Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Peanut Butter Madness, part DEUX!

Here are the DELICIOUS peanut butter cookies I alluded to in an earlier post.

A little background on me. Around here, with the family, I am known as the cookie queen. I'm CONSTANTLY baking cookies, even in my terrible, old oven I like to pretend never existed. I'm known to start baking and freezing Christmas cookies in November, and for making 100's of batches for family parties. So, I don't think it would be too immodest to say that I am pretty qualified to judge a cookie recipe. In case you want some proof, here is a picture from one of my cookie trays last Christmas:


I happen to love almost ALL cookies. Except oatmeal cookies. Because seriously, the LAST thing I want in my cookie is oatmeal. I mean, really who thought it was a good idea to bastardize something so delicious as a cookie with something so disgusting as oatmeal?!?! Of course, my father-in-law disagrees, as oatmeal raisins are his absolute FAVORITE cookie, and I have been known to indulge him by making some from time to time. Of course, I can't vouch for the taste, because chances of me trying one are pretty much nil.

Anyway, other than oatmeal cookies, I would have to say that peanut butter cookies used to be pretty far down my list of great cookies. I didn't hate them, but I didn't love them either, though I made them often, because they are my Mom's favorite. Let me tell you this, after making this recipe, peanut butter cookies have SKYROCKETED to the top of my favorite cookie list. I mean, these cookies are so good, you could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Oh, and dessert, too. Can't forget dessert. They are without a doubt the best cookies I have ever made, or eaten, in my life. Of ANY kind. They are fluffy, and chewy, and almost melt in your mouth, without being gooey (I'm not a fan of gooey cookies). And the peanut butter/semi-sweet chips inside just elevate them to a whole different level.

An important note about these cookies, the taller you make them, the better. I used a pampered chef cookie scoop, and my secret helper (the husband) rolled them in sugar, and pressed them with a fork for me. The ones that we BARELY pressed with the fork, and left almost golf-ball shaped were the BEST texture, as opposed to the ones we flattened. I would say the cookie scoop is pretty important in these cookies, or if you don't have one, get ready to get your hands dirty (your best tool in the kitchen, according to my hero, Paula Deen!), and roll them into golf-ball sized cookies, instead of just using two teaspoons.


Unfortunately, I was in a hurry while making these, and didn't snap any of the dough, or sugar rolling, but if you go to the link below, to the smittenkitchen site, there will be PLENTY of those for you, and much better photo quality too!

Here they are, as Shelby does her work!


And cooling, on the counter. Here, you can see the difference in heights. The taller cookies, that weren't significantly pressed were SO much better.


I also want to point out what a HUGE difference rolling the entire cookie in sugar before baking made. I always sprinkled my PB cookies with sugar before baking, but never knew why, or really noticed when they were done. With these cookies, you roll the entire cookie in sugar before baking, and it really makes a MAJOR difference (which of us can't use a little more sugar in our lives?). It lends a contrast in textures, and an instant "melt-in-your mouth" sweetness that just can't be beat.

LIFE CHANGING Peanut-Butter Cookies
a la Smitten Kitchen
Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (smooth is what we used, but I am pretty sure they use chunky at the bakery)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern (I used the back of a small offset spatula to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

*Important notes:
1) I used SMOOTH peanut butter, as I, personally, think that chunky peanut butter is from the devil. It looks all silky and smooth, and then you are unpleasantly surprised by these miserable chunks of nuts. ALMOST as bad as biting into a beautiful brownie, and finding it's full of nuts. Sins of the highest level, in my book.

2) Do NOT use a spatula to flatten these cookies. Another of the 7 deadly sins, according to Kelley. Peanut butter cookies are supposed to have a beautiful cross-hatching pattern on top. That's what makes them peanut butter cookies. That's how it's always been done, and how it should always stay. There's something so homey, and old fashioned about it, and you know how I feel about all things homey, and old fashioned!

Original recipe/blog post/beautiful photos found at:

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