Pillow-Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

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I’ve made peanut butter cookies before. But I had yet to find the IDEAL peanut butter cookie, the one that stayed soft and fluffy no matter what. UNTIL NOW. This one, adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction, IS that cookie. These things are like memory foam for your taste buds, and the cookies just melt away on the first bite. I made them for Krystopf for his birthday and quadrupled the batch so I’d have some to shove in the freezer for later and now I think I’ve found a new favourite.

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Start with 1/2 cup butter that is nice and soft and chuck that in the bowl of your electric mixer. Tip in as well 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar and start beating that.

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Beat it for like five minutes. Honestly, it makes all the difference.

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Next, whip in 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter.

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Then crack in an egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix it all up until it’s beautiful and smooth.

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I took the time here to grab a package of Skor bits and I tipped in the whole package (for my quadrupled recipe – you might want to use less).

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You can skip this if you’d prefer your cookies unadulterated.

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In another bowl, whisk together 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour.

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Slowly mix that in with your dough until fully combined – it won’t take long because your dough is already beautifully soft and fluffy. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes so that you can handle it easily.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment (though I recommend baking these one sheet at a time).  Spread some granulated sugar onto a plate. Grab a pinch of cookie and roll it into a ball.

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Plop it on the plate of sugar and roll to coat.

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Shove it onto the baking sheet and flatten it with a fork.

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Do that with all the rest – you will likely end up with about 24 cookies.

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Bake for 8-9 minutes, one baking sheet at a time. The cookies will look totally underdone when you pull them out but resist the urge to continue baking.  Let the cookies firm up on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before letting them cool on a rack and they’ll be just fine.

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These puppies will stay soft in an airtight container for about 10 days. But they haven’t lasted that long here so I can’t say that for sure.

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Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Squares

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Um.  So.  I made these, with thanks to Midwest Living, and then suddenly they were all gone.  A heavily pregnant Atlas had a bunch of them, as did her recently-delivered sister (I guess babies need chocolate?), and then we took them to a Thanksgiving potluck and the cousins discovered them.  And then Rusty ate the rest.  I can’t even remember what they tasted like, they disappeared so fast.  So if you’ve got a Hallowe’en party on the go tomorrow night, this is a good way to incorporate candy into your cookery.  Go for it.

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Now, it’s best to get everything ready ahead of time for this because timing is key.  So.

Take 12 peanut butter cups (that’s four packs of three of the Reese ones) and chop them up.

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And a huge bar of chocolate, such that when you cut it up you get 1 1/2 cups chopped chocolate.  You’ll need as well 1/3 cup butterscotch chips.

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Grab 1/2 cup Skor bits (these were my own addition, and I liked them).

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Measure out 2 cups peanuts (salted or unsalted, your choice).

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You’ll also need 2 cups crushed graham crumbs.

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Okay, here we go.

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Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with aluminum foil such that the foil comes over the long edges (and you can use it as a handle later.  Then grab some large flat crackers (the recipe calls for “club crackers,” so I used Sky Flakes) and line the bottom of the dish with enough to cover the whole thing.

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In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup butter, 3/4 cup honey, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/3 cup whipping cream.

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Bring that to a boil, stirring the whole time.

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Add the graham crumbs and reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook for a full 5 minutes.

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Remove that from the heat and pour in 2 teaspoons vanilla.

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Spread half this thick caramel stuff onto your cracker base in the baking dish.

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Sprinkle on the peanuts and the Skor bits.

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And then the peanut butter cup bits.

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Spread on the other half of the caramel stuff and press enough crackers onto the top to cover it.

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So then it looks like this and you can leave that for a little bit.

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In the bowl of a double boiler or in the microwave, melt together the milk chocolate pieces and the butterscotch chips.

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Add in as well 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter.

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Spread that gloriousness over the cracker top.

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Shake and tap the pan to get the bubbles out, then chuck it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

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When it’s all set, take it out and use the foil handles to remove it from the pan.  Carefully remove the foil.

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Cut these babies into squares and watch them disappear before your eyes!

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BAKED’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s no secret here at Ali Does It that the Pie and I are quite enamoured with the guys over at Brooklyn’s Baked.  When the b’ys were on their way over last weekend to play some Street Fighter at our house, the onus was on us (ha. ha.) to come up with a tasty treat, so we made some chocolate chip cookies.  These ones are great because they’re crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, just like we like them.  The trick to getting that texture is in chilling your dough for several hours, or even overnight.  This means that when you make your dough balls on the baking sheet, the outside will start to cook and provide a cookie structure, an outer wall, before the inside can warm up and ooze all over the place.  You will notice with these cookies that I didn’t have time to chill them for very long and as a result they spread quite a bit, running into each other on the pan.  So that’s why you chill your dough.

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Start with your dry ingredients.  In a bowl, whisk together 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon baking soda.  Set that aside.

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In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together 1 cup butter, 1 cup packed brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until it’s smooth and fluffy.

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Scrape down your bowl to get all the stuff back together and beat in 2 large eggs, one at a time.  Let the eggs emulsify the ingredients between additions.  The mixture will look light and fluffy when it’s ready.

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You can add in now 2 teaspoons vanilla and beat for an additional few seconds.

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Add in half the flour mixture and beat slowly until just incorporated (if you do it on a high speed the flour will fly everywhere. Been there, done that. More than once).  Add the second half and do the same thing.

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Fold in at this point 2 2/3 cups chocolate chips.  I used 2 cups of chocolate chips and then added 1 cup Skor bits that were leftover from an office ice cream party.  I also got the Pie to do the stirring for me, as the dough was stiff.

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Now chill your dough for about six hours, or even overnight, before you do your baking. As I said earlier, I didn’t have time, which means I had to deal with the consequences of flat cookies.

Preheat your oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, and using an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, or a really round soup spoon, serve up the dough in 2 tablespoon-sized balls.

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Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.  Leave the cookies to cook for 5 minutes on the pan before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.  If you don’t eat them all immediately, store them in an airtight container for a couple days.

Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies