Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Healthier Peanut Butter Cookies

I am sure that my favorite food combination is peanut butter and chocolate. I am also sure that as a man who clearly understood women, Mr. "Reese's" was probably pretty popular with the ladies! In fact, if my home is any indication, he was probably equally popular with the guys too!

Since we have adopted a healthier eating plan, Mr. "Reese's" is only allowed special visits to our home. Christmas, Halloween, Mother's & Father's day, Easter, Flag day...all justifiable holidays for indulging in a little "heaven in a cup". The rest of the year (at least until we can find another holiday!) we must "settle" our chocolate/peanut butter craving in other ways, like peanut butter cookies.

A good peanut butter cookie starts with good peanut butter. Sorry Peter Pan, I'm not going to run to the store in a Jif, and Skippy down the aisle to purchase a partially hydrogenated, corn syrupy product that only lists peanuts at the BOTTOM of the ingredient list! The best peanut butter is one that has peanuts FIRST, followed by salt. Peanuts make their own oil and that is what you see on the top of the healthier versions.

So now you're thinking, "Oh, no! Not the dreaded hard-to-mix stuff that Mom used to make us eat!" I remember that kind too.

In fact, I use it.

The difference is...I use a mixer to mix it up! Not a wooden spoon! Try it. You might like it.

After mixing the peanut butter, do NOT wash your mixing bowl! No reason to, and honestly, why would you want to create more work for yourself? Or, in my case, my children. Wait a minute...did I just say that?

Mix 1 cup peanut butter (I prefer crunchy, but creamy is good too!) with 1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter.

Add 1 & 1/4 cup light brown sugar. Remember to use organic if possible. Takes away a little of the guilt!

Blend well.

Add 3 Tb. cream, 1 Tb. vanilla and 1 egg. Mix it all in.

If you have a grain mill, grind up some soft, white wheat. If not, you can find pre-ground soft wheat at most grocery stores. Peanut butter cookies are one of the only cookies that actually taste better with the wheat.
Add 2 cups of soft, white wheat flour, along with 1 Tb. baking soda and 1/2 Tb. sea salt.

Mix ingredients together until just blended.

While mixing, add a couple of handfuls, or 4, of chocolate chips. This is where I'm supposed to tell you to use a healthier alternative like carob chips, but in all good conscience, I can't. I am not a fan.

Now, this is some good-looking cookie dough! Tastes even better!

Just ask Matthew. Shhhh...don't tell the other kids.
Drop by teaspoon onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I use a small ice cream scoop. Using a fork or meat tenderizer, dip in flour and slightly flatten.

Uh-oh. I may have a mutiny on my hands. The little one ran his mouth. Proof that wisdom doesn't come until later in life. Poor boy.

Bake in 375 F. oven for 7-9 minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack. These stayed in the oven for an extra minute, so they're a little more done than normal. But it wasn't my fault.... was Molly's. She smelled peanut butter. Another fan of Mr. "Reese's".
P.B. & C. Cookies (the condensed version)
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 Tb. cream
1 Tb. vanilla
1 egg
2 cups soft, white wheat
1 Tb. baking soda
1/2 Tb. sea salt
1 cup (give or take) chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375. Combine peanut butter and butter. Mix well. Add brown sugar and mix. Add cream, vanilla and egg. Mix. Add flour, soda and salt and mix just until blended. Add chocolate chips. Add some more. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork. Bake 7-9 minutes. Cool for a couple of minutes on cookie sheet then move to wire rack. Make some decaf and enjoy!

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