don’t know about you, but my cookie yields are never what the package says they should be :). This is likely because I still scoop my cookies by hand, as opposed to using a cookie scooper. A better method, in my biased opinion, is to unwrap the Hershey kisses while the cookies are baking. This way you will know exactly how many Hershey kisses you will need, and you won’t be left with a bunch of unwrapped kisses that don’t have a cookie home! Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately press a Hershey kiss into the center of the cookie. The perimeter of the cookie will crack as you press the kiss down. To set the cookies, chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. The last row in the photo below shows what the cookies look like right when they come out of the oven.

Healthier peanut butter blossoms on a textured aluminum baking sheet after baking. The first three rows have Hershey kisses pushed down in the center. The last row is what the cookies look like right when they come out of the oven.

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Healthier peanut butter blossoms sit on a wire cooling rack in the upper right corner. In the upper left corner, is a dark green kitchen towel. Scattered about in the foreground are red, green, and silver foil wrapped Hershey kisses. This is the horizontal image.

Healthier Peanut Butter Blossoms

These healthier peanut butter blossoms are great for Christmas parties, cookie exchanges, and for Santa’s plate! 😉
4.1 from 11 votes
Print Rate
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas cookies, peanut butter blossoms
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 135kcal

Ingredients 

  • 6 tablespoons extra light olive oil (original is 1/2 cup shortening)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (original is 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar (original is 1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk of your choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 scant cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3-1/2 cup additional granulated sugar for rolling
  • 30 Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • In a large bowl, mix together extra light olive oil, unsweetened applesauce, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking soda, Kosher salt, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and milk.
  • Add half the flour, stir until combined. Add in the remaining flour, and stir until combined.
  • Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar to coat. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. While cookies are baking, unwrap Hershey kisses.
  • Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately press a Hershey kiss into the center of the cookie. The perimeter of the cookie will crack as you press the kiss down. To set the cookies, chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Healthier Peanut Butter Blossoms
Amount Per Serving (1 cookie)
Calories 135 Calories from Fat 64
% Daily Value*
Fat 7.1g11%
Saturated Fat 1.7g11%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.3g
Cholesterol 1.1mg0%
Sodium 104.5mg5%
Potassium 0.7mg0%
Carbohydrates 16.6g6%
Fiber 0.7g3%
Sugar 9.4g10%
Protein 2.1g4%
Vitamin A 5IU0%
Vitamin C 0mg0%
Calcium 10mg1%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Nutritional information on The Panicked Foodie is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.

Recipe adapted from Hershey’s.

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13 thoughts on “Healthier Peanut Butter Blossoms”

  • 4 stars
    Hmmm I must say, Christmas did arrive early. Do I have to wait till Christmas to eat that? Because it does look delicious. I will create someday like this, maybe not in Christmas eve but you know like weekends. Something new, something different.

  • 5 stars
    Wow, looks so delicious and sounds very easy to make. My kids are big fans of peanut butter so I am surely making this a weekend treat for them.

  • 5 stars
    Delish! I actually love crumbly cookies I can break off with my fingers. I’m gonna attempt a loaf cake today so I need all the luck lol. I’m clueless with flour and measurements.

  • 5 stars
    Peanut butter is definitely my weakness! I’ve been trying to brainstorm ways to incorporate into my holiday baking and love this idea. I wonder if I could top them off with other types of chocolate or if dark chocolate is the absolute best one.

    • To be honest, I have never baked with oat flour. I know the densities are different, and it would not be a 1:1 substitution. You might have to do some research on Google to see how people normally do that substitution. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help! Some day, I’m hoping to experiment more with different flours, but haven’t gotten there quite yet. 🙂

  • 3 stars
    Hi, I tried this recipe and it tasted ok. Although the cookies crumbled. I think the reason behind that is because you forgot the egg. I wonder if the other commenters actaully tried it before commenting? I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    • You are right! I completely forgot to put in the egg substitute in the recipe. So when I initially made this recipe, I had substituted in 1/4 applesauce for the egg. I am so sorry! I always recommend people test bake their cookies. While I try to do the best I can in proofreading recipes, sometimes mistakes slip through. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, and I will address it tomorrow!

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