Peanut-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I never imagined I’d have to raise my kids without peanut butter. When Kiwi & I decided to start our family, I prepared myself for early mornings, dirty diapers, temper tantrums, and the exorbitant price of higher education. Peanuts didn’t cross my mind. (Except perhaps when I was in the throes of morning sickness, the only reliable remedy for which was a ritual morning snack of peanut butter spread on saltines.)

Like most of the eighties babies out there, I was raised on peanut butter. Spread on morning toast, slapped between two pieces of bread and tucked into my lunchbox, and stirred into peanut butter cookies—those iconic fork-imprinted childhood treats.

So it was natural to assume I would raise my own kids on PB too. Right?

And I did, for the first few years of the Bean’s life. Right up until her little bro was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at six months old.

Peanut-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I tell people my son is allergic to peanuts, they often stare back at me with this look of deep sadness. “Oh no” they say. Or “poor little guy,” their voice trailing into nothing as they imagine a childhood without peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chocolate peanut butter cups.

But one year into this unfortunate adventure, I can tell you that it’s not that bad. In fact, I don’t miss peanut butter at all. Not one bit. I swear. And neither do my kids.

Turns out that there is a whole world of peanut butter alternatives out there. Some of which taste exactly like PB. Or better. And are healthier, to boot.

Of all the subs, I like sunflower seed butter the best, and I’ve used it to make delicious “peanut” sauce, “peanut butter” and jam sandwiches, homemade “peanut butter” cups, and now these “peanut butter” oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Not only are these cookies free of peanut butter and safe for nut-free schools and peanut-allergic kiddos like mine, they are both healthier and (I think) more delicious than the traditional peanut butter cookies I enjoyed as a kid. The base is sunflower seed butter—which you can buy unsweetened and unsalted at most grocery stores. To that you add oats, a bit of brown sugar, vanilla, ground flaxseed, water and chocolate chips. No flour, no butter, no oil, no eggs. No problem.

Peanut-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

You might be wondering how such a simple mixture could possibly produce a sweet, chewy, peanut-buttery and chocolatey delight. I get it. But once you pull these babies out of the oven, cool them off a bit, and take a little nibble, you will wonder no more.

A life without peanut butter tastes pretty darn good.


4.5 from 2 reviews
Peanut-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
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Cook time
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I adapted these cookies from this Ambitious Kitchen recipe. The original recipe makes a smaller batch, uses peanut butter (of course) and calls for eggs instead of ground flaxseed. Flaxseed in place of the egg makes these cookies both vegan and safe for the egg-allergic too. You could likely throw in three eggs in place of the flaxseed and water, though I haven't tried it myself.
Author:
Serves: approx 24-30
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1½ cups cup sunflower seed butter (ideally unsalted and unsweetened; see note below)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (see note below)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats (certified gluten free, if necessary)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flaxseed and water in a large mixing bowl and let it set for a few minutes or until the flaxseed absorbs the water and the mixture thickens.
  3. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the sunflower seed butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract until the mixture is creamy and well combined.
  4. Sprinkle over the rolled oats, salt and baking soda, and stir until everything is very well combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Roll the mixture into approx. 1½ inch balls, place them onto the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and press down to flatten. These cookies will not spread too much, so you should flatten them to be just a little bit thicker than what you want them to be when they are baked.
  7. Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes, or just until they are set in the middle and start to brown around the edges.
  8. Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Store them in the freezer in a sealed container or Ziploc bag. Kiwi and I love to eat them straight out of the freezer. The kids prefer them defrosted.
Notes
A note about the sunflower seed butter: If you are serving these to a peanut-allergic child, be sure to look for a seed butter that has been manufactured in a peanut-free facility. I like to use Sunbutter organic, which is peanut-free, unsalted and unsweetened.

A note about the brown sugar: If you use sunflower seed butter that has been sweetened (check the ingredients list to find out), you will be able to cut back on the brown sugar, possibly by as much as ⅓ cup. Start with ⅔ cup, then taste the batter and add a bit more sugar if it is not sweet enough.

