Category Archives: cookies

peanut butter cookies

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Sometimes, no matter how much I love my chocolate, I just have to have something… else. That’s right, something other than chocolate. Shocking, I know.

That’s where these cookies come in. I had actually never really liked peanut butter cookies before around three or four years ago, when we still lived in the dorms and had to get our cookie fixes by ordering in. If you’ve lived in Austin and/or went to UT, you would probably know about Tiff’s Treats. (Oh, they’ve opened one in Dallas, now!) If you’re scoffing at the idea of delivered cookies, know this: They. Are. Good. And they arrive warm! What more could you want?

An oven with which to make your own cookies?

I have that (now)!

Oh, back to the story about peanut butter cookies. Ones I’d tried before seemed to be brittle and crumbly. And we like our cookies soft and chewy around here. “Juicy,” if you will.

I must have lucked out with this recipe, because it was the first peanut butter cookie recipe I tried and I am sticking to it forever now. They totally fulfill the soft/chewy/juicy requirements.

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peanut butter cookies
- adapted from JIF’s Irresistible PB Cookies

3/4 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/4 c brown sugar, firmly packed
3 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 c AP flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda

Oven temperature: 375F

With an electric mixer, combine peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat together at medium speed until well incorporated and a little bit fluffy looking. Add the egg; mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.

Add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture at low speed just until the flour disappears. At this point, you might want to throw in some chocolate chips. Or maybe not.

The original recipe calls for shortening, but I never have that around, so I used butter instead. Note that this will probably require chilling the dough. (See the note at the end.) So if you used butter, chill the dough for an hour or so (or until firm); preheat your oven, and then make your cookies. You can use a couple teaspoons and drop the cookies onto the pan, or use a scoop.

For unknown reasons, it has become something of a tradition to use the tines of a fork to make a criss-cross pattern on top the cookies before they bake. I suspect this may have something to do with alerting those with peanut allergies to steer clear. Is this true? Anyway, I dipped a fork in a little white sugar before making the imprints on mine — I don’t know if it added much, but you can just see a few of the crystals on top of the finished product.

PB closeup

hello there

Bake 7-8 minutes, or until just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and let rest on the baking sheet for a couple more minutes; then move the cookies to a cooling rack or aluminum foil to cool fully.

Kept in an airtight container, these stay juicy for 3-4 days.

Notes:

I should have listened to my instincts when I scooped out the first six cookies and they sort of gooed onto the pan… I thought I might get away with just baking them anyway, without the chill, and they turned out like this:

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oops.

Just a little flat and floppy. Don’t worry, they tasted just fine. (As perhaps evidenced by the mysteriously missing 6th cookie.)

So, live and learn. I put the prepared dough into the refrigerator while that first batch baked, and then I was on my merry way. After the chill, they stayed thick and juicy! Or as juicy as a cookie can be, at least.

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there we go

basic sugar cookies

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Er, clearly I need to be more on top of my timing. How do other food bloggers manage to get their holiday-themed posts done on, or even.. before the actual holiday? Oh well. I, for one, was in the process of decorating these guys on the 14th, to be served later that night at a dinner party. While I did manage to take photos of the cookies, somehow I’ve only now been able to write about them.

So. Sugar cookies. Almost any other time I see sugar cookies out at a dessert table, I just steer clear. Oh, sometimes they look good enough and I’m tempted to try one, but my suspicions are generally confirmed upon first bite: crumbly, dry, and altogether cardboard-like. Why should I waste calories on them? And so, first bite = last bite.

And honestly, if these cookies are overbaked, even just by a minute or two, they’re not very appealing, either. At least to me. But, my mom loves crunchy sugar cookies. Go figure. This time, I accidentally let one tray go too long for my tastes and she bagged them all up for herself!

When they’re not overbaked, they are soft and… wonderful. They’re not too sweet, especially without icing. If I must ice them, however, I usually mix up and drizzle on some of this icing. I think it takes a bit more milk to get the right consistency than the recipe calls for, however. Sometimes I leave out the corn syrup entirely and just use milk instead. Either way, it can take quite a few hours for the icing to dry completely, so do remember to take that into account.

basic sugar cookies
- from what I believe is a tiny cutout from a very old BH&G

1/2 c butter
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
2 c AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

this butter and sugar is not yet creamed… keep going

congratulations — you may move on to the next step

Beat egg in well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine dry mixture into butter mixture at low speed until thoroughly blended and smooth

Refrigerate, wrapped in plastic, for at least 1 hour until firm.

Heat oven to 375F.

Work with only enough dough that will fit on your baking sheet; keep remainder refrigerated.

Evenly roll out dough between two sheets of wax paper — I like my sugar cookies on the thicker side, so mine are a little thicker than 1/4-inch. Cut out or shape as desired.

Gently place cookies on lightly greased cookie sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake 5 to 13 minutes, depending on the thickness of the dough and shape of cookie, until firm to touch and edges are lightly browned. These giant cookies took around 14 minutes.

be careful handling before they’ve baked, or the shapes can get warped.. unless you’re going for that sort of look

Cool on wire racks, and store in airtight containers. If the cookies are to be iced, allow them to cool completely first.

Makes 1 to 5 dozen, depending on size. And if your massive heart-shaped cookie cutter is as big as mine, one batch of this cookie dough will make a whopping … six cookies.

seriously, i made these cookies on valentine’s day!

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I originally obtained this recipe over ten years ago, from the mom of one my best friends growing up. (Hi, Mrs. M!) Once I detached myself from that ubiquitous recipe from the back of that yellow bag, these seriously became one of the favorite cookies of my childhood. These days, while my usual go-to chocolate chip cookie is Alton Brown’s The Chewy (more on these at a later date, I promise!), these oatmeal ones are a nice change of pace: denser, thicker, and (I think) a heartier flavor.

A while back, I did notice that this is suspiciously similar to the notorious “$250 Neiman-Marcus Recipe” that continually haunted my e-mail Junk Folder in the late ’90s. With a little research into the matter, it seems that this is just a (very) persistent urban legend that can be traced back 60 years! Evidently, Neiman-Marcus since developed its own recipe in response… which happens to be rather different from the rumor version. Interesting….

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c butter
3/4 c sugar
1 1/4 c brown sugar
2 eggs (one at a time)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c AP flour
2 1/2 c oatmeal flour*
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 c chocolate chips (I like a mix of milk chocolate and semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 375F.

*Oatmeal flour: Just pulse old-fashioned oats in the food processor until it looks, well, like flour! A few larger bits of oats might remain, and that’s fine. Measure after processing, though, please. To make 2 1/2 cups of oatmeal flour, I think I dumped 3 1/2 to to 4 cups of oats into the food processor…

process until oats go from this ^ ……………………………………………… to this ^

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs (one at a time) and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In three or four portions, add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix in chocolate chips. Please, try not to overmix.

Use a large disher/ice cream scoop to form cookies onto a baking sheet. Of course, you can make these simple drop cookies with a couple of spoons, but the disher makes everything so nice and even, which means that all the cookies will be perfectly done at the same time! No scrawny burnt ones! (Is anyone else excited about this?)

For large cookies like these, bake for around 14-15 minutes, or just until light golden brown. Remove from oven, and let rest on pan for 2-3 minutes to firm up a little; transfer to cooling rack. Devour warm, or store in an airtight container/zip-top bag until dessert/breakfast/snacktime/anytime.

mmm… look at that chocolatey, oatmealy goodness