Peanut Butter (Sugar-Free) Teff Cookies

I’ve had some teff flour lying around (who doesn’t?) so I looked online for some recipes that called for this rather exotic flour. I stumbled upon several peanut butter teff cookie recipes, and I thought – hey, it doesn’t get any better than that. I believe the recipes originate here.

Do you know anything about teff? It’s a very ancient grain used in Ethiopian fermented flatbread called Injera. They basically make an enormous plate of it and place the heavily sauced food on top, and everyone around the table breaks off pieces of the spongy bread and uses it to eat the meat and vegetable dish placed on top.

What interests me most is that teff flour is chock full of minerals, is naturally gluten free and has a decent protein to carbohydrate ratio – not the best, but better even than whole wheat flour.

I’ve been trying to introduce more natural sugar substitutes to bring my triglycerides down to normal levels. In order to not alienate the purists, I’ve included an optional naturally-sugared version.

The best I’ve found in terms of sugar substitutes is Xylitol (even if the name makes it sound really chemical). Stevia is too bitter, agave syrup is really just a simple sugar with glucose and fructose, and Splenda (not available here) doesn’t have the same consistency as granulated sugar and therefore its baked desserts don’t turn out as well.

Xylitol is far from perfect if you read about its side effects, but it’s made from the fiber of various foods and birch trees, which seems like it can’t be all that bad. All in all, I think sugar poses a greater risk to certain people than false sugars because of insulin resistance, and I think I am one of them. I guess it all depends on your physiological makeup.

But these cookies tasted great and work well with the substitution. For those of you who shun sugar substitutes, the original recipe states that a half cup of maple syrup works really well in place of the xylitol.

Preheat the oven to 350°F then take an egg and add ¾ cup of xylitol (or syrup)

Add vanilla, baking powder and baking soda and salt

and finally a half cup of oil.  Mix it all up.

Take a cup of peanut butter

and a cup and a half of teff flour.

Blend thoroughly once again.

Don’t worry about how dark the dough is – think “healthy!” “whole grain!”  Then get ready to form your balls of dough. When you’ve placed them all on the baking sheet, 12 to a sheet, you’ll want to hold the sides and press a fork down lightly in an effort to flatten them, first one way

then another in a criss-cross pattern.

Pop them in the oven for 8 minutes (I turn the tray after 5 minutes to heat more evenly) and they’re good to go.

Since there is no gluten to make it all stick together, I don’t even bother to remove them from the tray for at least 10 minutes. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

But when they’re cooled they hold together beautifully

and taste great.

(You may need a spoon for the ones eaten right out of the oven – once you’ve refrigerated the rest, they can be eaten out of hand like any normal gluten cookie).  

And if you fear you’re not skilled enough to bake with exotic flours, you just need to teffen up a bit.  Anyone can do it!

Peanut Butter Teff Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These are gluten-free, sugar-free, lower carb cookies.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 10
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup xylitol or ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1½ cups teff flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C.
  2. Put the egg and xylitol in a bowl.
  3. Add the vanilla, salt, baking powder and soda.
  4. Add the oil.
  5. Mix together.
  6. Add the peanut butter and teff flour.
  7. Mix again.
  8. Form balls, 12 to a tray.
  9. Press a fork down to flatten the balls in a criss-cross pattern.
  10. Bake for 8 minutes per tray (turning the tray halfway through the baking time).
  11. Let them cool before removing from tray.
  12. Refrigerate the cookies that you don't eat right away.


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I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in Desserts, Food, La Cuisine (The Kitchen), Tout le Reste (Everything else)
25 comments on “Peanut Butter (Sugar-Free) Teff Cookies
  1. Oh my goodness these look fabulous!

  2. Lia says:

    Yum! I can’t wait to try these (I’m sure I can find teff flour around here– one benefit of living in a metropolitan area)!

  3. Brittany says:

    I love all things peanut butter. YUM!

  4. Galit Breen says:

    Love this, lady! I’ve had teff before and for whatever reason I so adored reading your description of the slow eating process done with it.

    i’m so glad that the cookies were good – they look wonderful!

    • ladyjennie says:

      Have you ever written about all your travels Galit? I’m a relatively new reader. That’s probably why you liked the description of eating Ethiopian food – you’re a child of the world. 😉

  5. I don’t think I can get teff flour in Malaysia, such a shame, because these cookies look yum!

    • ladyjennie says:

      I’m sure you can’t yet. But I’m curious if Malaysia has gotten health food stores yet – Western style? It’s bound to happen as Kuala Lumpur gets more cosmopolitan (forgive me for saying that, but when I was there, it was leagues behind other Asian cities). And on a bright note, you get tons of tasty things that are hard to find here.

  6. ayala says:

    Yum :) I hope you feel better :)

  7. Teff flour. Who knew? I love finding new, natural foods. Thanks, Jennie!

  8. You are delicious.

    No substitutes required.

  9. Emily says:

    I’ve never cooked with teff before, but I’ve been trying to cut out gluten lately, so I’m curious to try it. Your cookies look (and sound) delicious!

    • ladyjennie says:

      Hi Emily,

      I can’t eat gluten so all of my recipes are gluten free, although sometimes I just use a store-bought gluten free mix. It took me so long to be really strict about gluten and it finally came down to being prepared (and surrendering the croissants).

  10. mamamzungu says:

    Teff flour! Who knew it could be used for more than injera? And that it was so nutritious too! I’m teff-initely going to try and find some (I know, groan! I”m just getting back at you for the “teffen up a bit” comment. ; ) )

  11. the advisor says:

    Hey Lady. I just told my Ethiopian husband who was amazed that cookies are being made with Teff. I’ll have to bake him some. Thanks for the recipe! It looks great.

  12. Carole says:

    Have never heard of the stuff! Just tried quinoa for the first time, so may as well give this a try. Those cookies look so good.

  13. sue says:

    have you read “cutting for stone” by abraham varghese an indian dr born in ethiopia? he mentions ethiopian food alot and teff reminds me of it. also, you mentioned an airport on a post that I think was in the book. why couldn’t whole foods been around when you lived here? it’s actually hard to find non gluten free foods!

    • ladyjennie says:

      Hey Sue, no I haven’t read that author. You know, whole foods was there when I was in NY. It was so much easier for me to eat gluten free there than here. Everything so readily available and it all tasted better. I have to make everything myself here.

  14. emiglia says:

    Where did you find teff flour in Paris??? I’ve been wandering around for a week trying to find it, but I can’t get it anywhere.

I'm Jennie. Welcome to A Lady in France! I write books, and also this blog on faith, French culture and recipes ... ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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