Gluten-free baking doesn’t have to require specialty flours or unusual and expensive ingredients. These three peanut-butter treat recipes are made with simple ingredients that most people already have in the kitchen. They’re naturally gluten-free, so those with or without gluten allergies will enjoy them. Just keep them away from nut-allergy suffers.
By making simple recipes, you can save money at the grocery store and use what you already have in the pantry. Many people are partial to their brand of peanut butter, but I find that most brands work well in these recipes (stir natural brands first). Either creamy or crunchy peanut butter varieties will work, but your choice will affect the texture.
I usually buy my baking peanut butter in bulk at Costco when they have a coupon. Packages of two 40-ounce jars of Skippy are usually around $10 and coupons for $2 off come around every few months. You can purchase 40-ounce jars of peanut butter of Skippy for $5.87 and Skippy Natural for $6.23 on Amazon with free shipping through the subscribe-and-save program. You can also make your own vanilla extract to save even more money when you bake.
I decorated all of these cookies for Valentine’s Day with pink and red M&Ms and heart-shaped chocolates, but these could fit any occasion with different decorations or by just leaving the decorations off entirely.
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
These Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies are my favorites to make because they are so easy, contain the perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter and taste great.
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (optional; if you omit, cookies are slightly more delicate)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Hershey Kisses, Rolos, peanut butter Kisses, or chocolate hearts
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a reusable sil-pat mat (this is my favorite). Unwrap candies and place in a bowl.
Mix together egg, sugar, baking soda, and vanilla with a stand mixer or hand-held mixer (or combine very well with a spoon). Beat in the peanut butter.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup dipped in sugar to prevent sticking.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly set and immediately press one chocolate candy into the middle of each cookie. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Peanut Butter No Bakes
Peanut Butter No Bakes are a great option to make with kids or if you don’t want to turn on the oven. If you want these to be gluten-free, use certified gluten-free oats because oats can be highly contaminated during harvesting and processing. I purchase gluten free oats on Amazon for the best deal. Old-fashioned oats will work, but the cookies will be slightly chewier. If you prefer Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bakes, add 4 tablespoons cocoa powder at the beginning.
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup milk (non-dairy is fine)
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups quick-cooking oats (use certified gluten-free if you have an allergy)*
Add butter, sugar, and milk in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Quickly, stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth, and then stir in the oats. Drop heaping tablespoons onto wax paper-lined baking sheets and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. Let cool until set.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares
Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares always remind me of cafeteria lunches. Our high school cafeteria often had these for purchase, and they were pretty hard to resist. These are also no-bake, but they will get pretty soft when stored at room temperature, so they aren’t a good option for picnics or hot days.
- ¾ cup butter
- 2¼ cups peanut butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups chocolate chips
Line a baking dish with foil or parchment paper for easy removal. Combine butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 cups peanut butter. Use a hand mixer to thoroughly blend the ingredients.
Spread in the bottom of a baking dish. Use a smaller pan for thicker bars or a 9×13 for thinner bars. These are rich, so thinner is fine.
Melt together chocolate and remaining ¼-cup peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl on high setting for about 90 seconds; stir until well blended. Pour chocolate mixture over peanut butter mixture, and then place in the fridge to set for at least an hour before serving. Store covered in the refrigerator.
There are plenty of other recipes for naturally gluten-free sweets. Here’s a more upscale list of 15 Naturally Gluten-Free Desserts from Saveur that will really impress your guests. If you’re more of a salty or savory snack fan, check out these 25 Naturally Gluten-Free Snacks.