Thursday, September 15, 2005

Portion control

Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies
Small-Batch Baking Copyright 2004

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of baking soda
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons well-beaten egg or egg-substitute
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup extra-chunky peanut butter I used smooth peanut butter so I guess these were 'Smooth Peanut Butter Cookies'

1. Place the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and whisk to blend.
2. Place the granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, beaten egg and vanilla in a medium-size mixing bowl and beat with a hand-held mixer at low speed until blended, about 1 minute. Beat in peanut butter until blended, about 20 seconds. Ad the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the dough is blended, about 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and press out to form a thick disk. Wrap it well in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is pliable, about 30 minutes.
3. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Set aside an ungreased baking sheet.
4. Shape the dough, by tablespoonfuls, into mounds on the baking sheet, spacing the mounds about 1 inch apart. Using a fork, flatten each one to form a 1/3 inch-thick round, making grooves in the surface with the tines of the fork. Press the fork lightly in the opposite direction to make a crisscross pattern in the tops of the cookies. Bake the cookies until they are golden, about 13 minutes.
5. Remove the baking sheet from the over and place it on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the wire rack, and let them cool completely.

Makes 8 cookies.

They must have been paying this author by the word. I always try to copy recipe instructions verbatim but I was extremely tempted to edit this recipe. I certainly didn't follow the instructions as written. I did not drag out the hand-mixer for this. I used a spoon and some elbow grease.

I didn't expect anything unusual from this combination of ingredients - they're just peanut butter cookies afterall but the perfect-sized batch of fresh, warm peanut butter cookies. Very tender and peanut buttery. As good or better than any other peanut butter cookie I've ever eaten.

This cookbook, Small Batch Baking, was actually not picked up off the bargain table. I read about it and then ordered it from Amazon. I've had it for quite some time but this is the first time I actually tried any of the recipes. I'm sure I'll be trying many more. I love the concept - small portions of all sorts of sweets. I love to bake but I usually stop myself from making a full recipe because I know I'll end up overeating. This book has all the basic recipes (yellow cake, chocolate cake, brownies, etc) plus some creative ones ('Candied Cranberry Chocolate Tart', 'Blood Orange Tart With Raspberry Orange Sauce'). The quality is not lost when the recipes are downsized. Sure, anyone could probably do the math and cut down any recipe but why not have someone else do it for you?

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