From Today’s Kitchen: NEW! Peanut Butter Cookies Tuesday, May 15 2012 

As much as I love practicing my staple, good ol’ standby chocolate chip cookie recipe, I was itching to add another baked treat to my cookie repertoire. Sugar cookies were a dismal failure (maybe I should have tried before I spent $40 at sur la table on fabulous cookie cutters) and oatmeal raisin cookies are always fun for my husband, and they happen to be my dad’s favorite. But my peanut butter obsession has recently taken a surge into overdrive, hence the desire to meld two of my favorite things: peanut butter and a perfectly baked, fresh from the oven, warm cookie.

I stumbled upon this FABULOUS website, www.addapinch.com , where creator Robyn whips up deliciousness on a daily basis. I’ve tried her creamed spinach recipe, and fell hard for this decadent peanut butter cookie yumminess!

The first time I tried her recipe, I noticed it was very similar to cookies I had actually been making for years! Every Christmas season, my mom and I labor over (and then devour) what we call “kissy” cookies. Kissy cookies basically consist of this peanut butter cookie recipe, but include a scrumptious Hershey’s kiss plopped in the middle before they cool. This peanut butter cookie simply substitutes the forked lines (which is super fun) for the chocolate treat in the middle. Much healthier, right?

Another goal of this peanut butter cookie foray: to discover a cookie dough that I can resist indulging in off the spoon during the Kitchen Aid mixer process. Mission: NOT accomplished. This dough is just too freaking delicious.

Anyway, here is the recipe I used, courtesy of the always inspiring www.addapinch.com. Even typing these out make my mouth water! YUM!

Ingredients:

2 sticks softened butter

2 cups peanut butter ( I strictly favor creamy)

1 cup brown sugar (you will also need about ½ cup in a shallow bowl to roll the cookies before putting them on the cookie sheet-another majorly fun part!)

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt (super important for flavor!)

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda (fresh baking soda is the secret to great cookies, in my opinion)

2 eggs

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

 

  1. 1.     Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) in a separate bowl.
  2. 2.     In mixer, cream butter, sugars, peanut butter and vanilla extract.
  3. 3.     Add in eggs one at a time.
  4. 4.     Slowly pour dry mixture into mixer to cream with peanut butter mixture. Be sure not to overmix, but that they are combined.
  5. 5.     Scoop dough into small round balls ( I roll them between my palms, just for fun and the perfect shape)
  6. 6.     Dip ball into sugar and evenly coat with a thin layer of sugar before dropping ball onto cookie sheet.
  7. 7.     When all your dough is on the cookie sheet, take a small fork to imprint crisscross lines (apparently this technique is called “dipping tines”) across the top of the cookie.
  8. 8.     Place cookie sheet in oven (preheated to 350) and bake cookies for 10-12 minutes ( I love under-baked, warm cookies)
  9. 9.     Allow cookies to cool for at least 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
  10. 10.   ENJOY!

 

Again, much thanks to Robyn from addapinch for providing the tools to bring my peanut butter inspiration to life! These are a new favorite in my house, and now I have the urge to bake some right now!

What is your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe?

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of en.wikipeida.org

second photo courtesy of babble.com

third photo courtesy of visualphotos.com

fourth photo(of my cookies) from my iPhone

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From Today’s Bakery: Chocolate Chip Cookies Wednesday, Jul 27 2011 

Chocolate. Chip. Cookies. Enough said.

Giada de Laurentiis counts chocolate chip cookies and apple pie as two of the most distinguishable “contributions America has made to the culinary world that hold a special place in my heart”.

It’s no secret that everyone loves a good chocolate chip cookie. Whether you like them gooey fresh from the oven, under baked, dunked in milk, or crispy and browned, it’s hard to walk away from a delicious chocolate chip cookie.

Remember on Friends when Monica tried to re-create Phoebe’s grandmother’s secret recipe, only to discover it on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse (I love the way Phoebe says that in her French voice) bag. The proper chocolate chip cookie recipe is as essential to any American kitchen as a mixing bowl and spatula.

Everyone has a secret family recipe. There’s even one on the back of the bag of semi-sweet Ghiradelli chips! I admit, I’ve delighted in scarfing down the raw dough staright from the Nestle Tollhouse “Break and Bake” yellow packaging. But I’ve also taken pride in attempting the homemade, all-American, secret family recipe. In this case, courtesy of my Auntie Amy, my favorite baker from whom I scrounge several recipes (stuffed peppers, chicken pot pie, and others!)

My favorite part-besides devouring the finished product of course- is adding the chips to the finished cookie dough part (maybe because this step requires some taste testing)

My least favorite part? Creating the little balls/discs/shapes of whatever that will eventually form a magical cookie. I hate rubbing them in between the palms of my hands. It feels weird, gooey, unnatural and it almost burns my skin. I know that sounds weird, but I literally feel an incredible urge to wash my hands after rolling only four cookies. I can’t even fill up an entire cookie tray without getting antsy! I tried keeping my hands damp to lessen the stickiness of the dough, but if my hands are too wet, the cookies get too moist and slip off the tray. If I dry them off with a paper towel each time, the little bits of white paper residue then get onto the precious cookie roll! We can’t have that.

Oh, the perils and tribulations of the chocolate chip cookie process.

What’s your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe? Do you have any spcial tricks for keeping the dough off your hands as you roll out the delicious balls of Americana?

Media Credits:

cookie photo courtesy of closetcooking.com

bag of chips courtesy of ghiradelli.com

pic of cookies: MY FINAL PRODUCT, courtesy of my iPhone

From Today’s Bakery: Banana Nut Bread Wednesday, Jul 20 2011 

I’ve been craving something sweet that won’t wreak havoc on all of my harrowing hours sweating in the gym.

Chocolate ice cream? Good for the sweet tooth, not for the skinny jeans. All those little fiber bars that claim to have chocolate chips or raspberry flavored cheesecake? Sorry, but most of them taste like something the kittens would rather play with than eat.

But, banana bread has always been one of my favorite treats. When I was little, we used to make it in the pumpkin bread-offseason, from the blue Pillsbury box. But at my recent recipe-themed bridal shower, I was lucky enough to receive several delicious looking recipes. I couldn’t wait to try this fruity, fluffy fabulosity. Time to try from scratch! 

Today, I returned home from a very happy nail appointment to a Wifi-free home, so I seized the opportunity throw on my Glee playlist and whip up some baked banana nut goodness. The pink electric hand beaters and pink mixing bowls only added to the fun!

What I’ve learned: lemon juice not so important, but folding in the flour mixture and “creaming the butter”, with the mixer on very low speed, are vital steps! Patience is just as important as the pink beaters.

Results are in: this substituted for our dinner tonight, and in fact turned out to fill dessert’s time slot since Ghiradelli sundaes snucks in there for a celebratory, post-driving range dinner. Hey, not all sweet tooth cravings can be avoided!

Bon Apetit!

Media Credits: all photos from my iPhone