Peanut Praline Cookies + Peppermint Whoopie Pies + Gingerbread People

December 14, 2016

Peanut Praline Cookies + Peppermint Whoopie Pies + Gingerbread People by Faring Well

As I mentioned earlier, I have been preparing for this holiday baking season for an entire year – and couldn’t be more genuinely psyched to finally share these three new cookie recipes with you here today. What makes me so giddy is that I was able to finagle my way into balancing the sweetness in these recipes without using processed sugar, or compromising their richness in the process. This is at least how my taste buds voted. I would love to know how yours feel too if you make any of these sweet treats, so be sure to drop me a note if you do!

Let’s dissect these recipes a bit, shall we? Beginning with the peanut praline. I teased you with it here on Instagram a few weeks ago, and am kind of thinking this is my new favorite cookie recipe of all time (excluding present company, hello gingerbread peeps and whoopie pies!). I wanted there to be a sweet crystalized crunch added to the classic peanut butter flavor and texture. I realized quickly that plain peanuts wouldn’t do. They aren’t sweet! And take away from the overall flavor I am trying to cultivate in the dough. What to do? Coat them in sweet maple and a few pinches of salt, let them caramelize in the oven, and give them a good blitz in the food processor to mask their chalky peanut origin and transform them into that sweet peanut crunch of my dreams.

Now onto the peppermint whoopie pies, because I cannot sustain a smile at Christmas time if a chocolatey-pepperminty treat is not consumed during the month of December. These cookies are a tweaked version of Lindsey’s brilliant recipe I fell for last year (which you should totally enjoy too, a flax egg and coconut sugar makes these babes vegan and naturally sweetened in a pinch!). I make the cookie be both chocolate and peppermint, and allow the cream in the center to be a fresh vanilla. I feel as if the flavors are best enjoyed in this fashion, and hope you trust me to give it a go too! After discovering the wonder of cashew buttercream a few posts back, I applied it here as well – and yep – it knocked it out of the park. Vanilla cashew “buttercream” frosting for life, folks.

Speaking of folks, these gingerbread men! Or people, ladies, what have you. I’ve actually been holding this recipe gem in my fist, clasped tight, since last Christmas. I didn’t have time to share it with you then, so it only seemed fair I make this post a triple-wammy and include it here for you too. I am a sucker for all things gingerbread this time of year, and think these cookies are just the best. Not too sweet, and perfect for dipping in your hot cocoa or morning coffee. You can even slather them in leftover cashew cream frosting from the sandwiches above if you dare – its lovely, don’t hold back.

Aside from seeking to naturally sweeten these holiday treats, I also sought to use the most wholesome ingredients. Virgin coconut oil and whole grain, sprouted flour as the main two. The top choice in our home is the sprouted spelt flour by One Degree Organics. We have used this flour in countless recipes for years, and it brings me so much joy to share them with you here today – and hopefully encourage you to seek out their sprouted grains for your holiday baking this year. They have plenty to explore, and your tummy will be grateful for the extra love that comes from sprouting the grains – this removes the phytic acid (a.k.a. plant seed protector that inhibits mineral absorption and can be hard to digest). They support vegan and organic practices (woot woot!) and show a true appreciation for their farmers and the earth. All around, this is the kind of company I wish to be supporting throughout my holiday baking – as well as in my recipes during the entire year.

I hope you enjoy your holiday baking and parties these next few weeks folks! We are heading to Denver for a quick forty-eight-hour trip to see some friends and attend a certain 90s themed company holiday party (grunge all the way). This will be my first trip back since moving away eight months ago, and I am excited to actually “visit” the city for the first time. It’s crazy to think we have only ever “lived” there, seeing as our move was spontaneous and very sight-unseen nearly two years ago. Some of our greatest friendships were created in Denver, and I cannot wait to squeeze each one of you wonderful people (you know who you are) during this trip back to mile high city. Now to go pull out the bin of winter clothing that will never see the light of day here in southern CA. Next stop — WINTER.

