… A Cookie Twist on the Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs!
When I was a kid I used to look forward to Easter as soon as Valentine’s Day was over. I couldn’t wait for those egg-shaped peanut butter cups that Reese’s created every year (and still does) just for Easter. You know the ones. They always seemed bigger to me than the standard round cups, and the texture of the peanut butter seemed more special somehow. Those were definitely my favorite candy in my Easter basket. I’d always try to trade with my Dad and offer him some jelly beans or a marshmallow bunny for his peanut butter eggs – yep, my mom was great and made him a basket too. It was usually a no-go, since those were his favorite as well, but I still tried every year. Once in a while he’d go soft and make a swap … but not often.
I miss those eggs! A peanut intolerance got in the way of my obsession enjoyment of those yummy holiday treats about 15 years ago … Darn it! Then the gluten and dairy became a nuisance … yep, that’s what I honestly feel when I can’t eat those oh-so-special Easter peanut butter eggs. Pretty much wipes out the whole peanut butter egg possibility with a gluten, dairy, and peanut intolerance, right?
But I’m not one to sit and be bothered permanently. And I don’t think you should be either. So I created our own Easter egg nut butter cups. And to keep from being a Reese’s copycat, I decided to put a cookie twist on them. Now, I’m not saying that we’ll ever stop reminiscing the days of old, but we certainly don’t have to feel a longing for them anymore. These cashew butter filled, chocolate dipped, sugar cookies took care of that.
The gluten-free, dairy-free cutout cookie base is from my cutout sugar cookie recipe from Christmas. This cookie works very well in this recipe because it holds its snap and texture even when topped with the cashew butter filling and chocolate coating. I found some fun Easter cookie cutters of an egg, a bunny, and a carrot. They’re a little bigger than I was looking for but they worked just fine … it just means I have an excuse for eating a larger portion, right?
Though there are a few steps to these cookies, none of them are complicated, and the finished cookies are so festive and tasty. My kids are grown now, but if they were still young, I’d probably make these without them knowing, then wrap them in little cellophane gift bags (you can get them at any Target, Wal-Mart, or party store) with a cute ribbon. What a fun way to say, “Happy Easter”!
This is not a last-minute recipe. You’ll want to plan ahead for these because the cookie dough requires two hours to chill before cutting and baking. There’s also a potential chill time needed if the dough becomes too warm and soft when rolling and cutting your shapes. Then another quick chill is recommended before and after the dipping of chocolate. Nothing complicated. And some of the chill cycles can occur at the same time as you’re baking the batches of cookies. Or you can bake the cookies one day, then fill and coat the next. (I had to do them all in one session because I wasn’t sure if the cookies would be eaten by the next day.)
Happy Easter baking and snacking!
P.S. Don’t miss my post tomorrow of Water Colored Easter Cutout Cookies. It’s a fun decorating twist on frosted cookies or colored Easter eggs. A huge time saver is to make a double batch of the cookie dough and save half for this recipe. Or bake all of the cookies and save some for this recipe – then you won’t have to bake another day.
Gluten-free Dairy-free Cashew Butter Cup Easter Cutout Cookies
For the Cookie Base:
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: at least 2 hours
Cutout/chill time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 17-20 minutes per baking sheet
Oven temp: 325ºF
Makes: about 24 large or 36 medium-size cookies
2 2/3 cup (320g) gluten-free, all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup extra for dipping cookie cutters – I use Authentic Foods Bette’s Gourmet Four Flour Blend
4 Tablespoons almond flour – I use Honeyville Farms Blanched Almond Flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum – omit if already in your flour mix
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (8 ounces) non-dairy margarine – I use Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread – soy free
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract – I use McCormick
Combine 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, guar gum, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir well to combine.
Combine margarine and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed, scraping down side of bowl once, for about 2 minutes, or until sugar has started dissolving and most of the graininess is gone. Add egg and vanilla. Beat on medium-high until smooth.
Add in the flour mixture to the sugar mixture gradually with the mixer on low. Increase speed to medium and blend until well mixed and dough ball begins to form – it won’t form completely.
