September 14, 2012

Peanut butter + milk chocolate cookies

There is definitely something wonderful and therapeutic about making up a batch of homemade cookies.  I think it's the very fact that it can be so simple and satisfying.  In short time and with minimal effort, you (hopefully) end up with something tasty and comforting to share with your family.  Plus, the aroma of freshly baked cookies from your oven is an added bonus.
So for my latest cookie experiment, I decided to make peanut butter milk chocolate chunk cookies, a recipe from Baked.  Generally, I prefer my peanut butter spread between two slices of soft bread.  I didn't grow up eating a lot of peanut butter (Nutella was more my speed) and I haven't been a big fan of peanut butter desserts.  But a batch of monster cookies changed my perspective a lot, and for some reason - probably with back-to-school, I've been thinking about peanut butter cookies. 
My son called these "Reese's Pieces Cookies" when he saw and smelled them, and I think that just about sums them up.  There's not a lot of textural complexity going on here (no oats or nuts) but if you like peanut butter and enjoy a soft cookie, take your chocolate chip cookies for a spin and consider these.  I do wonder how these cookies would fare using chunky peanut butter instead of creamy.  I'm always looking for a little chunk and crunch in my food.
Peanut butter and chocolate is a classic American combination for a good reason.  And cookies are a very good thing.  I know it's still technically summer so call me crazy but I'm already looking forward to the Christmas season and all those cookies I'll have an excuse to make, sample, and share.

Start this recipe by coarsely chopping 6 ounces of milk chocolate. Then, sift dry ingredients together in a bowl.  That would be 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, and a teaspoon of salt.  Into the bowl of a standmixer, place 2 sticks of room temperature unsalted butter, along with 1 scant cup granulated sugar and 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar. 
Beat the butter and sugars together until fluffy, then add 2 eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.  Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a cup of creamy peanut butter.  Beat together until just combined.
Add the dry ingredients in two installments, mixing each until just combined.  Remove the bowl from the standmixer and stir in the milk chocolate chunks.  (The recipe specifies milk chocolate over semisweet, stating that semisweet can taste almost bitter in this combination.  So you're forewarned but anyone more adventurous than myself could certainly give the alternative a try!)
Tightly wrap and refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 3 hours before baking. 

When it's time to bake, heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Scoop small cookie mounds onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart.  (I had a lot of dough and ended up making my cookies a big larger in my next batch.)  Gently press each cookie down very slightly and lightly sprinkle with granulated sugar before baking.  You can omit the sugar on top if you like but it looks nice and adds a teeny touch of crunch.  You could try a bit of salt instead too.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are lightly browned.  We're after that effect of slightly crisp perimeter and soft, chewy center.
These cookies stayed nice and soft stored in an airtight container.  My husband actually thought they tasted better the next day.


Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies

- Makes approximately 32 cookies (although recipe says 24) -

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar (I used a little less), plus more for sprinkling
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
6 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) into a bowl and set aside.

In a standmixer, beat the butter and both sugars together until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.  Add vanilla and peanut butter, mixing until just incorporated.

Add half the flour mixture and mix for about 15 seconds. Add the rest of the flour mixture, and mix until just combined.  Remove the bowl from the standmixer and stir in the chocolate chunks with a rubber spatula.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Drop small mounds of dough (I packed and overstuffed a small ice cream scoop) onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart.  Very gently press the top of each cookie with your palm to flatten slightly (do not over do it; they should still be tall).  Lightly sprinkle the tops of the cookies with granulated sugar. 

Bake cookies for about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cookies begin to turn brown.  Remove the cookies from the oven, allow them to cool 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Once completely cooled, store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

1 comment:

  1. I like soft peanut butter cookies! This sounds good. I will have to compare it to the recipe I used a while ago.



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