If you’re looking for something sweet for those 3pm cravings, your week is sorted with these epic Banana Peanut Butter Cookies. Chewy, rich, naturally sweet – they’ll take you from brekky right through to 3pmsies.
If you’ve always experienced cookies as a sugary buttery overload, let’s redefine things right now. These cookies are…
- Made naturally sweet with bananas (the brown ones no-one else wants = ideal)
- Tender and rich thanks to creamy peanut butter (I’ve used this one by Forty Thieves here in NZ)
- And, contain zero butter or oil
There are a few tricks to not having your plant-based cookies turn out like stodge cakes, which I’m going to share with you below. Then all you need is 8 ingredients, 20 mins, and bam = 3pm cookie goodness is yours (if you have one at 11am, that’s all good too). Let’s go cookie monster!
Watch how to make these Banana Peanut Butter Cookies
What are cookies normally made from?
Cookies. You love them. I love them. There’s no denying, a good cookie, chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, will solve pretty much any emotional crisis or 3pm craving. But cookies – well, those cheeky numbers don’t have much going for them nutritionally. Let’s unpack this.
Here’s what we’re looking at with a traditional cookie:
Sugar, butter, eggs, white wheat flour, baking powder/soda, and chocolate chips if you’re lucky (sugar, dairy milk, cocoa, and cocoa butter).
Once again, I’m clutching at straws to find one that has a positive benefit on your health, animals, and our planet. The baking powder? But it’s that exact combination of ingredients which gives us that quintessential chew + crunch factor. Let’s get our science hat on.
What makes cookies soft and chewy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside?
Sugar. Eggs. And butter. There’s no two ways about it. I’ve tried a billion cookie recipes without these three, and it’s pretty hard to recreate the same exact outcome. BUT… it is possible. Here’s how.
- Instead of sugar, we’re going to sweeten with bananas. No, they won’t give us the same crunch, but they will give us our sweetness.
- Eggs, we’re going to swap with almond meal or flour. This gives us that fatty factor, whilst also providing enough bind combined with the banana.
- Butter – we’re going to switch to peanut butter. Which still gives all the richness, as well as the tender chewy texture.
Ingredients for these banana peanut butter cookies
So what else will you need? Here’s your shopping list (I’d classify these all as pantry staples, so if you don’t have them already, stock up as we’ll be using them regularly):
- Ripe bananas
- Peanut butter
- Vanilla extract
- Almond meal / flour (or whole almonds, you can grind them yourself)
- Rolled oats
- Shredded coconut
- Baking powder
- Sea salt
Plus a blender, food processor or hand mixer (or a really muscly bicep).
Nutritional benefits of peanut butter
Peanut butter is really the hero of these cookies, as it’s what provides the richness, tenderness, and chew. I’ve used one by Forty Thieves, a family owned business who crush their peanuts right here in NZ. Their PB is made from the highest quality hi-oleic Argentinian peanuts. They dry roast them on the Hibiscus Coast, then mill them with a dash of sea salt to craft their creamy wholesome peanut butter. Honestly – if you’ve only ever eaten peanut butter from overseas, you are in for a wake-up call with our kiwi versions!
Peanut butter often plays second fiddle to its fancier cousins like almond and cashew, but it really is a nutritional powerhouse of its own. Here’s why:
- High in protein – I’ll often shock clients by telling them that actually, the best way they can get more protein is not by eating more almonds, walnuts, and cashews, but by eating more peanuts. Yes – the humble peanut rocks a full 28% protein, compared to almonds at 21%, and cashews at 18%. It also knocks meat out of the park at 20%.
- Rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats – these are the good ones, which are important for hormone production and skin regeneration, but won’t harm your cholesterol or heart. Peanuts are a great affordable way to get more healthy fats into your diet.
- Unlikely to cause allergies if introduced early – contrary to previous guidance, it is now widely accepted that it is in fact more beneficial to introduce potentially allergenic foods at an earlier stage rather than later. This was discovered when Israeli children who were eating peanuts at an early age, showed less prevalence of peanut allergy than British children who had avoided peanuts. The theory being – if we introduce foods earlier, the body is able to develop a natural tolerance and affinity for them – rather than waiting until later when the immune system (including IgE antibodies) interprets them incorrectly as a threat.
