When I was in elementary school in West Tennessee we had a “real lunchroom”. There were home cooked, seasonal meals for lunch every day. The ladies who cooked wore simple white uniforms with nets covering their hair. There was a cafeteria line and you could see into the kitchen in the background with all the food prep and cooking going on.
Peanut Butter Cookies appeared as a dessert for our school lunches at about the same time as we were studying George Washington Carver and his peanuts. For years I actually thought he invented the peanut! I remember a black and white photo of Mr. Carver in one of our school books standing in the middle of a field of peanuts. I took to calling these school cafeteria cookies “George Washington Carver Peanut Butter Cookies”.
This mental collision of a particularly loved food (peanut butter cookies), being able to watch the ladies cooking in our school kitchen every day and the awareness that the legume in the cookie I loved so much were directly connected to a botanist at the Tuskegee Institute down in Alabama was just the first of many such childhood food epiphanies.
On “George Washington Carver Peanut Butter Cookie” days I would attempt to swap my real food for someone else’s cookie. There were always a few friends who did not like peanut butter. On a good cookie swap day I might have up to 4 to eat later on. They were worth giving up my homegrown tomato slices or creamy mashed potatoes for. Those cookies set the bar very high. I have looked for that cookie since and have never found anything even close. Divine is what they were with just the right amount of crisp edges and softness in the center.
These little gluten-free cookies are very peanut buttery and crispy (I wish they were a bit softer, but I will work on that). They have sated my quest for a while. This recipe is based on one I made for a client recently for an editorial photo shoot. It is gluten-free and very easy.
Easy to mix….1 inch balls…
… the traditional “fork marks”!
Ready to bake.
Bob’s Red Mill Golden Flaxseed Meal instead of flour.
Sprinkled with a bit of sanding sugar ready to eat still warm from the oven.
There has not been a time in my life that I do not think of Mr. Carver whenever I eat anything with peanut butter. I wonder if he liked peanut butter cookies and what he would think about making a cookie “gluten-free”? Did he have Peanut Butter and Jelly on white bread for lunch while diligently working in his lab or surveying the fields upon fields of peanuts that helped to change the way we now eat?
George Washington Carver Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup raw/turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (baking sugar)
- 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 egg whites
- sanding sugar for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a couple of baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the egg whites & sea salt in a bowl until frothy.
- Into egg whites stir peanut butter, raw sugar, brown sugar & flaxseed meal. Mix well. Batter will be stiff and may appear to “seize”, but just ignore this and mix until ingredients are well incorporated.
- Using a tablespoon measure, shape batter into balls and place about 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets.
- Using a fork, make criss-cross marks on each ball pressing slightly to flatten.
- Bake 20 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned. Sprinkle cookies generously with sanding sugar & cool on a wire rack.