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.
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.)
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!
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- Step 3. Preheat oven to 350 F
- 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.
- 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.