Form into two balls. Place each ball on a separate sheet of wax paper large enough to completely wrap the ball. Before wrapping the wax paper over the ball, gently press the dough into a large disk about an inch thick. Wrap wax paper around dough, then place each “package” into separate plastic bags. Chill in refrigerator for at least two hours.
Remove one of the disks from the refrigerator. Place unwrapped dough between two pieces of parchment paper placed on a baking sheet (tip: it won’t stick to parchment paper, but it will to other surfaces), and roll out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick, making sure the edges don’t get pressed too thin. With parchment paper still on top and bottom of rolled dough, place the baking sheet with the parchment covered dough into the freezer for 15 minutes (tip: freezing will make ALL the difference in how well this dough behaves as mentioned above). Place 1/2 cup flour into a shallow bowl large enough to dip your cookie cutters.
Preheat oven to 325ºF.
Remove chilled dough from freezer. Remove top sheet of parchment paper, keeping the dough on the bottom parchment and chilled baking sheet. Working quickly, dip your cookie cutters, one at a time, and cut out shapes. If the cut dough doesn’t release from the dough slab, that’s okay, just continue cutting out your shapes and leaving them in place. If your dough begins to stick or soften, return the baking sheet to the freezer for a few minutes. Once all shapes have been cut out, use your flour-dipped spatula and gently slide it under the shapes. If you can, release only the dough surrounding your cutouts, that is desired. If your shape releases too, just gently move it to an open space on the parchment. Once all extra dough has been removed from between shapes, set it aside momentarily, and place a sheet of parchment paper back over the top of the shapes. Return the baking sheet and cutouts to the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes (tip: this will help maintain the shape of the cutouts while baking. If the dough becomes too warm, your shapes will lose their defined edges.) Roll extra dough between parchment sheets to proper thickness. Return to the freezer for 15 minutes. This dough can then be re-rolled and cut into shapes. (tip: Gluten-free dough doesn’t become tough when re-worked as does dough with standard all-purpose flour.)
Remove baking sheet with chilled cutout cookies from freezer, remove top sheet of parchment paper and bake cookies immediately in preheated oven on middle rack.
Bake at 325ºF for 17-20 minutes, or until edges of cookies are just beginning to turn light golden. Remove from oven and transfer parchment with cookies onto a cooling rack. Cool cookies on parchment for about 4 minutes before transferring off of parchment. Continue cooling on rack without paper. Repeat above steps with all of the dough.
For the Cashew Butter Filling:
Prep time: 5 minutes
Active time: 10-15 minutes
Chill time: 15 minutes (can be done while some cookies are baking)
½ cup cashew butter – I use homemade cashew butter but purchased is fine.
1 cup brown rice cereal – I use Barbara’s Brown Rice Crisps
Grind cereal in a food processor into fine crumbs. Stir into cashew butter and mix until well combined.
Spread a dollop of cashew butter mixture onto a cookie, about an 1/8th inch thick and leaving a border of cookie showing. Place cookies on baking sheet.
Chill cookies in freezer for 10-15 minutes. Then remove when ready to coat in chocolate.
For the Chocolate Coating:
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5-10 minutes
1 ½ cups chocolate chips – I use Enjoy Life Foods Semi-sweet Mini Chips
2 Tablespoons vegan margarine – I use Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread – soy free
1 teaspoon corn syrup
4-5 Tablespoons almond milk, optional – I use Almond Breeze Blue Diamond Almond Milk
Combine chocolate chips, margarine, and corn syrup in a double boiler and heat, stirring well, until half of the chocolate chips are melted. Remove from heat (and from the pot of steaming water) and continue stirring until all chips are melted. If the chocolate is too thick, thin by gradually adding in the almond milk a tablespoonful at a time, until you have a consistency that is smooth and thin enough to dip the cookies into, but thick enough that the chocolate will hold and not just run all over.
Dip the top of each cookie into the chocolate, lift the cookie out of the chocolate by giving it a slight angled twist, then place on a baking sheet while you dip all the cookies. Place the cookies in the freezer and chill about 10 minutes, just to set the chocolate. Remove from freezer.
Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight re-sealable container, or place in a re-sealable container and store in the fridge or freezer. I like the texture best when they are frozen and then let to rest at room temp about 10 minutes before eating, but they’re good at any temp so find your favorite.
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™