Eating apple slices dipped in peanut butter is a wonderful, healthy treat, which explains why I love these cookies. I’ve been making these for over 25 years. Love them! When you’ve got a hankering for something sweet but salty too, these satisfy completely. They’re honestly not as sweet as most cookies; the natural sweetness of the apple shines. The nutritional value is boosted with the addition of fresh apples, oats and of course the peanut butter which also cuts down on the amount of butter you’ll need.
Let’s talk peanut butter. Most brands use some form of hydrogenated fat to keep the peanut oil from separating. We all are happy that the old trans fats have been virtually removed from foods, but we’re not safe just yet. In peanut butter’s case as well as in margarine, manufacturers now add palm oil, a highly saturated vegetable oil to their products to provide shelf stability. Palm oil, like other tropical oils, including palm kernel oil and even coconut oil contains LDL (the lousy component of cholesterol) cholesterol-raising fatty acids. Moreover, tropical oils are less expensive to use, have a higher smoke point and hardening ability which explains why they’re being used more commonly in commercial baked goods. Be aware!
For a healthier alternative, look for peanut butters that have one or two ingredients on their label: Peanuts and Salt. That’s it. That’s all you need. It’s as if you ground up your own peanuts. And probably most of you know you can do just that at grocery stores like Fred Meyer and WinCo by using their grinding machines (they look like bubble gum machines but filled with peanuts or almonds) which, with a flip of the switch, extrudes a fresh ooze of peanut or almond butter . . . a little more pricey, but very cool.
You’ll pay a bit more for natural peanut butters. And you’ll need to stir the oil on top into the nuts because without the trans fats or tropical oils the oil will separate. Those are downsides, but the upside is a much healthier, less artery-clogging option. I like Adams 100% Natural Peanut Butter or Costco’s organic natural peanut butter pictured below.
- Chunky Apple and Peanut Butter Cookies
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter (I use Adam's 100% Natural)
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, divided
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp low-fat milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (quick-cooking or old-fashioned)
- 2 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine peanut butter and butter in a mixing bowl. Beat together until softened. Add brown sugar, 1/2 cup of the flour, eggs, milk, vanilla and baking soda. Blend well. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup flour, rolled oats and apple.
- Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Press lightly to flatten.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire racks.
- *Note: Cookies may be frozen for up to 6 months.