Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Peanut Power

The first thing that I learned to bake were cookies. Double batches of cookies. Double batches of peanut butter cookies. Double batches of peanut butter cookies for my dad.
I love to bake cookies.
I love to bake cookies for other people. A dozen cookies might be the perfect gift and it might be the way that I get out of my desk/office job. YEP, I could make cookies for everyone. I have found the perfect peanut butter cookie recipe after years of "research." Three batches later and several tasters agree, this might be the best so far.
I of course made my pops a big batch of fresh peanut butter cookies for fathers day - what else does he need - really? They were a hit. I have won over many hearts with the standard "Cronk" recipe, I have tried rolled peanut swirls with a ribbon of peanut butter, or the standard with a chocolate "kiss" on the center of baked cookies, but I have finally landed on a peanut winner.
J can eat peanuts like he was from the south and actually knows that peanuts grow under ground as like us born and raised on raspberries and salmon know that salmon is better bbq'd than in croques..... So he loves his peanut butter cookies just as much as my dad but J prefers them not too sweet - with a good peanut taste. Folks here we go - the cookie to win the hearts of every nut lover.......

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
Makes about 2 doezen cookies
Prep time: 5 minutes

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup extra crunchy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup dry roasted salted peanuts, ground fine in a food processor

1. Preheat oven to 350 degress
2. Whisk the flour, salt, soda, and baking powder together and set aside.
3. Beat the butter and sugars together in a large bowl ( preferably with an electric mixer for 3-6 minutes) until light and fluffy. Beat in the peanut butter until fully incorperated, about a minute. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds.
4. Slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the ground peanuts until incorperated.
5. Working with 3 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets spaced about 2 inches apart. Using a fork, flatten the cookies making a crosshatch design. Bake until the edges are golden and the centers have puffed and are beginning to deflate, about 10-12 minutes.
6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes - eat warm or let cool on wire racks.