Verdict: Win

This is the third time I've made flourless peanut butter cookies this summer, and I think that these will be the biggest hit at work. The first time, I made plain cookies. I found them rather boring, but I've never been a big peanut butter cookie fan myself. The second time, I thought it'd be brilliant if I stuffed caramels in cookie for a ooey gooey center, but of course the gooeyness didn't last once the cookies cooled. This time I went for a "payday" cookie, dipping the cookies in a makeshift caramel sauce and pressing nuts into the caramel. The resulting cookie was dense and crumbly with a crunchy caramelly top. I'm pleased.

Another thing that I do like about this recipe is that it is simple and versatile. The ingredients and quantities are easy to remember, and the sugar content can be tweaked to one's preference.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies adapted from Joy the Baker, originally from The Gourmet Cook Book
Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup all-natural chunky or smooth peanut butter
1 cup sugar (1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar)
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with butter and set aside. In a mixer combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg and baking soda and mix for another 2 minutes. Roll into walnut sized balls and create a cris-cross pattern with a fork, if desired. If you’d like, add a few chocolate pieces to the top of the cookies. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a baking sheet for two minutes, then transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely.

***Additional ideas
1. Mix in chocolate chips to the dough before baking.
2. For caramel-nut topping...
Ingredients: about 30 Kraft caramels (gluten free!), chopped nuts (like ice cream toppings), 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
Directions: Roll cookie dough into balls slightly smaller than a ping pong ball, then gently flatten each before baking. Bake as recipe above calls for. While baking, prepare the caramel sauce by melting caramels and heavy cream in a small pot over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally, then allow to cool slightly. Once the cookies are baked and completely cooled, dip each top in caramel sauce (the sauce consistency should be smooth enough to easily coat the top and may be a little hot. May need to reheat the caramel as necessary). Then dip in a bowl of the chopped nuts. Set aside on rack and allow to cool.


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