These peanut brittle cookies are heavily inspired by Claire Saffiz’s pecan brittle cookies. Claire’s cookie recipe is neither vegan nor gluten-free but I adore the idea of nut brittle in cookies. I truly could not resist turning her recipe into a free-form version of its former self.
I’ll admit the method behind these cookies is as indulgent as the cookies themselves. There’s lots of equipment and an overnight rest in the fridge for the dough but I implore you to take the time to make them. Goodness knows we have plenty of time at the moment.
You begin by making peanut brittle (I used peanuts AND peanut butter) which if you only get that far is joy in its self. Once the brittle is set you turn half of it into a flour (of sorts) to combine with the dry mix and chop the remaining brittle into pea-sized nuggets, for the final dough, that transform into golden pools of toffee while the cookies bake.
Questions about the recipe? Or did something go wrong with your peanut brittle cookies? I’ve included all the recipe notes at the bottom of the page with the hope of improving your experience here at blue border. If you found this useful, I’d love your support on Instagram click here to follow.
For the peanut brittle
75g caster sugar
1 Tbsp. water
30g non-dairy butter or margarine
30g peanut butter, unsweetened
70g salted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
¼ tsp. baking soda
For the cookie dough
50g caster sugar
75g light muscovado sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
125g gluten-free flour, all-purpose
1 tsp. fine sea salt
¼ tsp. xanthan gum, you can leave out if your GF flour contains it already
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
100g gluten-free rolled oats, divided
Start by making the peanut brittle. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place it beside the stovetop along with all the measured ingredients ready to go. In a small pot add the 30g butter, 75g caster sugar and tablespoon of water and stir briefly to combine. Place the pot on the stovetop on medium heat.
Once the mixture in the pot starts to bubble, swirl the pot (without stirring) until the sugar caramelises and turns golden brown. The colour change will take about 5minutes of swirling but once it’s caramelised it will burn easily so remove the pot from the heat immediately.
At this point, you have to move fast. Add the peanut butter and mix through until well incorporated followed by the peanuts. Add the baking soda, mix briefly and transfer the brittle to the baking tray. Use a rubber spatula to flatten the brittle out as much as possible and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, start preparing the cookie dough. In a large bowl cream together (with electric beats or a stand mixer) the muscovado sugar, 50g caster sugar and 115g butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix briefly.
To a food processor add the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and half the rolled oats.
At this point, the brittle should be set. Transfer to a clean chopping and chop the brittle up into pieces roughly the size of a pea. Add half the chopped brittle to the food processor. Pulse the mixture in the food processor until the oats and brittle resemble a fine flour.
To the bowl of creamed butter and sugar add the mixture from the food processor along with the remaining oats and peanut brittle. Mix until well combined and a dough forms. Bring the dough together into one large ball, cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 8 – 24hrs.
When ready to bake preheat the oven to 160C and line 2-3 large baking trays with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 12-14 pieces and shape into balls (I weighed the cookie dough balls out to keep them even, each ball was 47-48g for 14 cookies). Place 5-6 cookies evenly spaced apart on the baking tray and bake one tray at a time for 15-18minutes. Baking for 15 minutes will give you a chewy cookie and for crunchy cookies, you can bake for up to 20 minutes.
Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing from the tray. Store in an airtight container or freeze to keep them super fresh.
Why are these baked at 160C?
In general gluten-free bakes are baked at a lower oven temperature. Low and slow baking helps with the development of structure in the absence of gluten, prevents crumbling and stops your bakes from drying out.
Are oats gluten-free?
Oats are naturally gluten-free! They do not contain the gluten proteins. They are however often grown alongside gluten-containing grains and are easily contaminated. Make sure your oats are certified gluten-free.
What GF flour do you use?
I use Dove’s Farm all-purpose gluten-free flour and love the way it performs.
Can I use a different nut?
Definitely! If you don’t fancy making peanut brittle cookies you can use whatever nut you like for the brittle and either sub the peanut butter for a different nut butter or leave it out.
Do I have to use xanthan gum?
Yes – see ‘Why are my gluten-free cookies falling apart?’
Troubleshooting - did something go wrong with your bake?
Why are my gluten-free cookies falling apart?
You left out the xanthan gum. In this recipe (and many others) xanthan gum is standing in for gluten and eggs as a binder, without it, GF bakes have a tendency to crumble. If you’re opposed to xanthan gum you can try a flax egg but note that I haven’t tried the recipe with a binder other than xanthan gum.
You didn’t let them cool completely before removing them from the tray. Gluten-free cookies are more fragile than their gluten-containing counterparts. Allowing them to cool on the tray, allows them to fully set. If you skip this step you may find they completely crumble when moved.
Why are my gluten-free cookies gritty?
Rice flour is to blame for a gritty texture. Try using a different all-purpose GF flour or make your own mix. I like this recipe for gluten-free flour by Minimalist Baker and even better make this recipe with superfine brown and white rice flour.
Why did my cookies spread so much in the oven?
You skipped the fridge step. Gluten-free cookie dough should always go in the fridge before baking as they tend to spread excessively in the oven.
In these small bakes, the butter/marg will melt quickly and without gluten to hold them back you can end up with one giant cookie instead of one dozen. The overnight fridge step in this recipe helps to solidify the source of fat and temper spreading.
This time in the fridge will also soften the flour and help prevent grittiness in cookies.