Traditional peanut oatmeal cookies call for brown sugar, which adds a rich molasses flavor. Brown sugar is also moister than granulated white sugar, so its addition helps prevent the cookies from drying out. Choose an alternative sweetener that will help the cookies stay moist and offer the same rich flavor as brown sugar. Take into account the different qualities of these sweeteners when incorporating them into your recipe.
Certain sugars can stand in for brown sugar in peanut oatmeal cookies, but the recipe will often need some adjustments.
Maple syrup adds much of the same rich sweetness of brown sugar and adds moisture, but sometimes too much. To replace a cup of brown sugar in a peanut oatmeal cookie recipe, use 3/4 cup for every cup of brown sugar. Also reduce the amount of liquid in the cookie recipe by about 3 tablespoons for every cup of syrup you use.
Honey is a natural alternative to brown sugar, but its acidic quality requires you to add an additional pinch of baking soda to the recipe to get the cookies to puff up adequately. Honey will also cause the cookies to brown sooner, so you may need to shorten the cooking time a bit. For every cup of brown sugar required, use 7/8 cup of honey, or 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons, and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons.
Agave nectar is a natural substitute for brown sugar. It keeps the cookies moist while adding nuanced sweet flavors. This version is based on a recipe developed by Lisa Waddle of Fine Cooking magazine.