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. 🙂
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
Step 1. Make sure oven rack is in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350F. Unwrap 24 Hershey Kisses into a bowl, and put in the freezer. In a large bowl, mix together extra light olive oil, unsweetened applesauce, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking soda, iodized salt, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and almond milk (or any other milk of your choice). 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 :).
Step 2. Add in the 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. When baking, it is always best to weigh out your flour versus measuring it volumetrically with a measuring cup. Weighing out your flour is much more accurate and reduces the chances of adding too much flour. Cover the bowl with saran wrap, and chill the dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Step 3. Remove dough from the refrigerator. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar to coat. Place on an 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. Using your hands, slightly flatten the balls into discs that are about a half-inch tall. I find that doing this prior to baking helps to preserve the structural integrity of the cookies so that they hold their shape better when pushing a kiss in the center.
Step 4. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and the cookies begin to crack. Just before the cookies are finished baking, remove the Hershey Kisses from the freezer. Then remove baking sheet from oven and immediately press a Hershey kiss into the center of the cookie. The perimeter of the cookie will crackle as you press the kiss down. Once finished, carefully transfer cookies to a plate and place in the refrigerator to set for at least an hour.
Tips for Success
- Make sure to flatten cookies before baking. This will ensure that the cookie stays together when you press the Hershey Kiss into the center.
- Only lightly press the Hershey Kiss in the center.
- Freezing the Hershey Kisses before pressing them into the cookies lowers the chance that they’ll melt on contact.
- In addition to freezing the Hershey Kisses, refrigerating the cookies for at least an hour after baking also prevents melted Kisses.
- Be very careful when transferring the finished peanut butter blossoms from the baking sheet to the plate. They are very fragile when they are warm and will crumble if not handled with care.
- You can control the extent of “crackling” by how hard you push the Hershey Kiss down. For more a more crackled cookie, you can push the Hershey Kiss down further into the cookie. Be aware though, that this might compromise the structural integrity of the cookie.
- For some more color, try rolling the balls of dough in colored sprinkles instead of in granulated sugar.
- When adding the Hershey Kisses, you have to work quickly. If the cookie cools too much, you won’t be able to get the Kiss in. This is why I add the Kisses while the cookies are still on the baking sheet, and then I transfer them to a plate.
More Recipes Like This:
- M&M Cookies
- Chewy Molasses Cookies
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
- Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pulp Cookies
- Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Gluten-Free Ricotta Cookies
- Homemade Rice Krispie Treats
Healthier Peanut Butter Blossoms
- 6 tablespoons extra light olive oil
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (OR 1 large egg)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons almond milk (OR any milk of your choice)
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4-1/3 cup additional granulated sugar for rolling
- 24 Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
- Make sure oven rack is in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350F. Unwrap 24 Hershey Kisses into a bowl, and place in freezer.
- In a large bowl, mix together extra light olive oil, unsweetened applesauce, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking soda, iodized salt, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and milk.
- Add the flour and stir until combined. Cover bowl with saran wrap, and chill the dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes (don't skip this step!).
- Remove dough from refrigerator. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar to coat. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and the cookies start to crack. Just before cookies are finished baking, remove Kisses from the freezer.
- Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately press a Hershey kiss into the center of the cookie. The perimeter of the cookie will crackle as you press the kiss down. Carefully transfer cookies to a plate and place in the refrigerator to set for at least an hour.
Recipe adapted from Hershey’s.
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