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Monday, May 28, 2007

Pregnant Lady Bakes

No menu plan this week . . . and maybe not for a few weeks. The month of June will be devoted to an in-town move for the SortaCrunchy household, so things are going to be a little bit crazy. I found some great tips and tricks from Laura at Organizing Junkie that I fully intend to use!

Anyway, last Friday night I found myself overcome with the urge to BAKE! The Coach loves peanut butter cookies (and there literally does not exist a cookie that I don't love) so I decided to whip some up. I searched through my wildly unorganized recipe files and simply could not find the peanut butter cookie recipe I usually use.

(This particular recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law years and years ago when The Coach and I were newlyweds and I baked up some cookies for my darling groom for the first time. Hard as rocks. And just about as tasty. He lovingly suggested that perhaps I should "call Mom and ask for her recipe." Once I finished licking my wounds, I made her recipe and they were really good!)

But alas, that recipe is currently Missing In Action, so I did what every super mod bakerina does in such a crisis . . . I googled "best peanut butter cookie recipe!" And I discovered this gem of a recipe that The Coach has not only requested become our permanent house recipe for peanut butter cookies, he also wants me to send the recipe to his mother!! Love it.

Anyway, these are really, really fabulous. We both could not stop eating them. They are gone now, nothing but some peanut-y crumbs as trace evidence of their existence. I am going to post the recipe as it was written, with my notes to the side.

2.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) salted butter (I never have salted butter on hand, so I used two sticks unsalted and added 3/8 tsp of salt to the recipe)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup crunchy peanut butter at room temp
2 large eggs
2 tsps. vanilla extract (I am lucky enough to be able to keep Mexican vanilla on hand. Oh dear LORD that is some powerful stuff.)
1 cup roasted salted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350. Grind peanuts in food processor until they resemble bread crumbs, about 14 pulses; set aside. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. (I don't have any parchment paper - shame on me! not a real baker, I suppose - but I baked these on my nonstick cookie sheets and they came out fine)

Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated and then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Gently stir dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture. Add ground peanuts; stir gently until just incorporated.

Scoop into balls with about 1.5 Tbsps. dough per scoop and drop onto parchment about 2 inches apart. Press criss-cross design into the top of each ball using a fork dipped in cold water. (I, of course, added the requisite sprinkling of sugar to the top of each cookie)

Bake 10-12 mins until cookies are puffed and slightly brown along edges but not on top. Cookies will not look fully baked! Cool on sheet until set, about 5 minutes; transfer to wire rack to cool completely. The ground peanuts add a lot of flavor and surprisingly, do not add grittiness. I don't like peanuts in cookies as a rule, and I don't like crunchy peanut butter, but I love these cookies. When my mom makes them, she likes to make a glaze of powdered sugar with a little milk and a small amount of creamy peanut butter and drizzle it over the finished cooled cookies.
(I followed her baking instructions and it took about 10.5 minutes for them to reach perfection in my oven. I also didn't make the glaze, but that sounds delish, too!)

Again, these are so, so good. Enjoy!