Peanut Praline Cookies + Peppermint Whoopie Pies + Gingerbread People by Faring WellPeanut Praline Cookies + Peppermint Whoopie Pies + Gingerbread People by Faring WellPeanut Praline Cookies + Peppermint Whoopie Pies + Gingerbread People by Faring Well Peanut Praline Cookies + Peppermint Whoopie Pies + Gingerbread People by Faring WellPeanut Praline Cookies + Peppermint Whoopie Pies + Gingerbread People by Faring WellPeanut Praline Cookies + Peppermint Whoopie Pies + Gingerbread People by Faring WellPeanut Praline Cookies + Peppermint Whoopie Pies + Gingerbread People by Faring Well


PEANUT BUTTER PRALINE COOKIES
Makes 10 cookies.

cookies
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (all natural, salted)
1/4 cup maple sugar (or coconut sugar)
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 to 5 tablespoons sprouted spelt flour
peanut praline (recipe below)

peanut praline
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple sugar (or coconut sugar)
few good pinches of sea salt

Begin by making the praline. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, and spread onto the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The peanuts should be golden. Set on the counter to cool for 10 minutes, allowing the sugar coating to harden. When cooled, transfer to a food processor and blitz into a crumb. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Make the cookie dough next. Combine the peanut butter, maple sugar, coconut oil (solid is fine), maple syrup, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle two tablespoons of flour into the bowl, along with the baking soda. Mix well. Add an additional tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough comes together. It will be thick.

Scoop the dough using a cooking scoop or spoon into 10 cookie dough balls. Place in the bowl of peanut praline and press into disks. Make sure to press as much praline as you can into the cookie, then transfer to a parchment linked baking sheet. Sprinkle a little more praline on top before pressing down into the final disk shape for baking. These will be a little messy, embrace it, it’s what makes them so darn tasty.

Bake for 11 to 12 minutes. Slide off the cookie sheet onto the counter to cool before serving. They will firm up and become sturdy after cooling. Serve right away, and store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge.


PEPPERMINT WHOOPIE PIES
Makes 12 cookies, or 6 whoopie pies. 
Cookies adapted from Dolly & Oatmeal.

chocolate peppermint cookies
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon flax meal
3 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/4 cups sprouted spelt flour
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

vanilla cashew cream
2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup plain plant milk (I use cashew)

Prepare the cookie dough to chill. Combine the flax meal and hot water in a small dish and set aside to thicken. Add the coconut oil to a small pot on the stove over low heat, while stirring, until melted. Add the coconut sugar to the oil and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and peppermint extracts to the pot. Stir well. Add the thickened flax mixture and stir well again.

Transfer the wet mixture to a medium mixing bowl and place a fine mesh strainer over the bowl. To the strainer add the remaining dry ingredients. Sift the dry into the wet, and stir well until a thick dough forms. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes, stirring with a spatula every 10 minutes to keep the dough on the bottom from hardening.

While the dough is chilling, prepare the vanilla cashew cream. Drain the cashews and add to a high speed blender. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender as well. Secure the lid and insert the tamper. Begin on low, working your way up to high while using the tamper to help the mixture along. Once smooth and creamy, transfer the filling to a glass jar. Seal and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Scoop the chilled dough into rounded spoonfuls, 12 total, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Press down evenly to 1/2 inch thick disks. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Slide the sheet of parchment off of the pan and onto the counter to cool. Once cooled, place a large dollop of frosting on the bottom of 6 cookies (or pipe it if you want to get fancy), and top with the reminding 6 to create the whoopie sandwiches.

Chill the cookie sandwiches in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to serve. Store any leftover cashew cream the same, in the fridge, and enjoy by the spoonful or swirled into your morning oats.


GINGERBREAD PEOPLE
Makes about 18 gingerbread men, depending on size.

2 cups sprouted spelt flour
1/3 cup oat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses

Make the dough. In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients (spelt flour through ground ginger). Stir with a fork, and create a well in the center of the mixture. To the center well, add the coconut sugar, coconut oil, hot water, and molasses. Begin stirring in the center, working you way towards the outer edges of the bowl to incorporate the dry into the wet, a little at a time. Once a velvety dough has formed, turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly into a flat disk. Place in the refrigerator and allow to chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Flour a large surface with more of the sprouted spelt flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface, cover with a sheet of parchment, and roll out with a rolling pin to 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out using your desired cookie cutters, and place your gingerbread men (and ladies) onto the parchment lined cookie sheet (using a spatula if needed for safe transfer).

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Transfer to the counter to cool fully before decorating with any leftover vanilla cashew cream from the cookie sandwiches above. These are also lovely dipped in a little melted dark chocolate. Or leave them plain (as I do) for dunking in a mug of hot cocoa or coffee. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container on the counter. Best if enjoyed within 4 days.


