Monday, June 11, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies - made June 10, 2012, recipe adapted from Doughmakers Cookbook
1 plain, 1 super peanut-ized
Tomorrow, June 12, is National Peanut Butter Cookie Day.  Seriously, who thinks up these commemorative days?  And how clever are they??  Although peanut butter cookies aren't the first thing I'd eat after days of being stuck in a no-sugar zone (or something equally horrifying), I did want to give it proper homage on its day.  I had to fight the instinct to add chocolate - I have this recipe for a thumbprint cookie that has a chocolate peanut butter filling in the center.  Plus, did you know they actually make chocolate peanut butter?  Or I wanted to at least add some chocolate chips to the peanut butter cookie.  But no, it's not Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Day.  So I held fast and went with a purist version.  Just peanut butter.

I did substitute butter for shortening for this recipe though.  Although I know shortening would prevent spread, I prefer the taste and texture of butter.  So I decided to chance it.  It was hot the day I made the dough so my butter got a bit soft which meant the resulting dough was soft.  I had to chill the bowl of dough first before I scooped it into dough balls then I had to freeze the dough balls for at least an hour before I flattened each with the pointy side of a meat mallet to get the indentations I wanted rather than the traditional criss cross.  I got the idea from my culinary school classmate, Annie, who has a successful cookie business and is a peanut butter cookie fiend in her own right.  For anyone in Napa Valley, look up Annie the Baker cookies and try some - you won't be sorry (she also takes mail orders).

For the indents, just dip the mallet in granulated sugar, press down on the dough ball, lather, rinse and repeat for all the dough balls.  Don't freeze the dough balls for too long or you'll have a hard time pressing down with the mallet.  You can freeze the cookies further after you've imprinted on them.
The unbaked version with the mallet indentations
My backup plan in case the cookies spread too much and didn't hold the indentations was to drizzle a peanut butter icing and sprinkle chopped peanuts on top for garnish.  Then claim, "I meant for them to turn out that way." Turns out they spread a bit but still kept the indentations somewhat so I only garnished half of them.  7 minutes wasn't very long in the oven and they still looked a little wet in the middle so I baked them an extra minute or two.  They turned out peanut butter-fudgy which is the consistency I like in my peanut butter cookies so I'm glad I went with the butter instead of the shortening.  They are a bit more fragile this way though so I wouldn't advise these in care packages that you have to mail.  But overall, thumbs up....even without any chocolate add-ins.
The baked version

¾ cup peanut butter
½ cup solid vegetable shortening (I used 1/2 cup unsalted butter)
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 ¾ cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda

Garnish (optional)
4 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, just enough for a drizzling consistency
chopped toasted peanuts
1.      Combine the peanut butter, shortening, sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat until well blended.  Add the egg and mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix until just blended.  If dough is too soft to scoop into balls, chill for an hour first.
2.     Roll the dough into 1- to 2-inch balls.  Place in freezer for no more than an hour.  Dip the pointy side of a meat mallet in granulated sugar and press into each ball, taking care to flatten only enough to get the indentations but not making the cookies too thin.  Freeze for several more hours.
3.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
4.    Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until lightly browned, and cool on a wire rack.
5.  For the optional garnish, melt the peanut butter for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Add powdered sugar then just enough heavy cream to thin.  Blend thoroughly until smooth.  Spoon into ziploc bag, cut a small hole in one corner and pipe onto the cookies.  Sprinkle with chopped toasted peanuts. 

Also posted on Trick or Treat Tuesday

1 comment:

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