Friday, December 21, 2007

Milk and Cookies.

Chocolate Espresso Shortbread

The other day while on the phone with my sister, my adorable 3-year old nephew could be heard in the background pleading (in the cutest voice ever) for a treat. "Miwk and cookies....puhweese?" At that moment I wished I could reach through the phone, take his little hand in mine and head on into the kitchen to bake up a fresh batch of cookies. In fact, I can't wait for the next time I see him so we can do just that. Baking is such a wonderful activity to do with children as it's often so hands on. Cookies are especially fun to get your hands in, a deliciously flavoured play dough that you can shape and decorate any which way.

Well in the absence of my nephew, or any other children for that matter, I decided to whip up a few batches on my own. I figured, if anything, my girlfriends would appreciate a holiday gift box of homemade treats. At this time of year, cookie recipes are in abundance. "Pick me, pick me!", they shout from the glossy pages of magazines or from the drool-worthy blogs I read. One of my favourite bloggers, Smitten Kitchen, happened to post two cookie recipes that trumped all others - Chocolate Espresso Shortbread and Peanut Butter Cookies. The Chocolate Espresso Shortbread has a wonderfully deep, dark and slightly bitter flavour that pairs perfectly with a steaming cup of coffee. These are substantially buttery and crisp but remain light and not overly sweet. I followed the Dorie Greenspan recipe from Baking: From My Home To Yours on Smitten Kitchen's blog, which can be found here.

I know Peanut Butter Cookies don't sound so original, especially with the myriad of choices. But Peanut Butter Cookies are one of my favourite cookies and I have yet to discover a recipe that meets my expectations. This recipe, with a few tweaks, proved deliciously peanutty and the perfect combination of crisp and chewy textures. The full-on peanut flavour comes by way of peanut butter and the an addition of chopped salted peanuts. A sprinkling of mini chocolate chips takes the cookie to the next level. Next time I will omit the final sprinkling of sugar before baking as it just scooted past my sugar threshold.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies - Adapted from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter (not natural) at room temperature (I used ¾ cup smooth and ¼ cup crunchy)
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon (for sprinkling) sugar (omit the extra sprinkling for less of a sugary mouth feel)
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup salted peanuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanuts and chocolate chips. If using, place sprinkling sugar on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisscross pattern but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not over bake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Homemade Cookie Gift Boxes

2 comments:

Tartelette said...

That shortread looks outstanding! I might have some time left to make it for Santa!

One Food Guy said...

There is nothing better than a cold glass of milk and a fresh baked cookie hot out of the oven!