Monday, May 17, 2010

Nuts to You

I have been on a cookie baking binge- trying to get away from my go-to recipes that I make all the time.  I have never made peanut butter cookies since my son is allergic to peanuts, and I didn’t want to have them around the house. Now he is away at college, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity.  These cookies are simple to make and delicious. I made a few changes- made about one quarter of them the classic peanut butter cookie, and then to the rest of the dough, I added chocolate chips. Either way these cookies have a real peanut taste and are soft and slightly chewy.  They are large cookies, as called for in the recipe, but they could easily be made in a smaller, more typical size. 

Peanut Butter Cookies from the Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson

3 cups (15 ounces) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (2 teaspoons if you use unsalted peanut butter)
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 cup (7 ounces) light brown sugar, packed down
1 cup (9.5 ounces) peanut butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Measure the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture is lighter in color and fluffy. It will get noticeably lighter the longer you beat it.  Add the peanut butter and cream for another minute, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl several times in the process.  While the mixer is running, crack the eggs into a measuring cup and add the vanilla. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour in the eggs, letting them fall in one at a time and incorporating the first egg completely before adding the next.  Gradually add the dry ingredients in two to three additions with the mixer on low speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to fully incorporate the butter and sugar.  If you are adding chocolate chips, mix them in with a spatula.

Scoop the dough into 1.5 ounce balls and arrange on the prepared pans, 6 per pan.  Lightly dust with granulated sugar before pressing with a fork to make a crisscross pattern. Press cookies into ½ inch thick disks.  Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.  The tops of the fork marks and the edges of the cookies should be brown and crisp and the middle should be soft. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. ((susan))

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