Ready, Set…

Peanut butter cookies

Last night rather unexpectedly marked the beginning of the Christmas cookie train for me this year. It all started innocently enough: Freyja was being a pill, so I made her up a peanut butter Kong (natural peanut butter mixed with some of her kibble and packed inside one of her Kongs). She spent a few hours trying to suck every bit of peanutty goodness out of the Kong while we watched our new copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on HD-DVD. The unintended side effect of doggie distraction was that the entire room smelled like peanut butter, and all of a sudden I found myself craving peanut butter cookies.

Foodie bride to the rescue! I remembered having just seen a perfect-looking peanut butter cookie recipe on Shawnda’s blog, so I whipped up a batch, and they really hit the spot. My very minor adjustments: I replaced half of the AP flour with white whole wheat, used natural peanut butter because it was already out, doled out smallish rounds of dough with my cookie scoop onto a preheated baking stone and pressed 3 milk chocolate chips in the top of each cookie. They were perfectly baked at 11 minutes, golden brown on the edges and still soft in the middle.

I was planning to start my official holiday cookie-baking marathon this weekend, and I don’t want to let this impromptu baking session throw me off. The bigger concern is the doctor’s appointment I had this morning: I took the glucose test for gestational diabetes, a standard test at this point in my pregnancy. Yes, I see the irony of making a fresh batch of peanut butter cookies the night before taking my glucose test. The bad part is that if I do end up having gestational diabetes, I’ll find out just in time to disrupt all of my Christmas dessert plans. Wish me luck!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 stick butter, at room temp
1/2 C smooth peanut butter
1/2 C dark brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 C all-purpose and/or white whole flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 C chocolate chips or chopped honey-roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 375F. Cream the butter and peanut butter on medium high for 1 minute. Add sugars and beat at for another minute or two, until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and mix until smooth. Add flour, baking soda and salt on low speed until thoroughly combined. Mix in chocolate chips or peanuts (the dough will be quite soft). If desired, chill dough for 15-20 minutes. (Room temperature dough yields a flatter, chewier cookie; the chilled dough produces a puffier cookie.)

Drop the dough by 2-T rounds onto a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet (I use a disher to make this easier). If you like, use a greased fork to form the traditional criss-cross. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden brown. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Alternately, use a quarter-cup measure or disher to make bakery-sized cookies that will need to bake for about 25 minutes.

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride.

Update 4/14/08: My first shot at baking since Nolan arrived was another batch of these cookies. They came out great, and I got most of them baked off before it was time to go pump again. Added semi-sweet chocolate chips to the dough upon request, and didn’t bother chilling the dough before baking—on my hot baking stone, they stayed nice and puffy. I baked 10 minutes, and tapped them down with the spatula before cooling slightly and removing to a rack.

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