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! This post is brought to you by Bob’s Red Mill.
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.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
Hi there! Have you ever tried making these with Bob’s AP Gluten Free flour? I have a few family members who follow a gf diet so I’d like to try making these if you think the receipe would come out. Thanks!!!
Hi Aimee! I’ve not tried making these with Bob’s AP Gluten Free Flour. If you give it a go, please let us know how they come out!
Hi there! I made these, but they flattened out very quickly in the oven. They didn’t hold shape at all. Any ideas why? I did not substitute anything. thanks!
Hi Stefanie! I’m sorry to hear the cookies flattened. The only thing that comes to mind is oven temperature…. oven temperatures can fluctuate widely even from what the digital reading indicates – this is not unusual in old or new ovens. Do you have an oven thermometer that sets inside the oven to measure the exact temperature? That may be helpful in the future (I use two, just to be sure and adjust as needed).
I am really hopeless baker, but these cookies…my first attempt was successful and I am really struggling to not eat them all! Thank you for a simple, yet yummy recipe.
lol! So happy to hear Magdalena! Thank you for coming back and leaving a note. Hooray!
We love these cookies. Make them all the time!! Thank you ! <3
Hi Sophia! Thank you for leaving a note. So happy you’re enjoying the cookies!
I made these cookies yesterday and they were a hit!! Adults and children both loved them. I was told these are one of the best things I have ever baked, and I bake a lot 😁
Hi Erin! Thank you for your note! Yay you! So happy to hear everyone loved these little treats….. and that they were the best thing you’ve ever baked! WOW!!
I LOVE this recipe, but 19-21 minutes baking time was way too long. Lol. My first batch was overcooked and dry and not very appetizibg. The second batch went in for 10 minutes and was perfection. I also put the thumbprint in after they baked. So moist. :)
Oh no Lacey.. so sorry to hear the timing was off for you… I’m curious if you have an oven thermometer as oven calibration varies widely. Even being off by 10 degrees can make a big difference. I’m glad though you you were able to bake them again at the time that worked for your oven! I love these cookies too!
Hi Traci I was wondering if you can substitute all of the brown sugar and cane sugar for coconut sugar? And if so do you put the same amount ?
Jeasica! I’ve not tried subbing coconut sugar for the cane and brown sugar. If you try it, please let us know how it works out!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
To you and your family.
Thank you so much Hilary!! And to you and yours too. :D
Traci!!! This cookies look so so good. Funny, I have all the ingredients in my pantry. I have to give these a try.
My husband and I similar to you guys. We don’t exchange gifts anymore. Mostly, experiences…
Wishing you and Rob a merry Christmas and happy New Year my friend.
Much love from ATL.
Rachel @ Bakerita
Sounds like you scored at the holiday fair! I love giving and getting experiences too – way more fun and memorable than something tangible most of the time. Food gifts are one of the best, though! Especially if they come in the form of these gorgeous cookies – chocolate + peanut butter always does it for me :) love these, Traci!
Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
You have got it all figured out, Traci. It’s not about how much random stuff we give each other. It’s about the experiences we share together. I love that. Food can create memories and it makes one of the best gifts. I would be over the moon if someone gave me these cookies! I am drooling over here wishing I had one for a morning snack, hehe.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Traci!
Lynn | The Road to Honey
I absolutely adore the idea of gifting experiences instead of traditional gifts that will likely sit buried in some closet. And more than likely those experiences are something special that the recipient likely wouldn’t plan for themselves. . .which makes them all the more fantastic.
As for food gifts. . .buying a gift is easy. . .but when you make something for me. . .well that says that I am so special that you dedicated a decent chunk of your precious time to personalize something just for me. It doesn’t get any more special than that.
Speaking of special. . .these cookies are everything. I can’t get over their color, that little sparkle of sugar and that indulgent drop of ganache beckoning from the center. So good. So good, as a matter of fact, that I just might need to squeeze one more cookie into my “to do” list.
Gosh these cookie are just perfect! No wonder Rob liked them so much! they look wonderful especially that last shot is just gorg!!! I wish we meet soon so I can taste some of your cookies in person :)
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
Gifting experiences is the best idea ever! Seriously, would it be PC if I gifted myself an experience?! lol. Lord knows I’ve been gifting myself entirely too many cookies recently. ;) I absolutely love all your gift ideas! YES to experiences and YES to food! Also a big, resounding YEEESSSSS – these cookies!!! These are the most perfect looking kisses ever, Traci!! I absolutely adore kisses and these just take the cake… err cookie. <3 I am absolutely adding these to my ever-growing Christmas Cookie Baking list! Can't wait to try them!!!! Pinned! Cheers, dear friend! xo
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
Christmas cookies are the best, Traci. I love these and the pictures are so pretty – love the shiny highlights on the chocolate. I think the idea of doing an experience for christmas versus gifts is a wonderful idea. My family only does small token gifts – which takes off a lot of pressure – and, like you, cozy socks are always a bit hit! Have a great weekend!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
Wow if Rob is lovin’ a vegan cookie then there may be hope for Tom! These look absolutely insane Traci! Your photos are truly making me drool! You can just tell from that last photo how moist they are and how decadent and dark that ganache is! I’ll be dreaming of these for sure tonight!
This year Tom, Casey and I are heading to Charleston to visit Sean because he doesn’t have enough time off for the holiday to come home. The gift of being together in one of my favorite cities is the best gift ever this year!
hehe… hope for Tom! lol! Oooh that ganache Mary Ann.. just give me a spoon! Agreed on being together… the best part of this time of year. Most of my family has time away from work, so it’s really a time to just enjoy each other! Your holiday sounds perfect Mary Ann! I hope to make it to Charleston one day.. I hear it’s beautiful! xo
These look so yummy, Traci! Happy. hristmas to you and Rob!
Thank you my friend! xo
Dom and I started doing that a few years back as well… The gifts of experience are by far my favorites! However, these cookies under the tree would make me very happy! My mom used to make peanut butter kisses all the time when we were growing up, so they carry a little extra-special meaning for me! Have a beautiful weekend, my friend! xo
Hooray!! I love that, Annie! And I’m with ya on the experiences! How sweet your mom made these for you…! xo
Sarah | Well and Full
I love that you and Rob give each other experiences instead of things! That’s such a sweet idea, and it’s something I’d love to do with my guy :)
I hope you’ll give it a go! It’s so fun Sarah!
Liz @ Floating Kitchen
Peanut butter kisses/blossoms are one of my favorite cookies ever. I adore them so much. Love this amped up version that even passed Rob’s inspection – so I know they must be great! Love your “gifts of experience”. Because who needs more stuff, right? Cheers, friend!
I’m with ya Liz! Haha!! Rob’s inspection! OMG, it’s funny how you two haven’t met yet you get it with him! My sister’s nickname for him is Inspector Gadget (OMG lol). Saving you some cookies my dear! xo