I've been craving a good Peanut Butter cookie lately. Local bakeries tend to leave them grossly underbaked, so I am left with only one option: to make them at home. Of course, this is no problem.
But I also have these (despicable) Tollhouse semi-sweet chocolate chips that I am dying to get rid of...and...I've also been wanting to make a chocolate chip cookie with oatmeal, finely processed oatmeal.
And so I shall have them all -- a peanut butter-hued, chocolate chipped, processed-oatmeal cookie. Yum. Now I just have to figure out how to make it work.
Because it's the first cookbook I see, I opened up The Dessert Bible by Chris Kimball. Flipping to the "drop and shaped cookies" section, I found a recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies that was prefaced with the famous Neiman Marcus Cookie story. (For chrissakes enough with that cookie recipe already, everyone's article cites a different recipe!) I decided to proportion my ingredients to match Kimball's recipe, with a few minor changes and additions.
The minor Alterations
First, of course, was the addition of Peanut Butter. A typical peanut butter cookie recipe uses a cup of peanut butter, smooth, chunky, or otherwise. I decide that a generous 1/2 cup of peanut butter will provide the needed flavor without screwing with the cookie's texture. I felt that knocking the butter down 1/2 stick (or 2 oz. or 4 tbsp.) would be appropriate to maintaining the intended dough consistency. Plus, it's nearly an even substitution calorically, if anyone's counting.
Classier cookbooks ask for natural peanut butter because it contains less salt (and other additives like MSG and sugar). I opt for Smucker's Natural because the peanut oils do not separate as much as health store jar butters do. Despite this helpful feature, Smucker's does lack natural peanut flavor (see this PB ratings guide), but I guess you can't get everything right.
The New Recipe: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1.5 cups (12 tbsp.) butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar [up to 3/4th cup is fine, I just ran out at a 1/2]
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter [I used Smucker's Natural, which was nearly smooth]
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
III. Dry goods
2 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups oatmeal, ground in processor until finely cut [mealy, not like a fine flour]
1 tsp. baking powder
8 oz. (about 1.5 cups) of good chocolate chips
*V. Advised and Revised (see below)
2 tbsp. sourcream (or whole milk yogurt if you're out)
In a stand mixer - beat the butter just to mush it up, then add the sugars and beat until it starts to appear whipped (until curled edges, say 3 minutes). Scrape the whipped butter-sugar off the sides and add the Peanut Butter; beat until the same effect happens again (less than a minute on medium).
Add the eggs one at a time and beat until just combined. Then do the same with the vanilla.
The flour, baking powder, and finely chopped oats should be combined well in a separate - no pockets of powder should be visible. With a rubber ____, combine the flour in two parts. Basically, you don't want to beat the crap out of the dough ball. I would recommend a 15 minute rest in the refrigerator, but this step is not scientifically crucial.
I used my new Scooper (56mm) to cup the dough into balls - I ended up with 18 cookies. Place about 9 cookies on a baking sheet, flatten them slightly (they will not spread much, and then place them in the middle of a 360-degrees oven. I don't trust 350-degrees with thick cookies like these.
Visuals: The cookie is paler than cookies made with more brown sugar, and also flatter. More appealing than Kimball's "Best," but not gourmet bakery sexy.
Texture/Mouthfeel: Firm outer skin, but all PB-moist inside. The chocolate chips add a much needed snap; nuts, as a replacement or addition, would provide a similar crunch. The interior, due to the oats and sticky PB, draws moisture away from your mouth. You'll start to want some milk, bad.
Taste: Good-great. The peanut butter shines through, and the oat-enhanced cookie dough around it tastes swell as well. The Tollhouse Chocolate Chips, though, are weak in flavor. Use them if you must, but look for a better alternative (remember, don't put in a whole damn bag of chip).
*With the mouth moisture reduction and ensuing craving for milk, I thought that a couple tablespoons of sour cream or whole milk yogurt would add more moisture to the cookies, and also contrast the peanut butter with a little sour. That would be awesome.
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