We are a peanut butter lovin' little family. Years ago, The Carnivore introduced me to peanut butter toast. I don't know how I made it through my childhood without discovering it on my own, and I am eternally grateful to him for teaching me such a fine lesson. I recently picked up a jar of Nutella (a chocolate and hazelnut butter concoction that I can thank my German friends for turning me on to) at the grocery store and now for breakfast I like to have a slice of whole wheat toast smeared with a thin layer of Nutella and an extra thick layer of crunchy peanut butter. 'Tis heaven on earth, and reasonably nutritous to boot. The protein, fat and whole-grain carbohydrate combination carries me straight through to lunch.
Odd Toddler prefers to eat his peanut butter straight. For his breakfast every morning, he likes to be handed a spoon and a small jar of peanut butter. He tucks into it and eats about 1/3 cup two or three times a day. He likes his toast plain and on the side. To each his own.
This morning, Odd Toddler woke me up at 5:30 because he needed his jar of peanut butter RIGHT AWAY. I retrieved it for him, along with a spoon, and brought him back to bed with me. He snuggled in between The Carnivore and I, took a giant bite of peanut butter, and then hugged the jar tightly to his chest and went back to sleep. Thankfully, this particular quirk is a nutritious one, albeit slightly messy in bed.
The AJC Food Section did a cover story a couple of weeks ago on convection baking. Our fabulous stove has this feature, but I rarely cook anything that would benefit from the continuous circulation of hot air. I was rewarded though when I found a recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (eureka!) in this article. Convection allows for cookies to be evenly baked on more than one rack at a time; never having baked cookies before, I didn't realize what a time-saver this would be. Since this was my first cookie attempt, I have no idea if cookie-baking is generally a difficult process, but these particular cookies turned out perfectly crisp and they tasted positively divine.
PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (makes 24 crazy-big cookies)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I used crunchy - the creamy kind bores me)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt (I used kosher)
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate instead)
- If using a convection oven, position racks for multi-rack baking and preheat the oven to 325 degrees using convection baking setting. If using a conventional oven, raise oven temp to 350 degrees and plan to cook on one rack at a time and rotate pan halfway through cooking.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking soda and salt together.
- Stir the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture until the flour is no longer visible.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Try not to eat the batter. This step is easier when you don't have PMS.
- Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop the dough that you have refrained from eating and drop it onto the prepared cookie sheet, leaving 3 inches between the cookies. Use the tines of a fork to flatten the tops of the cookies to 1/2 - 1/4-inch thickness with a crosshatch pattern (this is harder than it sounds).
- Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes on convection, or for 15-17 minutes conventially, or until golden brown (I found it took longer, even with convection).
- If self-control is your forte, cool the cookies before eating them.