A tender and moist peanut butter cookie with an irresistible dark chocolate ganache center. Vegan Peanut Butter Kisses are easy to make, and fun to share! Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for supporting brands that help support Vanilla And Bean. All opinions are my own.
The wreath is up, holiday music is on Pandora and the lights are hung (please don’t let me hear Mr. Grinch one. more. time!!). Planning for a holiday get-together is in the works, and I’ve baked all the cookies I’ll bake until…. February. Okay, maybe this weekend (eek!).
Years ago, Rob and I started gifting experiences to each other and mostly to others, rather than tangible gifts. We do still give gifts on occasion like cozy socks or if there’s a specific need. We’re practical like that. And I also love to give homemade gifts, mostly cookies. But by and large, it’s an experience that we prefer to give.
The gift of travel, spa gifts, a symphony experience, a hot air balloon ride, a fun dining experience, movie passes or a winery trip are just a few examples of past gifts we’ve given (and received!). Planning a trip together is an adventure in itself! ;)
Friends and family tell me they love receiving homemade food gifts. My Grandmère spoiled all of us grandkids with her homemade fudge, jams and Texas trash! I’m certain she’s influenced my Christmas-giving agenda.
Or I shop local. At the holiday market this past weekend I found a few pieces of new pottery, a braided bunch of garlic and essential oils for aromatherapy to give. One of the farms was there too, so I scored a nice haul of turnips, cabbage, pink cauliflower (yes, pink!) and eggs. A few personal gifts!
We’ve found giving this way not only reduces holiday stress, but also eliminates waiting in long lines, waste, and clutter. It’s also a push-back of sorts from the national consumerism holiday appetite. So we focus efforts on ways to still give with limited stuff. I tend to remember a fun and enriching experience more-so than the latest gadget. And the memories with family and friends last far longer than anything I can put my hands on.
Save cookies! Cookies draw my memory from way back to just last month. I’ve been thinking about this recipe, since I devoured a giant peanut butter cookie from Whole Foods bakery last month. It was a moment of OMG how could I forget! My sheer love of peanut butter cookies. Soft, tender and classic… but you’d never know these peanut butter cookies are vegan.
It had been too long! I felt as though I found a long lost friend. Holy Cow!
As I worked through testing this recipe and others that are plant-based, like this Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Cake, I’ve realized there are a few ingredients that mask the flavor of coconut better than chocolate and nuts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of coconut, but there are times when you want other flavors to shine, like in this recipe. I wanted the peanut butter and chocolate to be bold but still have the the ability to use plant-based ingredients.
This vegan peanut butter cookie does it.
After Rob devoured three, I told him they were vegan. He looked at me with a gleam in his eye… and I knew he was thinking and wanted to tell me, These aren’t regular. But he resisted because he loved them so much. I was feeling pretty good about this, so I made two more batches to share.
I filled the center with a three-ingredient full-fat coconut milk dark chocolate ganache. It’s so simple to make. Place finely chopped chocolate into a bowl. Warm the coconut milk to just under a simmer, then pour it over the chocolate. Wait for two minutes, and stir. Cover the creamy ganache and toss it in the fridge while mixing and shaping the cookies.
By the time the cookies come out of the oven and have a few minutes to cool, the ganache has thickened and is ready to pipe onto the cookies.
There’s a bit left over too, for a little baker’s treat at the end.
Many thanks to Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post. I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic All Purpose Flour in many of my baking recipes. It’s of the highest quality, unbleached and unenriched, making my cookies tender and delicious every time. It’s an excellent choice for your baking needs. You can find Bob’s Red Mill at their website. And, for daily baking inspiration check out their Instagram and Facebook feeds!
These Vegan Peanut Butter Kisses are tender, moist, melt-in-your-mouth dreamy. Just scroll down to the last image….
Vegan Peanut Butter Kisses
For the Ganache:
- 3/4 C (114g) High Quality Vegan Dark Chocolate 70%-72% (*see note), chopped fine
- 1/2 C (120g) Full Fat Coconut Milk, from a can
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
For the Cookies:
- 1 1/4 C (200g) All Purpose Flour, I use Bob's Red Mill
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 3/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 C (114g) Coconut Oil, unrefined, virgin, melted at room temperature
- 3/4 C (210g) Natural Peanut Butter, crunchy or smooth
- 1/4 C (54g) Light or Dark Brown Sugar, packed
- 1/3 C (70g) Cane Sugar, + more for rolling the cookies in
- 1/4 C (84g) Unsweetened Apple Sauce
- 3 Tbs Water
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
For the Ganache:
- Place the chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. Open the can of coconut milk and whisk to break up the fat and make the milk smooth. In a small sauce pot add the coconut milk and vanilla extract. Heat the milk mixture on medium high heat until it scalds (tip: watch for bubbles to form around the outer edge of milk, this is 180F or 82C). Watch the milk closely as you don't want it to boil or boil over. This can happen quick!
- Pour the milk over the chocolate. Give the bowl a shake to make sure the chocolate is covered. Let set for 2 minutes - this is required (set a timer). Stir gently to incorporate the milk and chocolate. Be patient here. This could take a few minutes. Once all the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the top of the ganache. This will eliminate a skin forming over the top. Pop in the fridge for one hour while you make the cookies.
For the Cookies:
- Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the coconut oil, peanut butter, and both sugars. Using the paddle attachment, beat mixture on medium speed until smooth, for about one minute. Add the apple sauce, water and vanilla. Beat again for about 20 seconds until smooth and creamy. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 45 seconds. The dough will be moist and chunky.
- Have ready a medium bowl with about 1/2 a cup of cane sugar in it for rolling the cookies in. Portion the cookies to a little over 1 Tbs each (#50 cookie scoop makes portioning a snap), then using your hands, work the dough and roll individual cookies into little balls. Roll the cookie in the cane sugar then set it on a cookie sheet leaving about a cookie size space between cookies. Using your knuckle, thumb or the back of a round 1/2 tsp, gently press the center of the cookie in, making a "thumb-print." Support the cookie around the sides as you nudge the divit in the middle. Some cracking is normal, but minimizing it will help hold the ganache in.
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Place the sheet pans in the refrigerator while the oven is preheating. Once preheated, bake cookies for 19-21 minutes. The cookies will be golden on the sides and bottom when done. Remove from the oven. You'll notice the centers have puffed slightly. Allow the cookies to cool for just a few minutes, then gently nudge the centers back down using the 1/2 tsp again or your knuckle (be careful not to burn yourself!) and allow cookies to cool on sheet pan for at least 10 minutes before piping on the ganache.
To Finish the Cookies:
- After the cookies are done baking, remove the ganache from the refrigerator. It will continue to thicken as it sets. Scoop the ganache into a piping bag or into a Ziplock baggie. Cut a small hole in the bag or corner of a Ziplock. Hold the opening in the center of the cookie and gently squeeze the bag releasing the ganache into the center of the cookie. The ganache will set yet still remain creamy while storing the cookies. If at any time the ganache becomes too thick to pipe, gently warm it in the microwave for a few seconds at a time and stir. This isn't to melt the ganache rather, just to soften it.
- Store in a lidded container, not stacked, at room temperature for up to three days. The ganache will not hold up to stacking.