Flourless Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies. Photo by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; Food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post

When my husband told me the other day that he loves me more than peanut butter, I knew that after 26 years, our marriage remained on solid footing.

The man is clearly passionate about the stuff, smearing it on his waffles for breakfast, swirling it onto ice cream, blending it into smoothies and simply eating it by the spoonful. For his birthday last year, he was thrilled with the gift I got him: a selection of peanut butter-flavored stouts (which taste much better than they sound).

So, I figured I couldn’t go wrong making him a batch of peanut butter cookies for Valentine’s Day. (But really, they’re delicious any day.) In this version, the nut butter is the primary ingredient, rather than being second to flour and refined sugar, as it is in many recipes. In fact, these cookies have no flour or refined sugar at all because they are sweetened with date sugar.

I’ve been playing around with date sugar a lot lately and really enjoying the results. Made simply of dried, ground dates, it offers a whole-food way to sweeten foods. It’s not sugar-free – the dates’ inherent sugar is what makes it sweet – but it also contains the fruit’s fiber and antioxidants, and it has a gentler impact on blood sugar than refined sugar.

Date sugar looks a lot like brown sugar, but because it doesn’t melt like sugar does, you can’t simply swap it one-for-one. While it doesn’t work in every recipe, it is ideal in these cookies, providing not only sweetness but also a subtle date flavor that pairs beautifully with the peanut butter and chocolate.

To make the cookies, you simply beat the peanut butter with softened butter, egg and vanilla extract, then add the date sugar, which has been mixed with some baking soda. Then stir in the chocolate and scoop the batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet.


Giving each dough mound the classic crosshatch pattern with the tines of a fork gives the cookies visual appeal and also flattens them, as they don’t spread much with baking. Once the cookies are out of the oven, it’s best to wait until they are completely cool before eating to ensure they firm up, but I won’t pretend I could resist gobbling up a soft, warm one.

These cookies are richly peanut-buttery with a pleasant crumbly texture, luscious with melted chocolate, and very subtly sweet with a lovely hint of date flavor – ideal for a peanut-buttery date night dessert.

Flourless Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

In these better-for-you peanut butter cookies, the nut butter is the primary ingredient, and the sweetener is date sugar, which is simply dried, ground dates – so the cookies contain no flour or refined sugar at all. They turn out richly peanut-buttery, with a pleasant, crumbly texture, luscious with melted chocolate and subtly sweet, with a lovely hint of date flavor.

Look for salted natural peanut butter; if you have unsalted only, add 1/4 teaspoon fine salt to the mixture.


Storage: Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Where to buy: Date sugar can be found at well-stocked supermarkets, natural food stores and online.

Active time: 30 mins; Total time: 40 mins


3/4 cup (192 grams) smooth, natural peanut butter (see headnote)

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick/62 grams) unsalted butter, softened


1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup (108 grams) date sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup (43 grams) chopped semisweet chocolate (60 to 70 percent cocoa solids)



Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the peanut butter, butter, egg and vanilla until well combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the date sugar and baking soda until well combined. Add the date sugar mixture to the peanut butter mixture and stir to incorporate. The mixture will be a bit crumbly-looking, but should hold together when compacted. Stir in the chocolate until well combined.

Use a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoon to scoop the batter onto the prepared sheet pan, spacing the mounds about 1 inch apart. Using the tines of a fork, press each cookie down a bit and create a crosshatch pattern.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies begin to brown around the edges. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 20 minutes; the cookies will firm up as they cool. Serve, or transfer to an airtight container until needed.

Variations: In place of date sugar, you can use 2/3 cup (147 grams) packed dark brown sugar plus 1/2 cup (63 grams) all-purpose or white whole-wheat flour. Because these cookies will spread more than their flourless counterparts, space the dough mounds out about 2 inches apart across two large parchment-lined sheet pans.

Nutrition | (1 cookie): 138 calories, 4g carbohydrates, 19mg cholesterol, 9g fat, 1g fiber, 3g protein, 3g saturated fat, 38mg sodium, 8g sugar

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