Baking cookies, most cookies anyway, is supposed to be easy. There aren’t too many things that can go wrong with making cookie dough, forming it into cookie-sized portions, and baking the cookies. That is to say, not much can go wrong if the recipe actually works. Last week, I grabbed a book off the shelf that I knew had some interesting options for peanut butter cookies. I didn’t imagine anything could possibly go wrong as I picked a peanut butter cookie recipe that I’d never before tried. As I made the dough, it seemed a little soft, the amounts of both butter and sugar seemed off to me, and the dough tasted like it needed more salt. Like a fool, I was sure I was wrong and went ahead and baked the cookies. The suggested oven temperature was lower than usual, and the baking time was only eight minutes, but I proceeded. When the cookies were not baked through, I gave them more time. It didn’t matter. The cookies were soft, crumbly messes. They fell apart easily and didn’t taste great, and this was a big problem. Some friends were coming to town, and I intended to put some cookies in a welcome basket for them. The rest of the cookies were going to be mailed off as a birthday present. I needed good cookies. Rather than fiddling with a recipe that didn’t work and trying to change it for a second attempt, I ran directly back to the source that has never disappointed. I started over with these chunky peanut, chocolate, and cinnamon cookies from Martha Stewart’s Cookies. The texture of the dough was right, the flavor was good, the baking temperature and time were correct, and the whole process was as easy as baking cookies is supposed to be.
Butter and peanut butter were creamed together in a mixer. Brown sugar and granulated sugar were added followed by eggs. The dry ingredients were mixed together in a separate bowl, and those included flour, baking soda, the right amount of salt, and some ground cinnamon. Those sifted together dry ingredients were then added to the butter mixture, and then chocolate chips, salted peanuts, and vanilla were folded into the dough. I used a mix of bittersweet and milk chocolate chips. The finished dough was chilled while the oven was heated. Balls of dough were placed on baking sheets and flattened slightly before baking long enough to be crisp on the edges and tender in the center.
It could be that I especially liked these cookies because I’d just experienced ones that weren’t nearly as good, but I think you would really like them too. The cinnamon was a nice addition to the chocolate and peanut butter flavors, and the ratio of chunkiness of chips and nuts to cookie was just right. Sometimes, recipes seem weird but actually work, and sometimes, a trusted source saves the day.