Vegan Peanut Butter Wheatgerm Cookies

These cookies are loosely inspired by the peanut butter cookies from the Joy of Cooking because those were my first peanut butter cookies.

1.  Soften a half cup of vegetable shortening (preferably organic), then cream with 1/4-1/2 cup of sucanat (sweeten to taste).  Beat in 1/2 cup agave nectar or maple syrup.  Add in equivalent of one egg of either “egg replacer” or flax seed emulsified with water.  Cream in peanut butter (make sure the peanut butter is organic; creamy works best in this recipe as they are crumbly cookies), a dash of salt, and a 1/2 tsp of baking soda.

2. Mix together 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour.  Then mix the combined flours into the wet ingredients until well combined.

3.  Blend in 1/2 cup of toasted wheat germ (flax seed meal or a combination also would work).

4. Chill the dough for at least 1/2 hour for best results.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet while the dough is chilling.  Shape the dough into walnut sized balls (or make them smaller, but shorten the cooking time).  Make an indentation with your thumb to flatten slightly.  The dough will rise and the thumbprint will disappear during the baking process, leaving a smooth, round pillow of a cookie.

5.  Depending on your cookware and whether you have convection (needs lower temperature) or conventional oven, bake at 335F-375F.  Starting from a cool oven (many baked goods are fine without the oven preheating; to save energy, try to start baking with something that doesn’t mind starting in a cool oven and then baking several items at the same time to take advantage of the already heated oven), bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on whether the oven was hot already, until golden.

6.  THIS IS IMPORTANT:  these cookies crumble very easily when first taken out of the oven.  Leave them to cool for at least 15 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring directly to a plate.

Variations:  any nut or seed butter.  Hemp would be particularly good, as would almond.

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