Just one of the many things I love about cooking and baking is the fact that you get to share recipes with other people. I love discovering a new meal or a different treat, and then being able to show it off to whoever will patiently listen, or read this blog, or endure my kitchen experiments enough to try all the messes along with the successes (that was directed at you, hubby!). This Peanut Butter Cookie recipe, from the wonderful cookbook Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, is the kind of recipe that you want to tell the whole world about, just so that everybody can try it and revel in its deliciousness.
What I love most about these cookies is their sheer simplicity. They're very basic cookies, made from all the traditional cookie staple ingredients. They include a generous amount of peanut butter and a sprinkling of chopped milk chocolate, and that's what turns these from the ordinary to the extraordinary. I have a weakness for the peanut/butter chocolate combo, and these completely fit that bill. The authors of the book advise you to use milk chocolate because it pairs so well with the peanut butter, and of course they're right. The chocolate is the perfect complement to the not-too-sweet cookie.
I gave half of this batch away to my mother in-law, who was able to serve them at a birthday party that Andy and I could not attend. After all the cookies were eaten, I found out that Andy's grandmother, in particular, really loved them. In fact, she loved them so much that she asked for the recipe, which I consider a very high compliment. Andy's grandmother is no slouch in the kitchen; she's a fantastic cook, and a wonderful baker. The fact that she would want me to share my simple little peanut butter cookie recipe with her made me feel really good!
As it turns out, I haven't been able to give the recipe to her yet, but she recently obtained a computer and she has access to my blog now. So, Grandma, this one's for you!
Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chunks
makes 24-36 cookies, depending on how big you make yours
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
6 ounces good milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. The mixture will look light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and peanut butter and beat until just incorporated.
3. Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. With the palm of your hand, very gently press each cookie down so it forms a very tall disk shape. Do not press too hard and do not press it flat.
5. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with granulated sugar and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the tops of the cookies just begin to brown. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the individual cookies to the rack to cool completely (although they are also delicious warm). The cookies can be stored, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.