As long as you’re using a high quality natural peanut butter like the one Forty Thieves make, and not the sugar-filled oiled-up American stuff, it’s a food I happily recommend you consume daily. Look on the back of the jar, and if you spot sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, or any other funky numbers, run a country mile. Or just opt for Forty Thieves’ one, as they’ve given me a 15% off discount for you to use! Enter the code begood15 on any of their nut butters here.
Substitution ideas for these banana peanut butter cookies
But Buff, I don’t have all the ingredients, and I need cookie time now. Ok – here are some sub ideas:
- Bananas – swap for pureed apples or apple sauce. Approximately 1 ½ cups worth. You’ll get a totally different flavour but the moisture works the same.
- Peanut butter – sub for almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, or hulled tahini. Hulled tahini is often a lot thinner, so if you’re using this, I’d drop to ⅓ cup.
- Almond meal – is literally just almonds ground to a flour. So get your food processor out, throw some raw/activated/lightly roasted almonds in there, and grind them up to make your own. You’ll need ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons of almonds to make 1 cup of almond meal. Note – almond flour is also fine, it’s just almond meal without the husks (blanched almonds ground up). Slightly less fibre is all.
- Rolled oats – quinoa flakes, rice flakes, buckwheat, or even some crushed up weetbix or a handful of rice pops will work well here. We just want some low-cal texture to balance out the creamy rich nuts.
- Shredded coconut – chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, or even some cacao nibs.
- Cinnamon – skip it, or add a pinch of ginger, cardamom, or clove.
Tips for making the best sugar-free oil-free cookies
Here are my top tips to make your healthy plant-based cookies turn out amazing:
- Use super ripe bananas – I know, the ones in my vid aren’t super ripe. I swear when we went to film this that’s all that was available! I recommend ripe, really ripe, brown spots all over. This will give you that sugar content you need for your cookies to be sweet enough, but also to caramelise and give them that chewy texture.
- The mix will be sticky – you’ll think it’s wrong, but it’s right. These ain’t no regular cookie. This means you’ll need to flatten them out a little before baking as they don’t contain the sugar or oil to allow them to flatten on their own. Watch my vid for exactly how to do it.
- Underbake – you want these cookies moist and tender, not dry, and again because of our lower sugar and oil content, we want to err on the side of underbaking. They’ll continue to firm up out of the oven when you let them sit for 5 minutes.
How to store your cookies
In a sealed container in the cupboard or fridge. They’ll soften on day two, so to crisp them back up again, pop them in the toaster for a minute. If you’re doing this, skip the peanut butter drizzle (you can always add that after if you like).
You can also freeze these cookies, then defrost and re-toast as above or in the oven at 160°C fan bake for 5 minutes.
Bit of a cookie monster? Try these next:
- Oat and Raisin Cookies
- Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Jam Drop Cookies
- Nut Butter Cookies
- Muesli Cookies
If you make these Banana Peanut Butter Cookies, I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a rating and comment below (it helps others find the recipe too), and tag me on Instagram @begoodorganics. I can’t wait to hear how you go.
This post was gratefully made possible with the support of Forty Thieves. Thank you for supporting the brands that help me keep Be Good Organics a live and thriving recipe resource for you. I’m so lucky to be able to work with the best!
- 2 ripe bananas
- ½ c peanut butter
- ¼ c water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 c almond meal
- ½ c rolled oats
- ¼ c shredded coconut
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp peanut butter smooth
- 1 tbsp roasted peanuts chopped
- Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake and line a baking tray with paper.
- Blend the wet ingredients in a blender until mostly smooth, then stir through the dry ingredients until combined. Dollop and gently flatten heaped tablespoons into 12 cookies, then bake for 16 minutes or until golden.
- Leave to cool for 5 minutes on the tray, peel off, and if desired, drizzle with smooth peanut butter and sprinkle with chopped roasted peanuts just before serving. Will keep 4-5 days in a sealed container – give them a refresh in the toaster to get them warm and crispy again (just skip the peanut butter drizzle if so).
- Blender / Food Processor
- Gluten free: Swap the oats for brown rice flakes, quinoa flakes, buckwheat, or extra shredded coconut.
- Nut free: Swap the peanut butter for hulled tahini or sunflower seed butter, and the almond flour for ¾ cup wholemeal spelt flour, oat flour, or regular wheat flour.
- Oil free: As is.
- Sugar free: As is.