When I first started my food blog in October 2011, one of my first posts was a recipe for peanut butter sandwich cookies that had a rich, creamy peanut butter chocolate chip filling. How predictable it is that my first recipe article would be one on desserts! Since then, I’ve received numerous requests to develop some recipes for people with food allergies. I’ve had thoughtful messages from readers who have allergies to nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, eggs, onions, dairy, or a combination. I am grateful not to have any food allergies, but my husband is allergic to nuts (not including almonds), fish, and dairy. So when I use these ingredients in the kitchen, I always take care to clean up meticulously, and I enjoy finding substitutes to prepare something he can eat with me.
I’ve had some time since then to do some research, shop around, and experiment with some replacement ingredients. Today I wanted to share a peanut free version of my original peanut butter sandwich cookies. Last time I posted a recommendation for WOWbutter as an excellent choice for a peanut butter replacement. I believe it has a superior taste and texture that resemble real peanut butter the closest compared to almond butter and other substitutes I’ve tried. In my experience, WOWbutter can be a tricky ingredient to bake with, so some experimentation is required. Trust me, I’ve had many failed recipes using WOWbutter, but it’s so satisfying when I develop one that works!
For the creamy filling, I used soy milk instead of heavy cream to make these cookies as dairy free as possible. I found some dairy free and nut free semi-sweet chocolate chips that are wonderful to use in various recipes. Although I used butter in my cookie batter and the filling, you can also choose to substitute it with margarine. This will give the cookies the added bonus of being peanut free and dairy free. My husband is able to tolerate baked goods using relatively small amounts of butter despite his dairy allergy. These cookies were an absolute success! The almond crunch gave it that extra crunchiness without peanuts, and as a lover of peanut butter, I honestly don’t feel there is a tremendous difference in taste or texture.
What are your experiences developing recipes for food allergies? I’d love to hear some of your ideas for ingredient substitutes!
2 cups minus 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
Large pinch salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
3/4 cup creamy WOWbutter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
6 tbsp butter or margarine, at room temperature
3/4 cup creamy WOWbutter
2 tbsp original soy milk
1/4 cup toasted almond crunch
1/4 cup dairy-free, nut-free mini semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350oF and position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter/margarine, WOWbutter, and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and egg, and then continue beating for about 3 more minutes or until smooth and fluffy. Stir in the flour mixture by hand just until combined, being careful not to over-mix or the cookies will become hard.
Scoop tablespoonfuls of batter and place them onto the prepared sheets spaced about 2 inches apart. The batter will be crumbly. Gather each cookie batter into a ball with lightly floured fingers, and flatten each ball of dough into a 2-inch round (or any desired size).
Bake until cookies are puffed and golden (approx 12 to 14 minutes), rotating the baking sheets if necessary to promote even baking. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks.
Make the filling: Beat the confectioners’ sugar, butter/margarine and WOWbutter in a small bowl until smooth.
Add the soy milk and continue beating until smooth and fluffy.
Stir in the almond crunch and chocolate chips. Pair the cookies so that each pair is made up of cookies around the same size. Spread some filling onto the bottom side of half the cookies. Set the other cookie on top of the filling, pressing gently while rotating the cookie to spread the filling.
Please note that this recipe has not been reviewed by FAI or medical experts. Avoidance is the only accepted course of treatment for food allergy. Always verify ingredients or food products by checking with the manufacturer and/or your physician to ensure that any foods are safe for your unique allergy issues.