Baking used to feel a little too, well, strict to me, which I find funny because I am a self-proclaimed rule follower! [Shout out to all my rule followers!] Over the years, however, I’ve begun to appreciate the odd satisfaction that comes from mixing various combinations of flour, sugar, eggs or butter and baking it into a sweet treat. In fact, I find the rule-following to be somewhat calming nowadays. Requiring a focus that in and of itself becomes reason to pause all other distractions happening around me and focus for a few moments on just measuring or stirring or watching what happens when my paddle whips together sugar and butter! Like holding a challenging yoga pose, my mind must stay present in the moment, and that’s what I’ve come to love about baking.
In honor of my first sweet-tooth post here in The Craveable Kitchen, I’m sharing a two-part recipe for Almond Butter Cookies with Chocolate Buttercream. The first part honors the lazy baker in me, the one who will still always be a little too impatient. While the other side honors the creative cook in me. Someone who can rarely look at a recipe without trying to figure out how to jazz it up a bit.
For those of you who need an easy holiday treat, and have a similar lazy-baker side, simply bake the cookies. They couldn’t be easier, yet you’ll be shocked how good they taste even in their simplicity.
As for those who prefer to go the extra mile straight to indulgent embellishments, make the chocolate buttercream and sandwich these cookies together for a peanut butter-chocolate treat that will excite even the grumpiest guest this holiday season.
Check out how easy these cookies are. First, mix all five ingredients in a bowl. Yep, that’s it. Five. No stand-mixer or handheld needed. A whisk is helpful to start the egg, but a rubber spatula finishes the job. Good news if you’re gluten free – this recipe works just as well without the flour which means you only need four ingredients!
Next, scoop the batter onto sheet trays lined with parchment paper. I like to use an ice cream scoop to make evenly sized portions, and then I press the dough flat.
Finally, bake in the oven until the edges begin to brown, about 15-20 minutes. And boom, done. Bob’s your uncle, as they say. (Really, people say that. It means like boom, you’re all set! Now that you know, you will be surprised how many opportunities there are to say it!)
The commonality of the ingredients means I can pretty much bake these cookies on any given whim, which is what I really love about this recipe. But also the flavor and the chewy but toothsome texture. Drizzle these with chocolate, or dip them in chocolate, or put some white icing on top, because really, they are a great vehicle for an extra bit of sweetness. Which is why I went ahead and made some chocolate buttercream frosting and turned these into some good ol’ fashioned sandwich cookies. Yessir, I did!
Buttercream? Easy. Chocolate buttercream? No sweat. And, I mean, why not?!
Don’t you just want to lick that paddle?
Spread the buttercream onto the bottom of a cooled cookie, not going quite to the edge so it won’t squeeze out when you bite into the cookies. Play around with the quantity and see what works best, but if you decide to just serve these as open-faced, chocolate iced cookies, there would be no judgement here on my part. Twice as many, am I right?! Repeat until all cookies are iced and/or sandwiched and Bob’s your uncle! (See what I did there?) Happy baking!
Easiest almond butter cookies stuffed with an even easier chocolate buttercream frosting make a delightful sweet treat for the holidays.
For the Cookies:
1 egg, large
1 cup almond butter OR peanut butter
1 cup sugar – I like to use half brown and half granulated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
NOTE: if you are gluten free, you can omit this. Flour offers a little structure, but it’s not crucial.
For the buttercream:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, crack the egg and whisk. Then add the almond butter, sugar(s), flour (optional) and vanilla extract. Stir until well combined.
Use a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon measure to portion the cookie dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Press scoops flat with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Cookies will spread as they bake so leave 1-2 inches of space in between.
Place cookies in the preheated oven and bake until edges look brown, about 15-20 minutes. Rotate sheet pans half way through cooking, including swapping oven racks, to ensure even baking.
Meanwhile, place the butter in the bowl of an upright mixer. Use the paddle on medium-low speed to whip the butter until smooth.
In a separate bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. With the speed on low, add the vanilla extract to the butter and slowly sprinkle in the sugar mixture. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until smooth and fluffy.
After the cookies are out of the oven, let them cool on the sheet tray for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. Once cool, spread the buttercream on the back of one cookie and press with another cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat until all cookies are iced, then store in an air tight container.