Sunday, 10 April 2016

All-Natural Peanut Butter Cookies: Bon Appetit's Best of the Best Recipes

April 2016

SmartCooks here.

Once upon a time a long time ago... I didn't allow peanut butter in the house. (insert gasp! here) I hated the smell. I hated the taste.  

As the years went by, Himself started to store a jar on the top shelf of a cupboard and secretly enjoy his peanut butter sandwiches while I was at work...

So, years later and a much more mellow AMS (age... age... age) means that peanut butter is once again in the house although I only use it in Thai cooking or when baking cookies... not by itself.  Call me eccentric!  

Which brings me to peanut butter cookies.....  I found this Bon Appetit recipe posted in the March 2016 edition and decided to make them one snowy day. Quite literally ... WOW!  

I urge you to follow the instructions to the letter and use natural, organic peanut butter so that the amount of sugar and salt is precise. Salted peanuts roasted in the oven add a lovely taste. Plus I mix it up using a jar of natural smooth peanut butter and a jar of crunchy peanut butter from Herb and Spice (a Canadian brand PB called Nuts to You!) 

Finally, the addition of a pan of water in the oven and its burst of steam seem to finish off the cookies just right -- crunchy, chewy, very peanut butter-y. I know why they are part of BA 'essential' best recipes.


(Makes about 20 LARGE cookies)
½ cup roasted, salted peanuts
¼ cup (½ stick) plus 2 T unsalted butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 16-ounce jar all-natural creamy peanut butter 
(BA likes Smuckers but see above)
Demerara or raw sugar (for sprinkling)
Flaky sea salt (for sprinkling)


Preheat oven to 350°. Toast peanuts on a rimmed baking sheet until browned and fragrant 6–8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Meanwhile, cook butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, swirling pan often, until butter foams, then browns, 4-6 minutes. Transfer brown butter with solids to a medium bowl; chill in trig or freezer (I've done both), stirring every 5 minutes, until cooled and beginning to solidify, about 15 minutes.

Whisk flour, kosher salt, baking powder, and baking soda in another medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg, egg yolk, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and ¼ cup water in a large bowl until mixture is light and falls back on itself in a slowly dissolving ribbon, about 2 minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients, then increase speed to high and beat 1 minute to develop gluten and hydrate flour. Add peanut butter, toasted peanuts, and brown butter and mix on low speed, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Let dough rest at room temperature until slightly firmed up, about 10 minutes.

Portion dough into 20 balls (about 2 heaping T each) and transfer to 2 parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Using the tines of a fork dipped in cold water, flatten cookies to ½" thick, making a crosshatch pattern on the top of each. Chill, covered, 1 hour.

Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; place a dry, medium skillet on the bottom rack, then increase oven temperature to 375°.

Sprinkle cookies with demerara sugar and sea salt. Working quickly, transfer one sheet of cookies to upper rack, then carefully pour 1 cup water into hot skillet; water will bubble and sizzle violently. Bake cookies until browned and edges are crisp, 12–15 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat with second sheet.

(Do Ahead: Cookie dough can be shaped and frozen 1 month ahead. Freeze in an airtight container. Let rest at room temperature 1 hour before cooking.) 

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