Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fourth of July Cookie Madness

So, anytime I have an excuse to bake, I do so. This past Fourth I wasn't really in the mood for making a lot of cupcakes. I knew we would be outside and I also wanted something that would be tasty with the Electric Lemonade... I also kind of wanted a variety of things, so I decided on cookies.

I wound up being some sort of cookie factory because I think in all I made around 6 or 7 dozen, nice-sized cookies. They were all gone in two days however (though maybe that's because I seemed to eat them for every meal...) and it was like it never even happened. Lol.

Anywho. For this get-together I made my chocolate chip cookies from a previous post ("these are these best chocolate chip cookies I've ever ate", and "these taste so familiar! Have you made these before? So good!"), peanut butter cookies, and some Reese's cookies. I think the Reese's cookies were my favorite. I wish I had made more of those!

For the peanut butter cookies I based them on a recipe from my 1962 edition of The Joy of Cooking. I used it for the relative amounts of things, and a baking time, but it pretty much doesn't resemble the original. I really wanted a subtle maple flavor in these cookies so I substituted the white sugar for maple syrup. The result was a deliciously rich peanut butter flavor with a hint of maple and a soft crumb texture. They were really good and they're definitely my go-to peanut butter cookie recipe from now on. This recipe yields a soft dough that really needs to be chilled in the fridge for a least 30 minutes and in between baking. I was disappointed that the fork shape didn't work as well (how will we know it's peanut butter!?), but I stabbed them with a fork anyway. You could also dip a drinking glass in sugar and press down on them if you'd like.

Maple Peanut Butter Cookies:
1 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. Earth Balance, softened
1/3 c. no-sugar-added applesauce
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. peanut butter, can be smooth or crunchy

1. Mix together the flour, soda, and salt with a whisk until well-combined. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the Earth Balance and brown sugar until fluffy. And the maple syrup and beat completely (this will look weird in the bowl, but it comes together once you add the flour).
3. Add the applesauce and the vanilla; beat well.
4. Add the peanut butter and mix until completely smooth.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon.
6. Chill dough at least 30 minutes. Then preheat the oven to 350 when you're about ready to bake.
7. Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls and press with a fork.
8. Bake at 350 on a GREASED cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, let sit on the sheet for a couple minutes then remove to a wire rack (or a plate if you're classy like me).

Enjoy with some ice-cold ricemilk!!

Notes: When baking any kind of cookies, check on them before you think they're done. If a fork/toothpick comes out clean, they're done, even if it has been the full amount of time. If you wait until they're brown around the edges they'll be hard and you'll be sad. Take them out early and they're be nice and soft (don't worry, they won't be doughy. Leaving them on the sheet for a couple minutes finishes the baking process and firms them up.

Also, these cookies only have 1/2 c. butter in them, no shortening. Since there isn't enough fat in the batter to keep them from sticking (like in the chocolate chip cookies), you need to spray the baking sheet with some nonstick spray before you bake them.

NOW BE OFF WITH YOU! It's cooking baking time!

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