A final note: you may find your cookies have a greenish hue in the centre. This is completely normal, and is something to do with the reaction between the sunflower seed butter and the baking soda. But never fear -- green or not, the cookies are completely safe to eat and totally delicious.

14 Responses to Peanut-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Grandma Linda September 17, 2015 at 2:39 am #

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! I haven’t tried these cookies yet but I will on the weekend. I love that they contain no egg, dairy, nuts, coconut or peanuts. My grandson is allergic to all those and I am constantly on the look out for cookie recipes for us to use.I cant wait to try these. Before he was diagnosed with peanut allergies he loved peanut butter cookies. But he doesn’t like Sunbutter. I don’t know if its because he associates it with his allergic reaction or not but I think he would love these cookies. Thank you again!!

    • Sarah September 17, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

      So so great to hear. We struggle with the same multi-food allergy challenges so I really do feel your pain. These are super popular in my house and I hope your grandson enjoys them!

  2. Cecilia September 12, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

    These cookies are delicious! I was a bit alarmed that the inside of the cookies turned a dark green when cooling! But I read online that this can happen when sunflower butter and baking soda mix. Maybe I should have measured more carefully. Overall delicious and my whole family loved them.

    • Sarah September 14, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

      Hi Cecilia! Yes, I’ve actually been meaning to include a note about this. Sometimes my cookies turn green and sometimes they don’t. So weird. When they do I just tell the kids that a monster made them. Works! Thanks for trying the recipe; glad you all enjoyed :-).

  3. Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom September 11, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    Aww… you’re such a good mom 🙂 These peanut-free peanut butter cookies sound wonderful and they look so moist!

  4. Amanda | The Cinnamon Scrolls September 11, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    These look great! I’m a massive fan of peanut butter — I usually have a little bit every day. But I have been meaning to try baking and cooking with other butters, and your cookies seem like a perfect place to start! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  5. Christina September 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    I will have to try sunflower seed butter! It is always great to have lots school friendly treats in the baking arsenal. My kids don’t have any allergies but I have friends whose kids are very allergic to several foods. Scary stuff.

  6. Megan @ Straight From The Jar September 11, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    It’s SO true that there are so many alternatives out there that not only taste as good but are healthier too! I love how simple these are too. I’ve never actually tried sunflower seed butter but now I clearly need to 🙂

  7. Heidi @ Food Doodles September 11, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    Love sunflower seed butter! We do eat eat peanut butter but I love using alternatives too, I can easily see how it wouldn’t even be missed. With cookies like these you obviously don’t need pb 🙂 They look amazing!

  8. Nóri | ingeniouscooking.com September 10, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

    This is ingenious! You had me at peanut butter free peanut whatever. 🙂

  9. Tara September 10, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    these look so good! I would love to try them, but my sun is allergic to peanuts and sunflower seeds. And all nuts. And soy. Do you happen to know of any other PB alternative? Like you I grew up on peanut butter and I miss it!

    • Sarah September 10, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

      Hi Tara — have you tried pumpkin seed butter? It’s a little expensive, but you could make your own perhaps. I’m not sure what the flavour would be like. I believe there are also some butters made out of peas. Something like this: http://www.peabutter.ca/. That might work! Sorry you have to deal with all those allergies. We are also dealing with a wheat and egg allergy, so I feel your pain.

  10. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles September 10, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    Ah yes, the peanut butter memories. Pretty sure I brought a squished PB sandwich (we didn’t have lunchboxes just paper bags) nearly every day in elementary school. I sure would have welcomed these chewy delights – bet the whole family loves them. Sunflower seed butter is one of my favorite discoveries. I first experimented with it when developing a nut-free granola bar and continue to treat the family to it from time to time (amazing how expensive these butters are). It has such a distinct and delicious flavor. And speaking of exorbitant prices, It is our prayer that our grade 12 son elects a Canadian university lest the rest of us move out onto the street to afford the cost of US/International education ;-).

  11. Ali Williams September 10, 2015 at 11:31 am #

    I’m a huge cookie fan and these look wonderful! I will be making them soon!

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