January 26, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Robin, 20 Sept 2011, ‘Announcement’

¼ c soft butter. I did once make these with all peanut butter and mysteriously it wasn’t as successful. The straight butter brings out the peanut flavour somehow—as well as producing a better crumb—or again it may have been that particular jar/batch of peanut butter. Peanut butter isn’t as variable as honey, but it’s surprisingly variable nonetheless, especially, I suspect, if you decant it from giant vats at your health food shop, which I used to do, when I had a health food shop with giant peanut-butter vats. The original recipe called for equal amounts of butter and peanut butter, however, which I don’t approve of either. This is about the peanut butter. Well, and the chocolate.**

½ c chunky peanut butter. This may need adjusting depending on how squidgy your peanut butter is. But stand by to add more flour if the dough is very soft and goopy.***

1 c well tamped down dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract (NOT FLAVOURING. That hellgoddess obsession: use REAL VANILLA.)

2 c flour. I recommend half standard white and half spelt. They make white spelt now, if you can get hold of it. When I was still making these you could only get wholemeal spelt, and you could push up the percentage to about ¾ spelt, but you need a little plain white to lighten the texture. I’d try it with wholemeal and white spelt. The spelt flavour goes really well with the peanut butter.

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 c chopped dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips

I’ve been known to add ½c chopped hazelnuts. No, not peanuts. Hazelnuts are more interesting, and to my taste they go with peanut butter better than most of the other standard nuts—almonds, walnuts, cashews. I bet Macadamias would be good too.

Cream butter and peanut butter together thoroughly, then brown sugar. Then beat in egg, finally vanilla. Beat AND BEAT till fluffy. Mix the baking powder and soda into the flour(s), stir till all the same colour, then add to the creamed stuff. Beat till blended but no more. Stir in chocolate chips last.

Drop on greased or parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets. 350°F, probably about 12 minutes, till they’re just going brown around the edges. They’ll be fragile when they come out, so leave them alone till they’re at least half cool. This is why I use parchment paper: you can just pull it, cookies still in place, off the sheets. Of course then you run out of counter space†, but hey.

Less (Almost) Instant Chocolate Gratification, But Still Pretty Fast

Robin, 21 Jan 2012, ‘Death-deflecting Chocolate’

10 oz dark chocolate

6 T butter

1 egg

½ tsp vanilla

1 c granulated sugar

1 ¼ c plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

Reserve about 2T of the sugar.

Melt chocolate and butter together and cool. Beat the egg, then beat in the sugar till light and pale. Add the chocolate mixture when it’s cool enough not to cook the egg** and the vanilla. Then add the flour. If it gets too stiff to stir easily, knead the rest in.

Break off bits of the dough and roll cookies into big round pebbles the size of walnuts. (I do this between my palms. Some people prefer a table.) Roll in the reserved sugar. Then space out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I squish them very lightly with a finger so they don’t roll around. They will not be pretty if they turn themselves from free electrons into molecule clumps. Ahem. You can get the lot on a single baking sheet, but use all the space, they do spread.

400° for 8-10 minutes. They crack all over.

They don’t take nearly as long to cool as the refrigerator bars do to set.