Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

There are so many recipes for peanut butter cookies out there, but this is one I keep going back to.
 I usually add chocolate chips because that's how my family likes them, but we like chocolate on almost everything, so the choice is yours. Just before baking peanut butter cookies the tradition is to use a fork dipped in granulated sugar. I like to get creative and use things with fun textures, a glass with a fancy cut bottom, or a meat mallet. You can also use an old fashion cookie press. Not the kind you use like a cookie gun; these are made from wood or glass and you hand press them on the dough before you put it in the oven. The brand or type of peanut butter can make a difference in the moisture and texture of your cookie. Some bands are higher in sugar and so the dough is a moister dough. The less sugar in the brand usually means the more milk you will need to add. If you are using natural or the kind you grind yourself at the store, I recommend adding all the milk. Whether or not you use butter or margarine also makes a difference in the moisture of the dough. Margarine has water in it, making a moist dough; butter is tastier but no added water. It's all in your taste, health and what's in the frig. Your dough should be moist but not gooey wet, but too dry and you have a crumbly mess. The kitchen is one big chemistry lab and you just have to experiment with things a little. Funny how I completely failed at chem, but I do okay in the kitchen.

1 cup butter at room temp or margarine
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 baking soda
3 Tbs milk, as needed
chocolate chips to taste - optional
about 1/4 cup sugar for pressing

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix butter and peanut butter; add brown and granulated sugar. Mix until well blended, smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each egg; add in vanilla. Combined the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture. Depending on the dryness of your dough add in the milk one tablespoon at a time. The dough should be moist, but not so moist you can't handle it. Fold in chocolate chips if desired. Shape dough into balls using a heaping tablespoon of dough and place on greased cookie sheet. Useing a fork or cookie press or whatever cool thing you want to try, dip that cool gaget in the sugar for pressing and press each cookie ball. Bake cookies in preheated 375F oven for 9 minutes, until just golden.  Once baked remove cookies from baking sheet to a opened brown paper bag to cool. Once cooled cookies should be stored in an air tight container.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Made with chocolate chips and dried cherries
These yummy, chewy cookies are one of my favorites. I add different things to the recipe depending on my mood and the time of year. Some of my favorite add ins are raisins, chocolate chips, coconut, granola, dried fruit or a mix of things. I've used a mix from the Winnco bulk section, I think it was called Thanksgiving  or Harvest granola with white and butterscotch chips, craisins, candied walnuts and chopped dried apples. I broke the walnut halves into smaller pieces and it worked great. I think my favorite add in is dried cherries and chocolate chips.

Thanksgiving mix from Winnco
 For measuring purposes, I used raisins in this recipe.   
1 cup butter at room temp or margarine
1 cup shortening
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup canister sugar
4 eggs at room temp
2 Tbs Vanilla
3 cups instant rolled oatmeal (regular can be used)
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
2 cups raisins (optional- you can substitute the raisins for chocolate chips chopped fried fruit, chopped nuts or a combinations of all, be creative.)

Preheat oven to 375degrees. Prepare greased cookie sheets. In a large bowl, mix butter and shortening till smooth. Slowly add in both the brown and canister sugars to the butter mixture; add eggs one at a time, mixing after each egg; add vanilla. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition; mix until until blended and smooth. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and add to butter and sugar mixture.
Fold in raisins. Drop by tablespoon to greased cookie sheet and bake for 9 minutes or just until golden and no longer looks wet. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack, paper bag or paper towel until cool enough to eat then hide them so you don't eat them all at once. Store in an air tight container. Makes about 6 dozen.
Made with Thanksgiving mix and picture taken with bad lighting