Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies

Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies and Milk - Photo by Michelle Judd of Taste As You Go
Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies and Milk

In all the years of my childhood, I never experienced what it was like to come home from school to the smell of cookies baking in the oven. Using two hands to stir the Rice Krispies into a gooey, sticky mixture of melted butter and marshmallows, on the other hand... I can feel the soreness in my arm muscles just thinking about that! It's not that we weren't a cookie-loving family... My mother simply preferred to make Rice Krispies Treats whenever she wanted to make something sweet.




Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies - Photo by Michelle Judd of Taste As You Go
Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies

Cookie-baking typically occurred once a year in our house. In the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, our kitchen was transformed into a cookie factory, as my mother, sister, and I baked every type of cookie we could think of. The goal was to ensure a nice variety in our holiday cookie plates. We gave those things to everyone -- neighbors, our teachers, my parents' coworkers, good friends, perfect strangers...

Giving a cookie plate meant getting one in return, so our efforts to get the cookies out of the house were well-intentioned but made in vain. The kitchen was always overflowing with cookies in December.

*light bulb moment*

Maybe that's why Mom shied away from cookies during the rest of the year...

In my mission to bake cookies for reasons unrelated to major holidays, here's my recipe for Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies. Although my recipe card doesn't list them as an ingredient, these cookies can be made with or without the Hershey's Kisses. We just happened to have them in our pantry at the time of baking, so I listened to Stephen's strong urging to top the warm cookies with them. I mean, you really can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate, right?


Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Hershey's Kisses (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter with an electric hand-mixer high speed for 30 seconds.

  3. Add the sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat with hand-mixer until combined. (Start on low speed before increasing the speed to prevent the dry ingredients from flying out of the bowl.)

  4. Add egg and vanilla. Beat with hand-mixer until combined.

  5. Slowly add the flour and beat until combined.

  6. If the dough is too soft, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

  7. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with the tines of a fork, making a criss-cross pattern. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

  8. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to rest on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire baking rack to cool.

  9. If using the Hershey's Kisses, place one candy in the center of each cookie while the cookies are still warm. Allow to cool to room temperature completely before storing to avoid crushing the Kiss, or let cookies cool on a plate in the refrigerator.

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