Sunday, March 07, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

I have totally outdone myself. Always on the lookout for interesting recipes and taking great pride in finding them in the most unlikely places, I found a delicious recipe for peanut butter cookies on a blog written by a poet on Got that? Blog? Poet? Writing site? Nothing to do with cooking except that poets cook too and apparently blog about it.

I used to make peanut butter cookies. This recipe intrigued me because it is made with creamy peanut butter whereas I had always used chunky peanut butter because that is what I had in the house. And it uses shortening instead of the butter I was accustomed to using. The big question was whether or not these cookies would be as rich and peanut-y as the cookies I used to make.

I’m not sure if it is appropriate to discuss why I stopped eating peanut butter and making peanut butter cookies. Being an omnivore and an omnivorous reader, I came across an article many years ago that talked about the amount of rodent droppings and insect pieces that were allowed in the manufacture of peanut butter. After reading that, I was rendered incapable of consuming peanut butter.

I decided that I would attempt to put aside my aversion to peanut butter and try out this recipe. The recipe is originally from the Crisco site. Although it calls specifically for Jiff, the blogger assures us that we can use any brand that we want. She uses a store brand. I bought Jiff because it was on sale. She does insist that only Crisco brand shortening and Gold Medal Flour be used but that’s not a problem for me. I use both. I will share her directions exactly as she wrote them because they are, like her, delightful.

I did make one critical error. I had a bag of Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits in my freezer that were just crying out to be used. I was wavering between the peanut butter cookies and whatever cookie recipe was on the Heath bits envelope when I discovered that the recipe was in fact, a peanut butter cookie recipe that was nearly identical to this recipe. Problem solved! Or so I thought. Turns out that the Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits added nothing to the cookies.

My initial question was answered in the affirmative. Not only were these cookies as rich and peanut-y as the recipe I used to make, but because they are made with creamy peanut butter, they taste a lot like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. But without the chocolate. So you know what I’m going to do next time I make them, right? Add milk chocolate chips to them, of course.

Verdict: Needs a do-over

Peanut Butter Cookies

¾ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup shortening
1 ¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1 ¾ cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda

Heat oven to 375°F.

Combine peanut butter, shortening, light brown sugar, milk and vanilla in mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until blended. Add egg. Beat just until blended.

Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended.

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased Air-Bake cookie sheet. Flatten slightly in crisscross pattern with tines of fork.

Bake one baking sheet at a time at 375°F. Set timer for 7-8 minutes. Bake until set and just beginning to brown. Underdone is better than overdone – experiment on the timing to get them the way you like them.

Prepare second cookie sheet to have ready to put in oven when you take the first one out.

Cool first batch two minutes on baking sheet.

While cookies are cooling, put second batch in oven. Set timer.

Place sheets of foil on counter top or table. Remove cookies with pancake turner to foil to cool completely. Keep a paper towel handy to clean off pancake turner when it gets cookie “residue” on it. You need a good clean turner to move the cookies without messing them up.

Rinse off cookie sheet in cool water and dry before putting next batch of cookie dough on it. (This is her tip, not Crisco’s instruction. She says that it gives each batch of cookies the same starting point – clean, cool cookie sheet.)

Prepare cookie sheet to have it ready to put in oven when you take out the second batch.

Eat some of the first cookies. You have to test them to know if they are done to perfection or if you need to adjust the time.

Repeat steps the above steps until all cookies are baked.

Recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies of which you will have eaten at least one per baking cycle, so you will be a few short up final count. Cookies go wonderfully with a freshly brewed cup of Folgers French Roast Coffee – no additives like sweetener or creamer, natural or artificial – drink it stout and black.

To make Heath Bits Peanut Butter Cookies, reduce flour to 1 ½ cups and add 1 cup toffee bits. Use remaining 1/3 cup toffee bits (from 8-oz pkg) for topping, sprinkling on each cookie before putting in oven.

Recycle: peanut butter jar, milk jug, vanilla bottle

Compost: egg shell

No comments: