Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies with Nutella

Peanut Butter Cookies with Nutella - made February 19, 2012 , recipe adapted from Milk & Cookies by Tina Casaceli

Both my nieces were visiting last weekend which was a rare treat since one of them goes to school further away and we don't get to see her as often.  Being the doting aunt, I asked her what she wanted me to make for her visit and to bring back to school for her friends.  One of her requests was for peanut butter cookies.  So I made this cookie using the "base" peanut butter cookie recipe from Milk & Cookies.  I also added my own twist by dropping small dollops of nutella into the cookie dough as I was scooping it into dough balls.

The taste of the cookie itself was pretty good.  I was a bit concerned when I was making it though because it called for an awful lot of butter.  I bake with butter all the time and rarely blink at how much I use but 1 1/2 cups seemed like too much for a normal batch of cookie dough and I even wondered if it was a typo.  But I soldiered on and stuck to the original recipe just to try it.  The dough came out pretty soft and sticky so that told me this would likely spread, even if frozen first and even baked on the convection setting.  I was right.  The cookies were also pretty fragile, definitely not good candidates for a care package so I'm glad my nieces were here in person to eat them.  I had to pack them carefully for their respective trips home.  If you try this recipe, you might want to cut the butter down to 1 cup and see how that works.  I advocate doing the nutella dollops too as that turned out pretty well.

1 ½ cups (6 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (7 ounces) light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup (8 ounces) smooth peanut butter
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
2. Put the butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle. Begin beating on low speed. Add the brown sugar, increase the speed to medium, and beat for about 4 minutes or until light and creamy. Add the peanut butter and beat to incorporate; then, beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
3. With the motor running, gradually add the flour mixture, beating just to blend. While the dough is still streaky, remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the paddle clean.
4. Lightly flour a clean, flat work surface.
5. Scrape the dough onto the floured surface. Lightly flour your hands and finish mixing the dough by using a gentle kneading motion, working until the dough is just blended. Do not overwork the dough, you want to be certain that all of the ingredients are just blended together.
6. Scoop the dough into dough balls and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for at least an hour.
7. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325°F.
8. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
9. Remove the dough balls from the refrigerator and unwrap.
10. Place the balls, about 2 inches apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Using your palm, gently flatten the top of each cookie slightly. If you want to make the traditional cross hatches of a peanut butter cookie, press the surface with the tines of a fork.
11. Bake cookies for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
12. Remove from the oven, let sit on cookie sheets for 1 minute then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Store airtight, at room temperature, for up to a week.

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