Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas baking

Just made these yesterday!
Okay, just because I'm a nice guy, I'm going to share my recipe for peanut butter cookies.  Done right, they're crisp on the outside but chewy inside ... great with or without milk (but I suggest milk for dunking!).

Peanut Butter Cookies
2¼ c. all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¾ c. granulated sugar
¾ c. brown sugar
1 c. butter (2 sticks), softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. peanut butter (your choice of creamy or chunky)
Oven 375°

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In mixing bowl, cream together sugar, brown sugar and butter.  Mix in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla extract, then peanut butter.  Finally mix in dry ingredients a little at a time for best incorporation.

Using a cookie scoop, place 1-tbsp. balls of dough 1"-1½" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten each ball with the tines of a fork in a criss-cross pattern.  Bake for 9-11 minutes at 375°; set aside sheet to cool for about 5 min. before removing cookies onto wax paper. Makes 3½-4 dozen.

This is also my base recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, except using ½ cup peanut butter and one small (12 oz.?) bag of chips — Ghirardelli makes morsels now, so give it a try!  Also, if you use ½ cup granulated and ½ cup brown sugar, cut out the peanut butter, substitute 1 cup Hershey's Cocoa and Reese's peanut butter chips, you get the opposite effect.  Eventually, though, I'll have to make the ultimate death-by-chocolate cookie!

Later this week, I'll be trying out a new recipe for sugar cookies.  The Better Homes & Gardens recipe works great for flat cut-outs ... but I want round, slightly puffy cookies with frosting.  Also in the pipeline is a batch of lemon bars:

Lemon Bars
2 c. flour
1 c. butter (2 sticks)
½ c. powdered sugar
4 eggs
4 tbsp. lemon juice
2 c. sugar
4 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Oven 350°

Melt butter in a 13"x 9" pan.  Mix 2 c. flour and powdered sugar.  Pour mixture into pan. Stir; press firmly to make bottom crust.  Bake 20 min. at 350°.

Beat eggs and lemon juice.  Sift together sugar, 4 tbsp. flour, baking powder and salt. Blend into egg mixture.  Pour over crust while crust is still hot; bake 25 min. more at 350°.  Remove from oven; sift powdered sugar over top. Cut into squares.
As far as writing goes, as everything seems to be slowing down in preparation for Christmas, I think I will too.  But I should be able to post a couple more times before then.