Saturday, June 26, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - made June 20, 2010 from Monster Cookies by Helen Witty

I'm cleaning out my cupboards (and drawers) of ingredients in preparation for my upcoming move so I'm intent on using up my ingredients. Hence you may be seeing a lot of recipes involving peanut butter, oatmeal and/or chocolate chips.

This one is from a cookbook my cousin Bernadette gave me years ago for its chocolate chip cookie recipe. I tried this peanut butter recipe for the first time and got good results. It's a nice, basic peanut butter cookie recipe. I don't know that it's a real standout amongst all my other peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipes but it's pretty good. If you underbake it, it's very soft and moist. If you bake it just right, the edges are a bit crisp and the middles are more cakey. I like to underbake it even though it makes for a more fragile cookie. I had a bag of combined peanut butter and milk chocolate chips so that's what I used. It worked pretty well. I didn't have any orange juice on hand so I made these with water but someday I'd like to try the orange juice version and see what the difference is.

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup chunk-style peanut butter
½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons orange juice or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 to 1 ½ cups (6 to 9 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F, with an oven rack in the center position. Lightly grease one or two baking sheets if making small cookies. For the larger sizes, cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease it lightly. (You’ll need extra sheets of lightly greased foil for subsequent batches.)
2. In a mixing bowl (using a wooden spoon) or in the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the peanut butter until the mixture is soft. Beat in the brown sugar, then the granulated sugar, beating after each addition until the mixture is light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the orange juice or water and vanilla.
3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, then stir in the chocolate pieces.
4. To make 9-inch maximonsters: Divide the dough into four equal portions. Using a 7-inch pot lid or round baking pan as a pattern, mark with a fingertip a circle onto the greased surface of each foil-covered baking sheet. (If you have only one baking sheet, form the dough for subsequent cookies on sheets of greased foil, then slip each in turn onto the cooled sheet after baking.) Heap each portion in the center of the ring marked on the foil. With your hand or a rubber spatula, pat the dough for each cookie out into a neat circle inside the marking. Bake the cookies one at a time. If you want to bake fewer than four maximonsters, measure out 1 cup of dough for each one (shaping them as above) and form smaller cookies out of the rest (steps 5 and 6). Bake each maximonster in the preheated oven for about 15 to 16 minutes, or until it is golden brown and the center is just firm. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes, then slide the foil, with the cookie, onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. To make 6-inch monsters: Measure the dough for each cookie in a 1/3 cup measure, with the top leveled. Place three portions of dough on each foil-covered baking sheet, spacing the cookies well apart. Flatten each mound just under a 4-inch diameter with your hand or a rubber spatula. Bake for about 14 minutes or until done as described for maximonsters in step 4. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes, then slide the foil, with the cookies, onto a wire rack to cool completely.
6. To make 2 ½” cookies: drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the greased baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart, and flatten the mounds slightly with your hand or a rubber spatula. Bake the cookies for about 14 minutes, or until done as described for maximonsters in step 4. Cool the cookies on the sheet briefly, then lift them with a spatula onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. When the cookies have cooled, wrap or bag them, or place them in a tightly covered container, and store at room temperature for a few days. Refrigerate or freeze them for longer storage.

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