This post was sponsored by One Degree Organics. All words and opinions are my own. I have truly loved and used their amazing products for years. Thank you for supporting my work here on Faring Well by supporting it’s wonderful sponsors. Merry Christmas!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag photos you post of my recipes with #FWmakers so I can see!

  • carlos at Spoonabilities December 14, 2016 at 3:36 am

    They look so yummy! I would love to have the full box with me to eat all at once. Happy holidays!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Thank you co much Carlos! I hope you had a lovely holiday as well!

  • Jess @Nourished by Nutrition December 14, 2016 at 3:44 am

    Jessie, each one of these cookies is pure genius! You have serious talent when it come to recipe development and photography. Own those skills you mega babe! I’ve been so excited for these recipes to make their grand appearance. Now they’re here and everything I could have imagined, plus so much more! I LOVE how you’ve managed to create actually “cookie” (you know what I mean, no substituting ingredients or leaving necessary ingredients out altogether) that come together with one the best ingredients out there. Cheers to nourishing your body with wholesome ingredients everyday, treats included! ALos, have the best time in Colorado (Brace yourself for the cold though…eeek). Sending you SO much joy, love and happiness friend! xx Jess
    p.s. writing back to you today

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Oh Jess! This was just too sweet! Thank you girl for all of this ^^. Cheers to nourishing your body indeed, with every morsel we consume! May it all be celebrated. I hope you had a warm and joyous holiday weekend girl, and now onto New Years! Ah 2017!

  • Shelley December 14, 2016 at 5:20 am

    This is insane – 3 recipes?! I feel like I just hit the Christmas jackpot! YAY! Each one looks more delicious than the next. I’ve already done my holiday baking for the season (eek had to get it done early), but these are on the top of my list for next year. Enjoy your 48 hours in the snow!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Aw thank you Shelley! Im so pumped you love these too, and mega fist pumps for having gotten your holiday baking done so early. I hope you had the best Christmas friend, and are enjoying it now into the week too. xx

  • Gena December 14, 2016 at 5:23 am

    You have truly outdone yourself with this trio of cookies, my dear! What a wonderful bevy of holiday treats. I’m all about edible gifting this season, and just as soon as my blasted nutrition final is behind me, I plan to break out my rolling pin. The whoopie pies are top of my list. Thanks for such a generous post <3 — and I love ODO products, too!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Yay about ODO and yay about getting your finals over with! I hope you had a super relaxing Christmas weekend Gena, and got to bake something sweet too ;). Thank you for the love on these recipes, I so appreciate each and every one of your comments.

  • Karlie December 14, 2016 at 5:59 am

    These all look incredible! Especially the whoopee pies! + I love that cookie box so much. Have a wonderful week!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 11:52 am

      Thank you Karlie! <3 I hope you had a fab holiday, now onto new years - woot woot!

  • michelle @ hummingbird high December 14, 2016 at 6:21 am

    ahhh! i saw this cookie box and immediately smiled. i have the same box and i love it so much! i love the way you’ve filled it with a variety of cookies; it looks so cute and festive. happy holidays jessie! xoxo

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 11:53 am

      Thank you Michelle! I loved your box of cookies too! Happy belated holidays and early new years friend! xx

  • Marta December 14, 2016 at 6:51 am

    You know I’ve been waiting for these for a while now ( and I’m now becoming a very regular presence on your blog – ha!) but oh man it was worth allllll the wait. These look incredible, I’ve been looking for a great gingerbread men cookies recipe for a while as mine wasn’t satisfying me anymore. Can’t wait to make all of them now!

    Thanks for sharing your passion and enthusiasm with us once again, you have a great talent (: big hug and have an awesome time in Denver!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 11:56 am

      Aw Marta, I super appreciate you! Thank you for your sweet comments, they are the best and I am so happy to hear these cookies are calling your name too! I hope you had the best holiday. Thank you for your sweet wishes on denver as well, it was a blast! xx

  • betty December 14, 2016 at 7:00 am

    WOW Jessie! I’m so so so intrigued by ALL of these, especially those gingerbread men you’ve waited a year to show us! I love all the thought you put into this post, and this cheerful post is exactly what I needed on this sleep-deprived-almost-done-with-exams morning. Happy holidays, and cannot wait to hang out IRL SOON. SOOOOOON.

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 11:57 am

      AH BETTY. Thank you! You are the best, I am so glad to have you as a friend and meet you IRL so soon! Yay for exams being over and for some hopefully restful times during your break! Adore you, xoxo.

  • Sarah | Well and Full December 14, 2016 at 7:09 am

    YAYY!!! I am ALL about everything in this post. These cookies all look amazing, Jessie, and I can see how much work you’ve put into them! Also, One Degree Organics sprouted spelt flour is the BEST. It’s the only flour I really use in my kitchen (other than the occasional use of chickpea/brown rice flour!) ;) But for serious, can you send me some of those whoopie pies like… yesterday? Thanks ;)

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 11:58 am

      Girl I wish I had a whoopie pie transporter machine – you would have a box asap! Thank you for the recipe love, you’re so sweet. And I know right, their flour is the absolute best. So grateful for them and all that they do! (Also so grateful for you.) XO

  • Marta e Mimma | Naturalmente buono December 14, 2016 at 7:28 am

    I’m totally about Christmas baking those days. I made too many batches of swedish Lussekatter with my sourdough starter and, as I’m Italian, working at a completely spelt based + maple sweetened vegan panettone (made it today and the dough was so perfect I was almost crying, now it’s rising and I seriously can’t wait to bake it!!). I was looking for new Christmas cookies to bake and of course for this post since you started posting it on instagram. I mean, those peppermint cookies!! And, let be honest, is not Christmas without gingerbread cookies. Spelt flour is also my go to flour and I would be so happy to find sprouted version here in Italy too!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 11:59 am

      Omg that sounds amazing! That Panettone! Send me a slice?! ;)

  • Abby @ Heart of a Baker December 14, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Oh my friend, you have been hard at work on these cookies! I can’t decide which one I would want to bake first! Enjoy your time in CO, it’s always so lovely to go back to the places where dear friends were made :)

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      Aw thank you Abby, you’re so sweet – and you are the queen baker so it is so wonderful to hear this from you! Denver was fab too, good friends are the best – no matter how far away they may live. <3

  • Molly December 14, 2016 at 10:23 am

    really looking forward to making this recipe! love your blog. just one question:

    I’m following a gluten free diet, what is a good alterntive flour to use in these cookies as Spelt is not gluten free? Could I sub in equal parts Kamut Flour?

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Molly! Thank you dearly, you’re so kind. As for the GF options, I haven’t tried any – but would recommend substituting a quality gluten free flour blend for the spelt. I hope this works if you give it a try!

  • Lindsey Love December 14, 2016 at 11:06 am

    jessie! you are my hero! 3 cookie recipes in one post – you’re too kind to share all this magic :) definitely going to have to make those peanut butter cookies (along with your peanut butter cookie latte!), and also those whoopies! heck yes to an unprocessed sugar holiday. big happy hugs to you, lovely. xo!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      Sheesh! Thank you Lindsey! You are so sweet. Those two together would be straight magic. Cheers to naturally sweetened holidays and to you and your sweet family! Happy Holidays girl – xx

  • Veronika December 14, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Oh my! These all look incredible! <3 and enjoy the snow girl ;) I can't imagine Christmas without snow (or cookies, duh), it makes everything so festive and beautiful.

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Thank you so much Veronika! <3 Colorado was so nice to visit, but I'm not gonna lie - this beach girl enjoyed her bare feet and sunshine on Christmas day! **wink wink** happy almost new years now girl! Hope you're having the best season.

  • Melo December 14, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Just made the stellar peanut butter cookies, thank you so much! Now onto the rest of ’em, eheheh… xoxo

    • Melo December 17, 2016 at 9:56 am

      Aaaand just made the whoopies, with a few twists to accomodate the tastes of the house! I skipped the mint and replaced it by an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract, and added a small pear in the cream mix. Heavenly! Although at the beginning I was scared I wouldn’t achieve it, since I never managed to get the sugar to dissolve properly in the oil and had to do a second batch switching oil for water. Worked great despite that change! Many thanks again for the great recipes, hope you enjoy your holidays! xoxoxo

      • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:05 pm

        OMG, Melo, you just made me smile so big. Thank you or trusting me with your cookie baking this season! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed them both <3. As for the oil and coconut sugar - they aren't suppose to mix, so if you give it a try the next time leave them as they are once placed together and proceed - the cookies will be even tastier!

