Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

Yields one dozen, 2-inch cookies

258 g peanut butter, crunchy, organic, no additives
1 large pinch salt (if peanut butter is unsalted)
162 g light brown sugar
30 g honey
1 large egg
7 g vanilla extract

1. Place oven rack in center of oven. Preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In medium bowl, mix all ingredients. When blended, divide into 12 equal portions (divide in half, then in thirds, then each one in half). Using palms of hands, roll into balls and place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Press tops lightly but firmly with fork, first in one direction, then again at 90 degrees to make the traditional hatch pattern. Cookie dough should be about 3/4 inch thick.

3. Bake until cookies are slightly puffed, lightly tanned, and edges have begun to set, about 10 - 12 minutes. Do not brown. Cool 2 minutes on the baking pan, then remove cookies to cooling rack.

Adapted from Shirley O. Corriher's BakeWise (2008), published by Scribner.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies

6 1/4 oz unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 oz old-fashioned rolled oats
4 oz pecans, toasted and chopped
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 oz dried sour fruit, coarsely chopped (sour cherries, cranberries)

6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but cool
10 1/2 oz dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. In second bowl, stir together oats, pecans, fruit, and chocolate.

3. In standing mixer with paddle blade, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain (1 minute). Scrape bowl, add egg and vanilla. Beat on medium low until fully incorporated (30 seconds) and scrape bowl again. With mixer at low speed, add flour mixture. Mix until just combined (30 seconds). Add oat-nut mixture until just combined (30 seconds). Check for even distribution of oat-nut mixture and ensure no pockets of flour remain.

4. Divide dough in half. Divide each half in half (4 equal portions). Repeat again twice for 16 equal portions. Using palms, roll each portion into balls and place on baking sheet about 2 1/2 inches apart. Flatten each ball to 1 inch thickness. Bake 12 minutes, then rotate sheets back to front and switch top and bottom sheets. Bake 8 - 10 minutes longer until edges are set, but centers look wet and shiny.

5. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Adapted from Erika Bruce's "The Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie" in Cook's Illustrated (May/June 2005).