Sunday, May 04, 2008

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

As if . . . I needed another cookbook. Between the approximately 75 cookbooks I own and the infinite possibilities online, I should be able to find just about any recipe I ever need - without owning another cookbook. However, I found a copy of Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours for under $10 recently, and I could not resist. It had been on my wishlist for a while. I even bought a copy for a good friend for her wedding shower. For many months, I did a good job resisting the temptation of buying a copy for myself . . . but that was until I found it at an amazing price. It was almost as if it was meant for me to buy it.

Baking From My Home to Yours has tons of recipes that look and sound wonderful, from simple breakfast sweets to fancy celebration cakes. For some reason, the first recipe I chose was peanut butter cookies. Not because I needed a new peanut butter cookie recipe, but because I had all the ingredients and I knew they wouldn't take too long to make.

The cookies were easy to make - and even easier to eat (I recommend sharing them so you don't eat the whole batch yourself). They had a perfect texture, not too dense nor too light, neither too crispy nor too chewy. The peanut butter flavor was light, so don't expect a super peanut-buttery cookie from this recipe. The pinch of nutmeg and salted peanuts make these cookies a bit more grown up than your standard peanut butter cookies - but you could always leave those out if making the recipe for kids (or picky adults).

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter (not the "natural" type)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped salted peanuts
About 1/2 cup sugar, for rolling

  1. Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Line baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.
  3. Working with a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer and a large bowl), beat the butter on medium speed until light and creamy, one to two minutes. Add peanut butter and beat for another minute. Add the sugars and beat 3 minutes more. Add eggs one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing only until they just disappear. Mix in the chopped peanuts.
  4. Pour the 1/2 cup sugar into a small bowl. Working with a level tablespoonful of dough for each cookie, roll the dough between your palms into balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Place two inches apart on baking sheet. Dip the tines of a fork into sugar and press the tines against each ball of dough twice, making a crisscross pattern.
  5. Bake 12 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom and front to back at midway point. When done, cookies will be lightly colored and still a little soft. Let cookies sit on baking sheet a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks. Repeat with remaining dough, making sure to cool the baking sheets between batches.

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