        • Melo December 31, 2016 at 9:39 am

          Oooooh right, I thought the two should combine, will do next time! Thanks for the reply, Jessie! And already, wishing you a happy new year! xoxoxo

          • Faring Well January 2, 2017 at 8:38 am

            Of course! I can totally see why you thought they should – I need to be more descriptive! And thank you Melo, wishing you the happiest new year too! xo

  • Rebeca December 14, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    I’m not kidding when I say I’m pretty sure that’s the gingerbread recipe I’ve been looking for for a year! My experiments last year had mixed results, including one that we called “the rock”, haha. I’m excited to try yours! The other two also look stellar, but gingerbread wins my heart. And that cookie box? Too darn cute.

    • Rebeca December 21, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Made them this morning and loved them! I like that they aren’t too sweet and the spelt flour works great. My sister took them for my niece’s christmas party at school, but I’m hoping she left a few!
      Happy holidays! xo

      • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:05 pm

        Aw yay! Rebeca! This made me so happy to read, thank you for making these and leaving me this sweet note too! xx

  • KJ | Om Nom Herbivore December 14, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    These all look amazing and that cookie box is too cute! I need to pick up a few things then I will make some this weekend! Probably Praline and Gingerbread :) I’ll let you know how they turn out! Have fun in Denver! Thanks for spoiling us with a triple treat :)

    • KJ | Om Nom Herbivore December 18, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      I made these tonight! It was so hard to not eat all the scraps while rolling the dough! They are a heartier gingerbread because of the spelt but absolutely delicious – especially when paired with coffee :)

      • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm

        Thank you KJ! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed these. I loved seeing them in your stories – and with the pb latte too! What a treat! xo

  • Maya | Spice + Sprout December 15, 2016 at 9:10 am

    This is a magical cookie party! Amazing! Jessie, you are a vegan cookie superhero! <3

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Aw thank you Maya! You’re the best! Crazy appreciate you.

  • Emily December 16, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Goodness, how gorgeous is this post?! I honestly cannot decide which cookies look poor sound better to me. They are ALL beautiful. You always inspire me with your naturally-sweetened treats, showing how possible it is to make delicious treats that are also wholesome during this time of year when sugar is everywhere. I’ve had my eye on that cookie-box too… do you use yours a lot? It’s super-cute, just wondering if I’d make good use out of it. :)

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Emily, this is everything ^^ thank you, I am feeling so encouraged reading your comment here! And as for the box, it is wonderful for gifting, but not for long term cookie storage seeing as it isn’t air tight. Worth it though to give away each year I think! ;) xoxo

  • Caroline December 19, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Trying the gingerbread recipe today! Dough tastes amazing so far, can’t wait to bake them!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Ooo yay! Good luck not eating all of that dough Caroline! <3

  • Meg December 19, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Oh, these look amazing Jessie! I can’t wait to try my hand in whoopie pie makin’! Happy holidays!!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Yes!! So much easier than it looks. Thank you Meg, happy holidays to you as well! xx

  • Brooke @ Chocolate + Marrow December 19, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I have been in awe of this post since you first teased it on IG!! It is amazing and you are a cookie wizard, my dear friend! I’m going to give one of these a go tomorrow, stay tuned ;)

    PS: I <3 you.

    PPS: Happy holidays to you and Scott!!!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Brooke! You making these made my holiday, thank you sweet friend! I hope you and Barrett had the best holiday too – adore you guys and I <3 the heck out of you back.

  • Allison December 20, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Hi Jessie, all of these look so wonderful. Do you think a gf all-purpose flour would work in place of the sprouted spelt? I would love to give these a try!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Hi Allison! While I haven’t given it ago myself, I would think so! Hope they turn out just as stellar if you give it a try <3 happy holidays to you too!

  • Bernadette December 24, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Hey Jessie! I made the peanut butter cookies tonight and was wondering what the texture should be – mine turned out super peanut-buttery and dense. I was doubling the recipe so I may have spaced and not added enough baking soda or something…so was curious to know if they should be this thick and intense!

    • Faring Well December 28, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Bernadette! Haha – YES. These are intense. Very thick and peanut-buttery ;). So sorry if that wasn’t quite what you were aiming for – I hope you are able to enjoy them nonetheless! Maybe with a little nut milk dunking to lessen the intense pb flavor for you. Happy belated holidays to you! xx