Monday, December 23, 2013

Cookie Magic

I'm not an avid cookie baker. While I like cookies as much as the next gal, I find making them is somewhat tedious, sheet after sheet after sheet. I really only do it around Christmas time, when a mixed plate of cookies makes a nice little holiday gift for our friendly neighbors, and our smiling, sweet mail carrier who gives Cora a pat when he sees her, and the UPS man who has to back his gigantic truck down our narrow alley nearly every week and never complains. 

Come Christmas season, I go on a cookie baking binge, making four or five different kinds in a day - and swearing never to look at a cookie sheet again until next Christmas!

This year, I stumbled upon an intriguing recipe for peanut butter cookies with chunks of chocolate in them. Certainly, that's not unusual - the part that I found surprising was that they contain neither flour nor butter.  I thought my grandchildren's mother might really like a cookie like that, as she is very careful about limiting their sweets and offering healthy alternatives. What's not to like about a cookie that is mainly made up of natural peanut butter and honey?

They only have six ingredients and the method didn't seem complicated, so I went to the store for "hippie peanut butter" and got out my KitchenAid mixer.

I had to stir the separated oil back into the peanut butter (the hippie kind separates in the jar), and I must admit that the amount of the oil was somewhat unappetizing. Once stirred, it poured like thick syrup.  Hmm?

I had to nuke my jar of honey as it had crystallized - we don't use a lot of honey - but, warmed, it poured easily, too. 

With those two, the eggs and the vanilla in the bowl, the only dry ingredient was the baking soda. 

This is where the magic comes in: I can't tell you how what are almost entirely liquid ingredients somehow transform into cookie dough. I turned on the mixer and stepped away to rinse the measuring cups and - lo! and behold! - when I came back, it was thick cookie dough. Abracadabra!

Rolling the cookie dough into balls was another leap of faith - I nearly gave up at that point, as the peanut oil literally leaks out of the cookies as you roll the dough between your hands to make balls. I used a small sorbet scoop to get approximately 2" rounds, dropped those onto a cookie sheet (no need to grease the sheets, that's for sure! Eek!), then picked up each drop and rolled it into a ball. By this time, I had grave doubts and oily hands.

Still, once I had invested time and chocolate, I was determined to see it through. Into the oven for the required time and, once again, magic!  The extra oil evaporated in the oven, the chocolate melted perfectly, the bottoms browned, and the cookies stayed chewy, as advertised. If I hadn't wiped the excess oil off my hands twice, I wouldn't have believed it.

And they were good. Warm from the oven, they tasted mainly of the chocolate but, as they cooled, the peanut butter and honey asserted themselves. The texture is chewy with lightly crisp bottoms. Will they replace buttery cookies in my pantheon of Best Cookies Ever? Well, maybe not, but they are certainly cookie magic.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies by Monique Volz of Ambitious Kitchen blog

Recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes approx. 20 cookies 

You'll need:
1 1/2 cups all-natural creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs at room temperature
½ tsp. baking soda
3.5 oz. of your favorite chocolate bar, coarsely chopped

What to do: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, honey, vanilla, eggs and baking soda until smooth and well combined. Gently fold in chopped chocolate.

Roll cookies into 2-inch dough balls and place onto cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Then BARELY flatten the top of each cookie with your hand. The dough will be sticky, so if you find this method difficult, simply use a cookie scoop to drop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet. The cookies may not be as round in shape and perhaps a bit thicker, but that’s okay—they will still be delicious!

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes and remove when edges barely begin to turn a golden brown. The cookies may look a little underdone, but they will continue to cook once you remove them from the oven. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes; then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. 

*The only thing I'd add to this is that I used chocolate chips (didn't have a chocolate bar on hand) and they worked fine. Also, mine must have been slightly smaller, as I got 30 instead of 20.


Blogger Namastenancy said...

There must be something about the season - I am making my annual pastries using filo dough. I make savory (feta cheese/spinach) and sweet (mincemeat or apple). I use the store bought dough and enjoy the process (not the clean up part). But the pastries last about 5 minutes after I pass them around which I think is a testament to sharing for the season. Your cookies sound delicious and I have saved the recipe for a future baking binge.

Monday, December 23, 2013  
Blogger Hungry Dog said...

What an odd recipe indeed! But sounds like they were a success. I can never have too many cookie recipes. I love to make them and give them away all year round.

Monday, December 23, 2013  
Blogger Kailyn said...

Used to make these all the time back in my Camp Fire days. My mom couldn't believe there was no flour but agreed that they were delicious.

Monday, December 23, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, Merry Christmas, kiddo! Your pastries sound delicious and the fact that they disappear immediately is not testament to the season, it's testament to your prowess! :-)

Hungry Dog, I used to give the extras to the students at my colleges - they loved them and we didn't have to finish the whole batch! Now that I'm retired, mostly it's my neighbors who benefit. Cookies are the universally welcome gift!

Kailyn, no kidding? Seems there is nothing new in the world. I like them but I have to admit I don't LOVE them. Next time, I'm going to add a little flaky salt to the tops - I think that would be a big improvement.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013  
Blogger Greg said...

Cookie!! Nom nom nom

Tuesday, December 24, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

I have an idea that your nickname is " Cookie Monster." Am I right?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Oops, that last comment was for Greg.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home