Thursday, July 8, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

These peanut butter cookies, dare I say, are the best you could ever possibly make. I will never try a different recipe again. That's how good these are (I'm not too terribly dramatic, am I?). These are a version of what they sell at the Magnolia Bakery in New York. They are cakey and soft and covered in sugar. I'm a peanut butter cookie purist and don't like a lot of add-ins but I think the original recipe calls for chocolate chips and peanuts. I can see why as they are very rich and very plain, although, I mean that in the best way possible. But, the addition of a semi-sweet chocolate chip or two might cut the peanut-butterness of it down a notch which might be welcoming for some people. If you like a lot of things going on in your cookies, by all means, add them in at the end after you have made your dough and then bake.

I used to eat at this place called BJ's Brewery when I lived in California and they used to have something on the menu called a pazooki. I don't know why it was called that as it seemed it was just cookie dough baked in a skillet instead of on a sheet with ice cream on top. Whatever it is, they were incredible. It's a chain restaurant, I believe, so it's strange to me that something from there could be that delicious. It's probably because they were just baked and who doesn't loved fresh baked cookies? My favorite version of this pazooki was the peanut butter, so imagine my delight when I first bit into this very cookie and it took me right back to the memory of the pazooki. I have yet to try making this cookie into a pazooki, so I can't give specific instructions, but if you just happened to have individual sized skillets on hand (or another heavy, bigger baking device like an oval gratin dish) you could just pat some of this dough in an even layer across the bottom of the dish and bake until done (probably just a bit longer than it takes to bake a cookie). Place a hefty scoop of vanilla bean ice cream down over it while still warm and voila! However, if you just choose to make the cookies instead like I did, they won't taste any less incredible.

Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter, at room temperature (I used smooth, but you can use chunky)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature*
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter chips or peanuts

For sprinkling: 1/4 cup regular sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, 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 throughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips and peanuts/peanut butter chips, if using. Place the sprinkling sugar (about 1/4 cup) on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, and roll them around in it, then onto un-greased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a criss-cross pattern but do not overly flatten the cookies. Bake for 10-12 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.

makes about 30 smaller cookies or 20 bigger ones

*oh snap, you started making the cookies and just now realized your egg should be at rom temperature, but it's not. No problem! Just put the egg in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes to take the chill off and use.

The only thing I beg of you is to not skip the step of rolling the cookies in the sugar. That's what makes them in my opinion. Also, use regular sugar for the rolling. In the most recent batch I made of these I used bakers sugar, which is very fine granulated sugar and it didn't have the same effect. Enjoy!