18 March 2014

Salted Flourless Peanut Butter, Milk Chocolate + Peanut Cookies

If I have learned anything about making cookies this year (besides the wonders of freezing dough), it's that the difference is in the details. In both technique and ingredients. A peanut butter cookie is not a peanut butter cookie is not a peanut butter cookie. Ok, didn't mean to get all Buddha on you. It's just cookies after all...or is it?

A few months ago I shared a recipe for flourless almond butter chocolate chunk cookies, perfect for lazy days, a formula where nut butter acts as both flour and fat and produces a pretty great cookie. 

Well, needless to say, there's the peanut butter option, too, which is widely popular over the Internet. In fact I almost asked myself why bother posting about it? Well because they are so good and so hassle-less and based on the trends over on Pinterest, we can never run out of time-saving, one-bowl, 20-minute activities to share.

For these flourless cookies, I started from the chocolatier Michael Recchiuti's recipe. Which is the best, I think. Going back to those details, he adds both chopped peanuts and chopped chocolate. Now I'm mostly a dark chocolate girl but when I started putting good milk chocolate in my favorite floured peanut butter cookie recipe, I decided to groove in that direction from now on. So to tap into Michael's flavor bomb without buying a bag of peanuts, I opted to use one of my favorite Chocolove bars, the Salted Peanut + Milk Chocolate, imagining that would create the whole Reeses-cup-smashed-into-a-cookie effect with some added crunch for textural difference from the nuts, as Michael intended. Again, details. And you can probably guess that the tiny chunks of  bar swirled into that peanut butter dough pretty much took it up a few good notches. Because even if you're going low maintenance on the whole, you might as well put on a few killer accessories.

I also like this recipe because of the proportions. There is a little less baking soda and sugar than the standard formula out there, and I have to imagine that makes the difference. When someone takes a bite and says, "these are flourless?"...that's what you want. 

It is also worth mentioning that I nearly always divide the original recipe by four, and I have recently begun freezing the un-baked balls. So whenever we want these, which can be decided very shortly before eating them, I make a quarter batch of dough, bake off three and freeze the other three. I usually bake the frozen ones off within a few days though, so I don't know if they store longer. Quality control, people. 

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanuts + Milk Chocolate

Adapted from Recchiuti

Note: You can use all granulated sugar, but I went for a mix. The entire recipe will yield 24. I nearly never make that much. All the quantities are easily halved or quartered, just use half or a quarter of the bar.

1 cup (240 grams) organic unsalted peanut butter
1/2 cup (~ 95 grams) granulated cane sugar
1/4 cup (~ 40 grams) light brown sugar
1 large egg (50 grams), slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 Chocolove Salted Peanut bar, chopped
Flakey salt such as Maldon to finish.

Oven to 350. Line a sheet with parchment. In a bowl, stir together peanut butter, sugars, baking soda, salt and egg, until combined. Drop in the chopped chocolate and stir until just worked in. Don't worry if the dough seems wet. Scrape the dough onto some plastic wrap. (optional but recommended: lightly form into a sausage and pop into fridge for a half hour or so)

Pinch off tsp size balls, each around 21 grams, and place with a little room apart on the sheet. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through the baking time, until lightly golden and spread to a puffy mound, about 12-14 minutes. Sprinkle with a few grains salt. Let cool on the sheet 5 minutes then on a rack completely.

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