Flourless Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies

I’m going to put it all the way upfront, because if you find out at the bottom, you might get twitchy and suspicious. There are lentils in these cookies. Yes, lentils. No flour, just lentils and some ground oats – not that you’d know it from the ‘snickers really satisfies’ taste that comes from muddling peanuts with honey. So if all you want is a chewy, hunger-slaying snack without any refined sugar and a good hit of smuggled protein, skip to the recipe at the bottom. If you’re after something more, read on.

Why are there lentils in these cookies? Because my baby has been good for many things; my sense of perspective, knowledge of  Peppa Pig’s extended family and ability to break and scramble eggs one handed to name a few. But he is bad for my brand.

Case in point. Every Wednesday morning Will and I go to a toddler music class together. We sing and dance around (his dancing more closely resembles a peg legged Irish jig in clockwise circles). The small folk lie underneath a parachute that billows and falls with cascading primary colours and stare up, transfixed. I’m the lady who struggles to get her overly enthusiastic child to sit during story time and who smiles a lot at the sight of tiny people expressing themselves with wanton glee. And then there is morning tea. It’s set out on knee high chairs and tables. The parents stand around and drink coffee and discuss sleeping woes, or the fact that the local growers market is closing down. And then, without fail, my child turns into a beast. The sight of packet biscuits turns him into a crazed tyrant. Two in each fist is not sufficient. If his jaw could unhinge, it would. We shall never speak of what happened during the week that Tiny Teddies were served. 

He does not live a cloistered life of extremism. We don’t talk of food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or operate in binaries of denial or reward.  He knows what cake is. He eats a cookie (homemade, but still) practically everyday. He eats bread (largely organic spelt sourdough) and pasta. But if he had his way at two, his diet would consist of the following; packet biscuits, salmon sashimi,  peanut butter toast, pinwheel sandwiches, the occasional scrambled egg, pesto, bananas (but ONLY if he can break it off himself), avocado- preferably inside sushi, with the nori removed, steamed pork buns, pork ribs stolen from his father’s plate, the good muffins from Cruise Espresso, frozen blueberries and semi hard goat or sheep cheese. Yes, I’m deathly serious. That’s it. It does my head in. 

Here are some things he will not eat; broccoli, carrots, courgette, peppers, peas, mushroom, eggplant, tomato, kale, spinach, corn, sweet potato, chicken, beef, sardines, tuna, bolognaise or any kind of bean. Including pulses. He will not even deign to pick up any of these offending items.

He will no longer touch the chickpea flour crepes I make him. He will not eat the quinoa patties. He will not be tempted by the home made felafel, or lentil meatballs that he once happily held in his pudgy fist. I’d have a better chance of having a hearty stew, braise or soup hold up wallpaper than make it into his stomach.

I can’t tell you how inwardly rankled I was a few months ago when I read a well meaning quote from Curtis Stone asserting that picky eaters were the fault of their parents. ‘Your kid is going to embrace whatever you expose them to, right, that’s just a fact of life,’ he says.  ‘People tell you, “no, no my kid likes this or my kid likes that”. My opinion is; that’s just not accurate.’

I wonder how many Tuesday night dinners, week after week Curtis really does with defiant small fry.  Yes, I involve my offspring in the shopping and the cooking. No, I don’t offer endless alternatives. Dinner is dinner. But help me, the child has my stubborn genetic material and I still haven’t apologised sufficiently to my parents for the fact that until I was 14 I would only eat things that were white.

And so, I’ve resorted to smuggling. I’m blitzing pulses into hummus for spreading on pinwheel wraps. I’m spinning kale into pesto. And I’m hiding lentils in cookies.

These cookies take their lead from the prized sandwich filling in my house growing up. It’s also the favoured flavour combination of famed Sydney pastry chef Jane Strode, who deploys it in a peanut butter and honey tart.

The sweetness of the honey is tempered both by the peanuts and the subtle bitterness of rolled quinoa. The lentils dissolve into nothing but texture, providing a sturdy chew and homestyle heft.  I’m proud to say that this is a cookie that he happily eats and doesn’t lead to socially awkward tantrums- because after one, he’s so full, he can’t stomach any more.

These are an excellent accompaniment to a flat white and a babycino at 10 am. They are also sound sandwiching some vanilla ice cream, or chocolate ganache. Or shoveled into your mouth with a side of desperation and wine after you’ve just put the child to bed and you’re cleaning everything else he refused to consume up off the floor.

Flourless Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies

makes 12-15 cookies


P11604691 cup/ 100 g rolled oats
1 x 400 g tin of brown lentils, drained
1/2 cup/ 50 g rolled quinoa
2 tbsp ground flax
1/2 cup/ 150 g natural peanut butter (can also replace with other nut butters)
1/2 cup/ 140 g runny honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder

Here’s how we roll

1) Preheat the oven to 160C/320 F and line one or two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

2) Blend the oats in a food processor until they are a fine grain.

3) Add the lentils and blend to combine.

4) Add the remaining ingredients and blend to combine.

5) Use an ice cream scoop or tablespoon to portion out your cookies. Use the back of a fork to press the tops down to flatten. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until brown and firm to touch.

6) Cool on the baking parchment for 5-10 minutes. They will keep in tupperware in the fridge for a week. They also freeze well.

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