Soft low carb peanut butter cookies with a “kiss” of chocolate in the center. A holiday classic made healthy and gluten-free.
You have no idea how much it pains me to say this but I am sick of Christmas cookies. I am sick of making them, sick of photographing them, sick of writing about them and sadly, even a little sick of eating them. And if you know me in real life, you know that this is akin to heresy in my books. Every year, I look forward to the Christmas baking season with all the eagerness of a child awaiting the arrival of St. Nick. I start writing down ideas for all the goodies I will make months in advance, envisioning the pretty boxes of homemade baked goods for friends and family. I have to hold myself back from starting too early, lest this very thing should occur…that I should get sick of Christmas cookies before Christmas is actually here. I knew it had to happen sometime.
This year, I wanted to tackle all the classics that everybody loves and misses when on a low carb or gluten-free diet. The cookies of our childhoods, the ones we made with our parents and that bring out that nostalgia for Christmas Past. Of course, we don’t all share the same past and we all have different ideas of what constitutes a classic Christmas cookie. But I tried to hit the ones that everyone knows. To that end, I created low carb, gluten-free versions of Gingerbread Men, Spritz Cookies, Snowballs and Shortbread. And one of my all time favourites, which was a huge coup for me, low carb Mincemeat Tarts. That one fell a little flat with my American audience, since mincemeat isn’t as common here as it is in other realms. But I hardly care, I’ve got 20 little tartlets in my freezer waiting to be devoured on Christmas Eve.
Because I was trying to cram these all in and get the recipes to you in time for your holiday baking, I started a little on the early side. And now I am paying the price. I suppose it’s an occupational hazard. I just hope YOU aren’t sick of Christmas cookies yet, because I have this last classic cookie to bring you. It’s an easy one, so if you still have that urge to bake or you are craving a chocolate and peanut butter combo, you can crank this one out in time for your festivities.
Like spritz cookies, Peanut Blossoms were not something I grew up making and eating at Christmas. But I had them at other people’s houses and they always tasted great. What’s not to love about a peanut butter cookie with a big chocolate kiss in the middle? Since they don’t exactly make sugar-free Hershey’s kisses, I had to devise another way to get that same look and taste. I made what amounts to a peanut butter thumbprint, shaping my cookies with a well in the center to receive the chocolate. And then I made a thick chocolate ganache, one I could dollop in the center in a kiss-like shape. For this, I favoured Scharffen Berger chocolate, as it melts a little more thickly than Lindt (it does contain soy lecithin, however, so if you are intolerant to soy you may need to choose another brand).
Although the process is very different than the conventional peanut blossom, the flavour is spot on. And dare I say that using high quality chocolate instead of a Hershey’s kiss results in even better flavour? If you want to get that same “rolled in sugar” look, I suggest sprinkling the cookies with a little granulated erythritol or xylitol when they are hot out of the oven.