I don’t think of myself as being much of a cook. Which is maybe a weird way to introduce my first contribution to a food blog, but one of the great things about the Mary Lee Kitchen community is that everyone has a place at the table—even those who are culinarily challenged like me.

GlutenFreeChocoPBCookies1 + SocMed AM

It’s less that I’m a bad cook as it is that I’m an excessively time-crunched one (who doesn’t relate to that?) I usually have way less time than I’d like for whipping things up at home. As a freelance writer who also holds down a part-time writing job with a 2-hour roundtrip commute, I feel like I’m forever on the go. So when I do cook or bake, I look for healthy recipes that are quick and easy. The quicker and easier, the better.

I also like recipes that are open to adaptation, because I am one of the worst people around when it comes to following directions. I like experimenting and changing things up, even before I’ve done it “right” the first time — I just want to try it my way! (This probably tells you a lot more about me than I would like, but we’re all family here.)


Of course, not following recipes can be a risky venture, but sometimes risks do pay off. Here’s one that paid off for me: my Super Easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter with Sea Salt Cookies (based on the Sunflower Butter Cookie recipe in the Cooking with Trader-Joe’s Cookbook: Gluten Free by Deana Gunn and Wona Minati.)


I used unsalted, no-sugar-added crunchy peanut butter in this recipe because for me, the cup of sugar called for in the recipe— not to mention all the chocolate chips I like to throw in — make the cookies sweet enough. Same idea when it comes to the salt, which I try to watch in my diet — the sea salt I sprinkle all over the cookies when I’m done is all I need. As for choosing crunchy peanut butter, that’s an easy one: I just like it better than smooth. Feel free to substitute your own preferred brand and version of peanut butter/almond butter/sunflower butter.

You can eat them after they’ve cooled, or try putting them in the freezer and store them that way — out of sight, but ready for you whenever you need a sweet snack! No need to thaw or defrost. (I actually think they taste even better after being frozen.)

GlutenFreeChocoChipPBCookies4 + Featured + SocMedPM

These yummy cookies have been a hit at every party I’ve taken them to, even with people who usually run away screaming from anything with “Gluten Free” in the name. Give them a try, and enjoy!

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar of unsalted crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Approx. ½ bag of chocolate chips (6-8 oz.)
  1. Step 1. Mix together peanut butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, chocolate chips and salt until all ingredients are blended. Dough will thicken slightly after being mixed.
  2. Step 2. Refrigerate for about an hour (Note: This step is in the original Cooking with Trader Joe’s recipe, but I’ve forgotten it on many occasions and disaster did not ensue. Just so you know.)
  3. Step 3. Preheat oven to 350 F
  4. Step 4. Scoop walnut-sized portions of dough, lightly shape them in your hands and place on a lightly oiled or lined baking sheet. The cookies don’t spread much while baking, so you can keep them about 1-2 inches apart.
  5. Step 5. Bake for 12 minutes. Allow them to cool before taking them off the sheet. While they’re cooling, add a pinch or so of coarse-ground sea salt to the tops of each cookie.


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