Sunday, March 1, 2015

Peanut Butter, Death & Taxes


What a great start to March. It's dark, cold, snowy…why not spend the day doing taxes? Oh sure, I could have gone to brunch, had a mani/pedi, seen one of the Oscar flicks that I missed...but why, when the call of the IRS was so strong? Having a glass of wine seemed sadly, wrong, what with all of the simple arithmetic and attempts to figure out my farm income and alimony received. TMI? 

Baking is a good procrastinatory measure and a little sugar never hurts when math is involved. This peanut butter cookie recipe ran in the NY Times late last year and is a pretty close approximation to the City Bakery peanut butter cookie (in case you are a fan). Normally I stick with my simplified, 5 ingredient version, but this one is pretty…pretty…pretty good. I like that the name references one of my favorite packaged cookies of all time: The Pecan Sandie, or, as Keebler officially calls them, the Keebler Sandies Pecan Shortbread cookies. (With registered trademarks throughout too BTW.) This particular recipe makes a much saltier, denser and softer variety than Keebler (and also peanut obvi) and I highly recommend giving them a try, even if you aren't doing your taxes.  And I'm not anymore…cuz I'm done! JEALOUS??


Peanut Butter Sandies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups unsweetened peanut butter, creamy or chunky
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
Flaky sea salt and coarse sugar for sprinkling (or use kosher salt and granulated sugar)

1. Heat the oven to 350˚F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter and eggs, and mix. Add the flour and salt and mix just until well combined, with no white flour showing.

2. Using a small cookie scoop (about 2 teaspoons capacity), scoop dough onto the prepared pans. The tops will be rounded but craggy. The cookies will not spread much or change shape when they bake, so they can be placed quite close together, but leave room for air circulation so they can brown.

3. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 tablespoon salt. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with sugar-salt mixture, getting it into the crags and crannies. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are set and golden-brown. Carefully lift or slide off baking sheets and cool on racks. Store in layers separated by parchment paper, in airtight containers.

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