Peanut Butter Chip Vanilla Cookies

1

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


My mum and my oldest friend Jo both use the same expression when they get excited about food.  I remember Jo once telling me about a pasta dish she'd come up with, and the end of the story went like this:  'And you add some chilli flakes, and it's yum!'.  My mum, pulling together a quick snack of something I don't particularly care for, will look at me with playfully defensive eyes and exclaim 'it's yum!'.  'It's yummy', I always try to correct her.  'Yum isn't a word'.  'No, it's yum', and then the matter is closed because we've reached a stalemate and I know I'll never win this fight.



I'm now oddly fond of the expression, and fear that one day soon I'll begin using it myself and will stand to be corrected by others who just haven't caught on yet.  So here, have some yum peanut butter chip cookies, infused with as much vanilla as you heart desires (mine desires lots, always) and underbaked to a deliciously chewy consistency.


Peanut Butter Chip Vanilla Cookies
Yield: 20-30 cookies

480g plain flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
285g unsalted butter
350g light brown sugar
140g caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

400g peanut butter chocolate chips


Method:

1. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  Set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and creamy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated.
4. Stir in the vanilla.
5. Add the dry ingredients until just combined.
6. Stir in the peanut butter chips.
7. Scoop into balls.
8. Refrigerate your cookie dough balls for at least half an hour.  (If you plan to eat all of them straight from the oven, then this doesn't matter so much.  If you're going to cook the batch and leave them to cool, I recommend chilling them as it adds to the chewiness.)
9. Heat the oven to 175C.  Place your cookie dough balls two inches apart on a baking tray and cook for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges, but still soft in the middle.
10. Leave to cool on the baking tray for ten minutes - if you try to take them off straight away they'll fall apart!  Then transfer to a wire rack.

Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

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Monday, 24 March 2014


I came across some peanut butter chips in my cupboard that would soon be out of date.  This doesn't happen to me with such exciting ingredients.  Ever.  But, because they're imported and therefore expensive, I tuck them into the back of the cupboard, saving them for the must-make recipe that I will undoubtedly come across.  Only to sometimes hold out for too long.




What this means, though, is that I can have fun using up a bag and a half of peanut butter chips in one weekend!  I can try them in things without worrying too much that they won't work out.  I wasn't sure about peanut butter chips in brownies, even though I know chocolate and peanut butter go deliciously well together.  But these are moreish.  I brought them to work and they disappeared before the end of the day in a building full of women still trying not to eat sugar after the Christmas craze.



Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

280g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), broken into pieces
280g unsalted butter
4 medium eggs (or 3 large ones)
280g caster sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
125g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
 160g peanut butter chips (I used Reese's)

+ Pre-heat the oven to 180C fan.
+ Butter and line a 23cm square tin.

1. Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water.  Place to one side to cool.
2. Mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until light and frothy.
3. Once cooled, fold in the melted chocolate and butter mixture.
4. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder.
5. Stir in the peanut butter chips.
6. Pour into your baking tin and cook for 20-25 minutes.  I love my brownies to be ridiculously gooey, so I take them out at 20 minutes.  The top should be crisp but the middle will be moist.  For firmer, easier-to-eat brownies, leave them in for a few minutes longer.  Turn out onto a wire rack to cool before cutting up.

Banana Bread with Walnuts

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Monday, 10 March 2014



I used to be a banana bread purist.  No nuts, no other fruits, no chocolate - just bananas and, if you're lucky, a touch of cinnamon.


This time I thought I'd be brave, and I'm so glad I was.  This banana bread is delicious; who knew banana and walnut would go so well together (well, okay, Paul Hollywood clearly did, as I'm sure did most of you).  But I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe.  It was easy to bring together - unusually starting with mixing the bananas and sugar together, and then the butter - reasonably quick to cook, and delicious both warm and cold.  I'm a convert to walnuts in my banana bread, that's for sure.


Banana Bread with Walnuts
Source: Paul Hollywood's How to Bake, p233


3 large (or 4 medium) ripe bananas, mashed

250g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, softened
2 medium eggs
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
120g walnut pieces


+ Pre-heat oven to 190C, or 170C fan.
+ Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.


Method:

1. Cream together the bananas and sugar until fluffy.
2. Add the butter and beat until combined.
3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each.
4. Sift in the remaining flour and baking powder, and fold in carefully.
5. Fold in the walnuts.
6. Spoon the mixture into your loaf tin, spreading evenly to the sides.  Bake for forty minutes, or until a knife comes out clean (mine took fifty minutes, and burnt a little!).  Remove from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Cookies

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Friday, 7 March 2014


Spring is in the air, I can feel it.  It's still light at half past five in the evening, and when my alarm goes off before seven in the morning it's no longer pitch black outside my windows.  This month the clocks go forward, and then it's Easter, and my birthday, and summer's just around the corner. 

Raspberries always make me think of summer; warm days, more daylight than darkness, and the smell of freshly cut grass.  These cookies would make the perfect treat to take on a picnic as they're lovely and sweet and would balance out the savoury offerings your friends might bring along.

I've made these two different ways over the years, first with fresh raspberries, then with frozen ones.  Frozen seems to work the best (fresh just break up and turn the whole mixture pink), but be warned that they thaw extremely quickly once handled so these would be better made with a mixer/spoon and then a scoop, rather than by hand.  I made mine by hand and they turned out fine, but it was a little messy!


White Chocolate and Raspberry Cookies
Yield: 20-40 cookies, depending on size

480g plain flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
285g unsalted butter
350g light brown sugar
140g caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

150g frozen raspberries, chopped up
150g white chocolate chocolate chips


Method:

1. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  Set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and creamy - about five minutes.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated.
4. Stir in the vanilla.
5. Add the dry ingredients until just combined.
6. Stir in the raspberries and chocolate chips.
7. Scoop into balls.
8. Refrigerate your cookie dough balls for at least half an hour, as it adds to the chewiness.
9. Heat the oven to 175C fan.  Cook on a baking tray for 10-12 minutes until golden brown around the edges, but still soft in the middle.
10. Leave to cool on the baking tray for ten minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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