Monday, December 7, 2015

Peanut Butter Maple Cookies

Peanut Butter Maple Cookies

There are so many delicious varieties of cookies, making it hard to choose a favorite. But in my heart of hearts, I know that peanut butter cookies are, and have always been, my top choice.

For years, I've relied on the America's Test Kitchen recipe as my standard go-to for peanut butter cookies, which I make for the holidays pretty much every year. This year, I wanted to try something different, so I turned to my cookbook shelf to see what I could find.

The New Basics Cookbook, the 1989 classic by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, had what I was looking for. Their peanut butter cookie recipe includes maple syrup and no added salt except for what's in the peanut butter and the peanuts if you're using a salted variety. The maple added a nice flavor and I didn't miss the extra salt.

I experimented with the look of these cookies a bit. Traditionally, peanut butter cookie dough is rolled into balls and then flattened with a fork, making a clean, round edge and that characteristic hatch-mark pattern. Curious how they would look, I spooned the dough on the baking sheet without first rolling it and added the hatch-mark and also left a few "un-hatched." I like the rougher look and the results were just as tasty.

Peanut Butter Maple Cookies
Adapted from Peanut Butter Cookies, The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

Makes about 45-50 cookies

1cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
14 oz. all-purpose flour (approx. 3 cups)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted), coarsely chopped (about the size of the peanut chunks in the peanut butter)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Combine butter, peanut butter and brown sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer and beat--first at a low speed and then at a high speed--until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (alternatively, combine in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer). On low speed, beat in the maple syrup, egg and vanilla, then increase speed and beat until combined.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and peanuts. Add to the butter-sugar mixture and slowly beat until combined. 

4. Spoon the batter in rounded tablespoonfuls (about golf-ball size) onto baking sheets lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat, about 2-3 inches apart (aim for about 12-15 cookies per sheet for a standard-size baking sheet). Flatten slightly with a fork dipped in flour (or don't, as it really isn't necessary, it just looks cool). 

5. Bake until lightly browned in places on top and around the bottom, about 8-9 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 


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