Monday, September 28, 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pretty soon into starting my internship this summer, I realized that fitting things into my weekly schedule other than work, food and sleep was almost impossible.  As usual, this meant that running/exercise was one of the first things to go out the door so I tried to compensate by keeping myself from buying junk food or dessert at the grocery store.  However I developed a bad habit of eating giant spoonfuls of peanut butter dipped into chocolate chips, repeatedly, every night.  Until one night I glanced at the side of the peanut butter jar and learned just how many calories are in one small spoonful of peanut butter...  This encouraged me to dredge up the recipe for these cookies so I could get my delicious peanut butter and chocolate craving satiated with a cookie or two, without consuming a 1000 calories each night.

These cookies are soft, super peanut buttery, packed full of chocolatey chunks, and wrapped in a thin crisp coating of sugar.  They got rave reviews the first time I brought them to work, but that was also on a crazy day, and half of the comments where things like "this is the first thing I've eaten all day, and this cookie is amazing" (at 5pm).  So I brought in another batch on a less hectic day, and they still got rave reviews, and my cookie tin was emptied pretty rapidly.  So if you are one of the smart people out there who likes peanut butter and chocolate, then I recommend you go bake some cookies.

Peanut butter cookies
Minimally adapted from Smitten kitchen
Makes 2-3 dozen

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened (or microwaved 10 seconds)
1 cup peanut butter (I use smooth)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 Tb milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Optional: 1/4 cup sugar to roll cookies in

Make the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars with electric beaters until smooth and fluffy
  2. Add in the egg, milk, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and mix well.
  3. Mix in the flour, just until combined, then mix in the chocolate chips by hand, using a spoon.
  4. Pour your 1/4 cup of sugar into a small bowl, if you opt for the sugar coaint.  Using your hands form small balls of cookie dough into balls about 1-1.5 inches wide, roll each ball in sugar, then place on a ungreased cookie tray, about 1 inch apart.  Use a fork and press down to slightly flatten each ball of dough to get your signature peanut butter cookie mark.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating tray half way during baking time, until the edges look slightly golden.  Cool on a wire rack and enjoy within 1-2 days (store in an air-tight container).

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Coconut macaroons (aka the other macaron)

Coconut macaroons where a dessert I grew up eating only at passover, store bought from a can; which is why I always call these the "jewish macaroons," as opposed to the french macaron that is so trendy right now.  (Though no one else seems to know what I'm referring to when I say that...).  While they were always great, but I never thought to make my own or to eat them the rest of the year, until a friend shared some of her homemade macaroons with me recently.

These are even better than the store bought ones of my childhood, the texture and taste comes out a bit like the inside of a mounds bar.  These are very chewy, delicious and addictive.   What's more, they only require 5 ingredients (2 of which are chocolate), they are gluten free, and they freeze well!

The Fudgy (chai/mocha optional) brownie

In my house chocolate is basically always an appropriate choice. Whether you are celebrating, mourning, or having a stressful or happy d...