Hubby had the hankering for some peanut butter cookies and I was happy to oblige my sweetheart on Valentine's Day. I used the recipe for gluten-free peanut butter cookies from Elizabeth Barbone's wonderful Easy Gluten-Free Baking cookbook (you can test drive some of her recipes at her website but this PBJ cookie recipe is from her book) and decided on the variation she noted at the bottom of the recipe page to make a thumbprint in the middle of each cookie and fill with a smidgen of jelly (I used strawberry jam). What I didn't notice with the first hot batch was her admonition that the hot jammy centers can cause burns, so if you make this luscious cookies, don't shove one in your mouth before it thoroughly cools!
I made my batch of PBJ valentines using some of the products seen below for my baking, courtesy of samples sent by the Earth Balance company. The peanut butters and butter substitutes worked perfectly in the cookie recipe and it was nice to make a sweet indulgence with a light hand on the indulgence part. The Earth Balance products are not only gluten-free, but vegan, lactose-free, and casein-free, so you can use them to cook for all your friends and family with special dietary needs. Here in Saratoga County, New York, I could only find the Earth Balance buttery sticks and spread in my local markets, but hopefully the creamy and chunky peanut butters will be on local shelves soon.
I am not as fancy a dessert chef as I would like, but those of you with mad pastry chef skills might like to try the Earth Balance recipes for Vegan Espresso Brownie Sundaes with Fudge Sauce and Vegan Lemon Cheesecake with Agave Glazed Berries.
The Earth Balance Peanut Butters get a thumbs up from the Crispy Crew in our peanut butter sandwiches (and straight from the spoon too). The peanut butters are lightly sweetened with agave, rather than sugar or corn syrup, like some other brands, so the mother in me approves heartily. I have bought the Earth Balance buttery spread before because we like it as an alternative to butter for our bread, but it was nice to play around with the other Earth Balance products and I would recommend them to others.