by Anna on January 31, 2013
In what must surely be firm proof that time flies, today is the first birthday of Sweet Peas and Green Tea. It feels like five minutes since I pressed publish on my first post, not a whole year. Thank you for reading. This space has brought me so much joy. Here’s to a few more years. I was originally going to use today to write about one of my all-time favourite cakes (a pear, raspberry and sour cream number from the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook), despite the fact that I had the post you now see below all ready to go. Then I read Emily’s post about perfection and overcoming fear and the Kitchn’s article entitled ‘On Being Ok With Boring‘, I couldn’t ignore that the universe was trying to tell me that it wanted cookies. So cookies it is!
I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to criticising what I cook. In other words, I’m never satisfied. A couple of years ago I baked a citrus olive oil that was going to taste like a little slice of heaven. The reality, unsurprisingly, fell far short of my expectations. The scent and flavour of the olive oil was so grassy and unrefined that the cake was tinged with green; so close to savoury there was no way it going to satisfy a 4.00 pm sugar craving. The whole episode was so disappointing I threw the cake away. (What? It was just sitting there on the kitchen bench taunting me with its unsatisfied potential). I returned home later that day to find my housemates happily munching away, having rescued the cake from the bin. They thought I was mad for chucking it. It was perfectly fine, tasty even, they said. Leaving aside the fact that you’d have to be mad to eat a cake out of the bin (love you girls!), the point is I didn’t want an adequate cake. I wanted the best freakin’ olive oil cake you’ve ever had.
This (quirk?) is how I came to attempt to bake every single peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe ever written. Sure, that recipe from Baked was delicious (my Friend-With-The-Awesome-Name tells me they make for a very satisfying dinner) but could really be The One? No way. And so, I moved right along. After flirting with a couple more recipes, none of which came close to the Baked recipe, I gave myself a good mental slapping and reminded myself that striving for perfection is exhausting and counter-productive. Short of a choir of angels appearing when you take a bite, these cookies couldn’t be better. (The citrus olive oil cake, on the other hand, remains illusive. I’d love to hear if you have a favourite recipe).
These cookies are soft and chewy, certainly not snappy and crisp. However, unlike other recipes I tried, these are not dense. The crumb is so tender the cookies dissolve into a mess of peanut butter and chocolate as you eat them. Yum. I like my cookies extra soft so I underbaked these, taking them out of the oven at the 10 minute mark. As a result they veer towards delicate. If you want yours a little sturdier, leave them in for 12-13 minutes. They’ll still be chewy but a bit more sturdy.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe adapted very liberally from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito)
170 g butter, at room temperature
150 g (3/4 c) white sugar
150 g (3/4 c) brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c peanut butter (crunchy or smooth but I wouldn’t advise using the all natural stuff)
200 g (1 1/3 c) plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
120 g chocolate chips (milk chocolate or dark)
1. Preheat the oven to 190′C/375′F. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
2. In a stand mixer beat together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and peanut butter. Beat until incorporated into the butter mixture.
4. Add half the flour mixture to the butter. Mix for 15 seconds. Add the rest of the flour and beat until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips by hand. Refrigerate for at 3 hours (I’ve refrigerated it for up to 2 days without any problems).
5. When you’re ready to bake the biscuits, roll heaped tablespoons of dough into balls and place on the baking trays a few centimetres apart. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are turning golden at the edges (they should still be soft to touch). Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.