Peanut Butter Cookies

I feel the end of summer creeping up behind me and the panic arises within: have I lived summer to its fullest? Did we squeeze the last drop of sunshine out of each and every day? Probably not, but we have had tons of fun  and that qualifies as success in my book. Yet I realize that we haven’t made any cookies! Sure, we have bought ice cream sandwiches from the corner store and made chocolate banana bread, but no cookies. It’s time to rectify that oversight pronto.

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I spent many afternoons mixing together chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies on my summers off from school, ready to be devoured right out of the oven. Peanut butter cookies with their simple cross hatch and light crunch of sugar, make it one of my favorites. My dad remembers my grandma making peanut butter cookies when he was a child as well.  I wanted to try a version with our pantry staple peanut butter, Adams. Adams brand doesn’t include any added sugar and this can be a problem with some recipes. I used the Adams Creamy No Stir peanut butter in this recipe. The cookie turned out exactly like I wanted, crisp outside and slightly chewy. The addition of almond extract adds a nice depth of flavor.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe is mildly adapted from L.V. Anderson’s Peanut Butter Cookies. I used a bit less almond extract and some extra sugar for rolling, but kept it pretty much the same.

Yield: 2 dozen

Time: 20 minutes, plus chill time and baking

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar for rolling the cookies in

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the peanut butter, brown sugar, and butter until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes on medium low). Turn the speed to low and add in egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Scrape as needed. Mix for 1 minute. Turn the mixer to “stir” and add the flour mixture. Combine until just mixed. Scrape batter out on parchment paper and shape into a log. Roll up and twist the ends (like a tootsie roll) and place in the refrigerator for at least three hours. I put mine in over night.

Once ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and then roll into granulated sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Slightly press each ball with a fork in a cross hatch design. Bake for 10 minutes until slightly browned on the edges. Cool on wire rack and enjoy! Store in an air tight container.

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

It wasn’t until we moved to Seattle that I started staying home full time with our two boys. It seemed as if my little boys, age 6 months and 3 years, were always hungry. Snack time was constantly just around the corner. I started looking for some homemade snacks that I could make and granola bars were a good place to start. It was the perfect diversion from all the “at homeness”. Baking was just the thing I (we) needed to get through those long, hungry days.

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I’ve tried many granola bar recipes since then, but haven’t come across any that were a real keeper in our house. I wanted it to be made up of pantry staples, hold together, be (mildly) nutritious and of course taste great! I think I’ve finally found it.

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I love the combination of peanut butter and honey and the coconut and dried cranberries add a nice counterpoint to the sweet and salty. Now that you mention it, I did just finish off the last two bars so I guess its time to make another round – for the children of course.

 

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

Makes 16 bars

This recipe is adapted from Momskitchenhandbook.com “Our of the Box Granola Bars”. I changed the ingredients slightly, as well as decided to add an egg white after mixing the dry and wet ingredients together. I feel like this really helped the bars to keep their shape, as well as made for a slightly softer bar.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats (I used Old Fashioned)
  • 2/3 cup rice krispy cereal
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 egg white, whipped with a fork until slightly frothy

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line an 8 or 9 in square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a couple inches overhang on the sides.

In a medium bowl, mix together oats, cereal, coconut, cranberries, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl combine honey, maple syrup, canola oil, water and peanut butter. Mix until combined and smooth. Pour honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir with wooden spoon until well combined. Stir in frothy egg white and mix until incorporated. Smile and breath. Smell that? Yum!

Scrape mixture into the prepared pan and press into pan. I like to use a piece of parchment to press it down flat. If using a 9 in pan (as I did), the mixture will be a bit thinner and so if you like thicker bars, just don’t spread it all the way to the edges.

Place pan on the middle rack and bake for 25-30 minutes. The bars will be golden brown and firm. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then lift the bars out of pan using the overhang of parchment paper and place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely and then cut. Store in airtight container. Enjoy!

Cookies

As a stay at home mom in Seattle, I hear a lot about the importance of eating healthy food. We buy organic and eat a vegetarian diet. My two children ages 4 & 1 are encouraged to eat lots of fruit and vegetables as well as eat in moderation. I find myself pouring over articles titled “How to get your child to eat more vegetables” and thumbing through healthy cookbooks. But – it gets a little exhausting. Sometimes, we need to let our hair down a bit and eat chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes.

There is something magical about making cookies with a 4 year old. He wants to pour (and taste) everything. “I pour, you measure” he tells me. We get out all the ingredients and start to make the batter. He stirs and scoops the flour and pretends that he is a digger machine, constantly asking if he can have a lick.  Finally, we scoop the cookies onto the baking sheet and stick them in the oven. The house starts to smell like cookies and I am reminded of all the times I did this same exact process with my mom.

Out come the cookies and little fingers grab one and then another. “One more?” he asks? Sure. How can I say no? Cookies bring a sparkle to his eyes the way broccoli never will.