Peanut Butter Cookies

I bought Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook ‘Notes From My Kitchen Table’ when it first came out and wasn’t sure if the recipes would be my kind of cooking.  So far everything I have cooked from the book have been winners but some recipes called for ingredients I’d never heard of.  The recipe for her Grandad Danner’s Favourite Peanut Butter Cookies calls for peanut butter chips.  It wasn’t until I was staring at a wall of chocolate chips in my local Safeway store (I’m on a hunt to find a chocolate chip I like here) that I spotted what must be the special ingredient – Reece’s Peanut Butter Chips.  So Elliott and I hit the kitchen as soon as we got home.

These cookies are a rare treat especially if loaded with the peanut butter chips.  I just read the list of ingredients on the back of the packet and it isn’t pretty.  Actual peanuts, roughly chopped, would be a good alternative.  But in the name of recipe testing we went all out with the full 175g of peanut butter chips.

Equal amounts of dark brown sugar and light brown sugar are called for in the recipe but I only had light brown.  I imagine that the flavour would have had a bit more depth with the dark brown sugar which would have been good.

The recipe calls for unbleached plain flour.  Well plain flour is something I cannot find here, not like the plain flour I’m used to anyway.  The same story with self-raising flour.  So I stick with two flours – an unbleached bread flour for breads, pizzas etc and this unbleached cake flour.  I use it for cakes, biscuits, scones etc and just add baking powder when a recipe calls for self-raising flour.  There are other brands available in cake flours but this is the only one I’ve found that I like which is unfortunate as it is pricey and I’ve only been able to find it at Whole Foods.

Once the cookie dough was mixed I put the whole bowl into the fridge for an hour to firm up as it is quite a soft mix.  This then made it much easier, and cleaner, to scoop out cookies with an ice-cream scoop – one that has a trigger.  An easy technique that gives even sized cookies.

It goes without saying that the cookies were a hit.  Chewy with chunks of peanut butter chips.  Although next time I am making them with roughly chopped peanuts instead of the peanut butter chips.  It just needs some crunch and a little less sickly sweet.  A small handful of milk chocolate chips would be alright though.

Years ago I had a play date with a friend, Vena, and all our kids.  Vena, who is a brilliant cook, made peanut and milk chocolate chip cookies.  They were delicious and I’ve often tried to recreate them.  These cookies aren’t as good as Vena’s but they are pretty fine cookies.

peanut butter cookies

(a slight adaption to Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe in ‘Notes From My Kitchen Table’)

150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
175g smooth peanut butter
250g brown sugar (or half light brown and half dark brown sugar)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g peanut butter chips (or substitute with roughly chopped peanuts)
extra raw sugar for sprinkling

In a mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix.

Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the cookie dough a third at a time, mixing until combined.  Stir through the peanut butter chips. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for about an hour so the cookie dough firms up a little.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).  I need to start adding the Fahrenheit for my own benefit!

Use a trigger ice cream scoop to scoop out even sized balls and place on a greased tray.  Or just use a spoon to scoop up about 1 1/2 tablespoons and roll into a ball.  It isn’t necessary but you can flatten the cookies just a little with the palm of your hand or with a fork and sprinkle over a little raw sugar.  Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Leave to cool on the trays as they will be a little soft at first and firm up when cooled.

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10 Responses to Peanut Butter Cookies

  1. The flours in North America had me baffled for some time too. I have not found any such thing as Self Raising flour in my 2 years here. Curious. I wonder if it is an English/Australian invention? I am always looking up how much baking powder or baking soda or whatever it is that I should add to convert it to S.R. flour for my Australian recipes. The idea of bleaching flour is a scary one, and it’s hard to find flour that is not “enriched” as well. I forgot about all these little nuances that made it interesting and at times challenging when settling in to a new place. I do remember the different flours here being a major source of frustration for me though Nat 🙂 Wholefoods is a great shop but a little pricey here. I went to Costco the other day for the first time. Quite something. I was especially taken with the cheese section! A very dangerous place for spending lots but buying in bulk so hopefully saving in the long run. And have you come across Trader Joe’s? I’ve heard people rave about it for organic/healthy type foods and decent prices. Still haven’t been myself as they are only in the States.

    • natalie says:

      Yes I love Trader Joe’s. It is where I do the bulk of the food shopping. I have also found a brilliant fruit and veg shop. I have gone to Costco and just felt overwhelmed but maybe I’ll look at their flour range next time. I have been experimenting a little more and found 2 good unbleached all-purpose flours – one is a local one! I’m having pretty good success and will save the cake flour for cakes only. The unbleached is the trick!

  2. Vena says:

    Hi Natalie,

    Thanks for that lovely reminder of those biscuits. Never thought Gwenyth and I had much in common apart from weird names and more recently pilates. Anyway you have sent me on a mission for the weekend as I haven’t made those biscuits for years and have lost the recipe somewhere deep in the pantry. If I remember they use salted peanuts just to add even more salt to the mixture ….salty peanuts and chocolate in anything like biscuits or icecream are one of my all time food fetishes. No doubt I will be having the smooth crunchy debate with Mia when making them…she likes smooth I like crunchy. “Why do you always want things with bits in them.” I think those (only in America) peanut chips you discovered would probably be highly acceptable to her. Trader Joes is a good tip and they also sell these yummy mango icecream bars that may be familiar to you. Keep eating and blogging and stay well Cheers Vena

    • natalie says:

      There you go Vena. You and GP are tight! Salted peanuts – I will throw in some next time. The salty/sweet contrast sounds morish. I just picked up Thomas Kellers new book ‘Bouchon Bakery’ and there is a recipe for Caramel Popcorn with salted spanish peanuts. Alas, no chocolate, but I have a feeling it could be very delicious so I might give it a go.
      I’m with you, crunchy peanut butter. Lots of bits! We saw the mango bars and the kids got super excited but I didn’t register that they were Weis bars!!! I’ll buy some tomorrow!
      I was thinking of you Sunday when we all went out for pho. Lots of Vietnamese places around. Levi was in heaven – he has even started getting into the chilli sauce. Nat x

  3. Kristina says:

    Hi Natalie….found those peanut butter chips at Ashgrove Fresh Fruit Market!!

  4. Megan Daley says:

    I just made these for the third time! I’ve been adding big flakes of coconut instead of the chip things and its YUM. Just made a double batch and did the roll in logs and freeze thing…my favourite trick so I always have biscuits ready to bake! Thanks for this one Nat!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Natalie…YUM! I made these last night and they are a huge hit. I used chopped nuts instead of the chips and it was really good. I can admit with only a small amount of shame that the uncooked dough is also delicious. Oops.

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