Sunday, October 16, 2011

Steady Rotation, or How I Like to Spend My Saturday Afternoons

If rice pudding isn’t your thing, how about the easiest peanut butter cookies I’ve ever made?

Cookie Closeup

Yes, indeed, these cookies are my current favorites, in part because the recipe makes a tiny batch, just nine cookies, which makes them very low-key, as far as cookies go.  They have a lovely texture too, delicate and a little crumbly.  They’re soft cookies, slightly cakey cookies, not snappy or crispy cookies.

I’ve been making them all summer long, ever since I had a hankering to make a peanut butter version of this recipe.  I liked that original recipe a lot, but I found that neither the cookies nor the cookie dough keeps very well—they’re best eaten within a day or two.  Don’t let that warning deter you too much because really, with such a small batch of cookies, isn’t it easy to make sure they all get eaten quickly?  Perhaps a little too easy, yes?

Anyway, the latest incarnation of this small-batch recipe is a peanut butter version which borrows the famous flax-egg trick from vegan baking circles.  I like the flax-egg trick!  Water, ground flax seed, some light stirring, a few minutes, and boom: gooey egg replacement, ready to be added to your cookie dough.  I make up the flax egg before mixing the other ingredients, and by the time I’m ready for the flax egg, it’s nice and gooey and perfect for its task of holding everything together.

I got into the habit of making these on Saturday afternoons.  I would finish lunch at home and crave something small and sweet.  Baking a few cookies seemed like the perfect small-time kitchen project to officially launch my weekend (which never feels like it starts until after I’ve done my Saturday morning chores).  Then I’d make myself a mug of iced tea, curl up with my plate of cookies, and read a book on the couch.  Happiness!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Small-Batch Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted from this recipe

Makes 9 cookies

I have a few variations on these cookies too, which I’ll list below.  A good cookie lends itself well to tinkering!  If you have any suggestions for more variations, feel free to share them in the comments.

1/2 tbsp. ground flax seed

1 1/2 tbsp. water

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. flour (I typically use all-purpose flour, whole-wheat pastry flour, or a combination of both.  The all-pastry flour cookie is more delicate than the other options.)

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp. peanut butter

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Nonstick spray

1)  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2)  To make the flax egg, mix the flax seed and water together in a small measuring cup.  Set aside.

3)  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Set aside.

4)  Cream together the butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract, and mix together.  Add the flax egg and mix.

5)  Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture until a dough forms.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

6)  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on the sheet with about two inches between balls.  Use your palm to flatten the ball to about 1/2-inch thickness.  If you like, you can use a fork to make those cute criss-cross patterns on the cookies.

7)  Bake for 12-13 minutes.  Allow them to cool on their baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then remove and eat or allow them to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.


* This is really obvious, but sometimes I like a pure peanut butter cookie, so I leave out the chocolate chips.

* For an oatmeal-peanut butter-chocolate chip cookie, I add 2 tbsp. rolled oats along with the chocolate chips.


Vale ♥ said...

Those look so yummy ! Love Peanut butter, it is not easy to find in Italy, shame ! Kisses

Chrissy (The New Me) said...

Yum. These look lovely.

I think I need to instill a weekend ritual that means it's time to unwind and relax. Without a regular 40 hours a week job, I find it's harder to have a routine and turn the "work mode" on an off. Baking sounds like an excellent way to kick anything off!

Rosiecat said...

Ah, Vale, I've heard that peanut butter is hard to find in Europe! I'm so sorry to hear that's true in Italy too. If I lived across the pond, I'd totally be stocking my suitcase with peanut butter ;-)

I'd love to share a tray of these with you, Chrissy (a vegan tray, of course). Most academics have to find ways to turn off their work mode because it's so easy for us to work all the time. For me, I try to reserve evenings and one weekend day to rest and recharge. But sometimes, I have papers that must be read or a talk to prepare, so I'm also flexible (I almost wrote "flaxible--ha!) to make sure I meet my goals. Good luck! I'm sure you'll find your groove.

Shannon said...

happiness, indeed :) although my lab might not be as happy with a small batch... wouldn't be as willing to share with them :-P

Rosiecat said...

Hee hee! Then I think this batch of cookies is just for you, Shannon. Or you have to make two batches! Happy baking, my dear.