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Traditional peanut butter cookies are loaded with sugar and fat, and that is what makes them so very tasty. Now, I’m not normally much of a peanut butter person, but the occasional peanut butter cookie really hits the spot. Thing is, I don’t actually like all that extra sugar, and Sean can’t have it, so I had to replace it with something. Normally, the goal is to make the sweetener flavor pretty much disappear into the treat’s overall flavor. In this case, though, what is a more natural combination than peanut butter and honey? Well, you could make an argument for “jelly” or “jam,” but let’s face it, that would taste really weird, if not right out gross, in a cookie! So, I went with honey, and the light honey taste remaining in the final product really makes these cookies a treat.

A few things about peanut butter, though. This is one of those weird places where substantial amounts of sugar hide that you never even really notice if you’re just eating a sandwich and not thinking about it. After all, the name seems pretty self-explanatory, right? It is peanuts, ground up until you can spread them like butter. Well, sort of. Most of the peanut butter easily available at your local supermarket has substantial amounts of sugar added. Whether that sugar is added in the form of white sugar, corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup varies from brand to brand, but they pretty much all have it. So, if you’re trying to avoid processed sugar, most brands of peanut butter are a no-go. There are one or two “natural” brands out there that are just peanuts; the most common one around here is Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter. Now, the lack of sugar is happy, but know that the lack of sugar means that this stuff has a very different MO than the Skippy you likely grew up on. 1) It must be refrigerated after opening. 2) Once you refrigerate it it becomes very hard and difficult to work with. 3) The oils will separate out, generally, and you’ll probably need to mix them back in (yes, some sugared peanut butters do this, but not the big names like Skippy and Peter Pan).  There are several ways to combat this (other than just living with it). Some brands are better than others, but like I said, you can’t always reliably find other brands in a normal grocery store. However, a quick zap in the microwave (to return the peanut butter to functionally room temperature) renders the refrigerated stuff easily workable again. Or, and this is my preferred method, get the “grind it yourself” stuff from a natural foods place like Whole Foods or Trader Joes (or many smaller local shops, I’ve found). Though it must also be refrigerated, it doesn’t get quite as stiff (you can use it cold), it has the nicest flavor of any peanut butter I’ve ever eaten, and it is just all around tastier and better for you. And though it’ll always be more expensive than the sugared stuff, it isn’t any worse than the jarred natural brands, and can often even be cheaper, depending on the store. Oh, and just so you know, many of the places that let you grind your own peanut butter also grind almonds and other nuts to make many kinds of nut butter. The quality difference between jarred almond butter and fresh-ground is HUGE (bigger even than with peanuts, in my opinion). Handy fact: Almond butter on slices of honeycrisp apple is delicious. It’s pretty good on many other varieties too (granny smith, fuji, even pink lady), but it’s best on honeycrisps.

Without further ado (or preaching :D), here is a recipe for Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies!

Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies


  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (softened if necessary to make it scoopable)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • *1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dry milk powder (ground fine–if you have to you can grind it to a artist’s-sand-like powder yourself, it’s easy, so that you don’t have unattractive blops in your cookies. They’ll be edible if you don’t, but the texture is much nicer if the powder is fine)

*If you’d like to add more fiber, more texture, or just a little more flavor complexity you can substitute a 1/2 cup of either quick oats or wheat germ for a 1/2 cup of the flour.


1. Cream the softened butter, peanut butter, and honey together (I use my stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer or just beat it really well by hand).

2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well to combine.

3. Add the flour (or flour and other ingredient, if you’re changing it up :D), baking soda, and dry milk powder. Mix until well combined. You may now snitch the tasty dough :-).

4. Drop the dough by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet or baking stone and squish flat. Space them out well, as they do get a little bigger when baking. Traditionally you use a fork and make a hatch pattern on the top of the cookie when you squish them, but this dough is so soft that that doesn’t always work well, and you can just squish it out flat with the spoon or your finger if you want.

5. Bake for 8-12 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (mine pretty much always need at least 10 minutes, often 12). When the cookies are very lightly browned and firm remove them from the cookie sheet and set on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

This recipe yields anywhere from 24-34 cookies depending on how exact your teaspoon measures are (mine aren’t so very precise–I think they’re often a little on the “full” side) and how much dough you snitched or let your kids/hubby/friends snitch (cookies are okay, but everyone knows the dough is better :D). I usually get about 24 cookies by the time I’m done.