Thursday, September 01, 2005

Peanut Butter (Chocolate Chip) Cookies

Source: Cook's Illustrated's The New Best Recipe

These cookies have a strong peanut flavor that comes from extra-crunchy peanut butter (in our taste test, we preferred Jif) as well as from salted roasted peanuts that are ground in a food processor and worked into the dough.

2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cold
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter (I used creamy)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla (I used 1 teaspoon)
1 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts, ground in a food processor to resemble bread crumbs, about 14 pulses
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips, optional

1. Adjust the ovens racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350ยบ. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes with an electric mixer, stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary. Beat in the peanut butter until fully incorporated, then the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the peanut mixture. Add the ground peanuts (and chocolate chips, if desired) and stir gently until just incorporated.

4. Working with a generous 2 tablespoons each time, roll the dough into 2-inch balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2½ inches apart. Press each dough ball twice with a dinner fork dipped in cold water to make a crisscross design.

5. Bake until the cookies are puffed and slightly browned around the edges but not on top, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. (The cookies will not look fully baked.) Cool the cookies on the baking sheets until set, about 4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack with a wide metal spatula to cool completely.

My notes: These cookies have a nice, chewy texture without being dry and crumbly like many peanut butter cookies. Though the dough is quite soft, they do not spread out excessively but hold their shape very nicely. They have a good peanut flavor, but I would like to try it with the crunchy peanut butter to see if they have even more peanut flavor. This recipe has definitely replaced my Joy of Cooking recipe.

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