Thursday, May 21, 2015

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are my favorite! My mom always made these when we were growing up and at Christmas, as a special treat, she'd make them with a Hershey's Kiss on top. Anyway, I never go to a cookie shop without asking for peanut butter cookies, but there's nothing like homemade. With this particular recipe, it makes so much more than I need, so I like to bake about half of them to keep around and freeze the other half of the dough.

To freeze the dough, I lay down a large piece of cling film, dump the dough on top and use the film to manipulate the dough into a long log. Patience is needed here because it takes a few minutes. Once I have it in the shape I want, I wrap the log in baking parchment or greaseproof paper and freeze it over night. The next day I take it out of the paper and wrap the dough log tightly in cling film and put it back in the freezer. Whenever I fancy a few cookies, I just slice off a few 1 inch pieces and bake them at 180°C for 7 to 9 minutes. They aren't as pretty when they've been frozen, but they taste amazing and this way, you can bake only a couple at a time instead of having 30 cookies lying around.

TIP: To keep your cookies chewy and soft, store them in an airtight container with a slice of store-bought white sandwich bread. The bread will get hard and the cookies will stay chewy and soft.

1 cup smooth peanut butter (or use a whole 340g jar)
250g butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar plus more for coating
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups plain flour

1. Beat the butter and peanut butter together with an electric mixer in a large mixing bowl for about 30 seconds or until smooth and combined.

2. Add both sugars, baking soda and baking powder, beating until combined. If necessary, use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides.

3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.

4. Beat in as much of the flour as possible. When it gets too sticky, stir in any remaining flour.

5. Cover the bowl with cling film and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour or until cool enough that it's easy to handle.

6. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

7. Using your hands, shape the dough into small balls just smaller than a golf ball. Roll the balls in additional granulated sugar to coat and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

8. Flatten each cookie with a fork in a criss-cross fashion to create a lattice pattern and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are a light golden brown.

9. Leave the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for at least one minute before transferring to a wire rack or cool plate to cool further. Alternatively, eat them warm. 

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