Saturday, April 01, 2006

Peanut Butter Connoisseurs

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)
  1. 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.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Cream the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking soda and salt together.
  6. Stir the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture until the flour is no longer visible.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  8. Try not to eat the batter. This step is easier when you don't have PMS.
  9. 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).
  10. 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).
  11. If self-control is your forte, cool the cookies before eating them.

1 comment:

yolie said...

you left me did the blue cheese farfalle (spelling?) recipe go? love, yolie