Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Perfect Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

My dog has a basket of toys by the front door. There are a few that he plays with nearly every day -- bones to gnaw and hollow rubber thingies to fill with peanut butter -- but then there are a handful that he ignores. Some promotional stuffed animal that he stopped caring about once he realized it couldn't be destroyed, or the twisted rope he liked to play tug-of-war with five years ago. He'll toss them aside to reach the more exciting items underneath, but for the most part they sit around gathering dust. Until another dog comes to the house. Magically, the value-adding property of another dog's interest renders a treat infinitely more appealing. You want that thing I've ignored for five years? Suddenly I want it too! So much!

I laugh a bit at this transparent ridiculousness, but truth be told I can be the same way. My friend Robert once noted that somebody could be eating poop on a cracker, and he'd be angling for a bite. It can happen easily. A few weeks ago, I took the cookbook Baked: New Frontiers in Baking out of the library. I thumbed through the pages, earmarking a few, thinking maybe I'd make them someday. But then I saw an enticing version of Baked's peanut butter chocolate chip cookies on the lovely blog A Little Ginger. And suddenly I wanted them too! So much!

I've eaten my share of peanut butter cookies over the years, but these are easily the best I've had. Hands down. Perfect cookies. They have a toothsome texture somewhere between soft and crisp, with a deep, slightly salty peanut butter flavor. They keep well, like any cookie, but I think they're especially lovely the first day.

And speaking of ridiculous notions that consume your thoughts, I recently was so taken with the zucchini dishes I saw posted everywhere that I decided to host an All Zucchini Dinner Party. It took a bit of recipe-testing, a mountain of zucchini, and some very game friends, but in the end a good green meal was had by all. You can read about it (and get more recipes than you can shake a squash at) in The Oregonian.

Perfect Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
yields ~36 cookies

1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for topping
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
6 oz chocolate, milk or dark, coarsely chopped

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, soda and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, mixing until combined. Add the vanilla and peanut butter, mixing until well combined.

Fold in the dry ingredients until *just* combined. Fold in the chocolate bits, and place in a covered container and refrigerate overnight.

On baking day, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Plop out rounded tablespoons of dough onto lined cookie sheets, at least 2" apart, and flatten slightly with the heel of your hand to smush the doughballs into chubby disks. Sprinkle a bit of granulated sugar on each cookie, enough to give a light dusting (this will make a lovely, sweet-crunchy crust).

Place sheets in oven and bake 10-12 minutes, until the edges just turn golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, and then remove to finish cooling on a rack. Enjoy.


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Deena! I'm so glad you tried this recipe (and wrote about it) too, because they're really the best PB cookies I've ever tasted. The deliciousness should be shared. :)

    And I'm bookmarking your wonderful zucchini-party article, as I have a pile of squash piling up in my fridge as we speak...

  2. I LOVED the zucchini article and will try every single idea, AND the article led me to your blog, which is splendid. How have I missed it all this time?

    Any time you want to post some more photos of that awesome blue lino kitchen floor, please feel free. I'd love a closer peek.

    Thanks again!

  3. Maddie: Thank you for leading me to such an excellent recipe. My lactose-intolerant boyfriend just scoffed, saying that peanut butter has enough fat and you don't *need* to add butter. How wrong he is.

    Ami: I wish I could take credit for the floor, but it's the work of my friends Mykle and Gesine (as our house/yard are too small and squalid to host such a gathering). I'm trying to convince the paper that this house needs its own style profile -- the floor is just the beginning...

  4. Dear God, that IS a lot of fat/butter.
    But they look amazing, Deena.

  5. I believe I have spent more time thinking about these cookies in the past two weeks than it would have taken to shop for all the ingredients, mix them up, bake and eat them! Someday soon I must make a batch...