Friday, January 4, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

All my life things that I couldn't do well have irritated me.  Not to point out the obvious, but I am about as Type A as one person can be!

If there was something I didn't do well I would follow one of two pathes, abort mission and forget I ever even tried (ostrich in the sand approach) or work on it incessantly until I had driven everyone around me crazy.

For a long time I would leave in my wake a plethora of unfinished projects...things I had started that I never finished, more than likely because I wasn't 100% pleased with how it was progressing.  As I got older there was a shift....a sort of growing up I guess, where I started to trying to figure out ways that guaranteed the outcome would be what I had wanted.

Whether that was practice, research or just a simple stubborn attitude that refused to give up, I found that saying I couldn't do something was not an option, saying I couldn't figure it out seemed worse than the act of giving up.

All of this poured itself into the attitude I brought with me to the kitchen.  The problem is that I applied this only to cooking.  When my grandparents gave me a coffee maker for Christmas I stood in my kitchen and realized, I had no idea how to make coffee.  

I was 25.

A task so simple the directions were not even included in the manual...trust me, I looked!

I called my aunt in a panic!  How is it that I can prepare a Thanksgiving meal for 42 people but I cannot figure out how to use a freaking coffee maker???  All of this was eventually resolved after a few (or maybe a dozen) terrible pots of coffee followed by a progression of cups that became more and more consumable.  

The point of this story is that I have often equated baking to that blasted coffee maker.  I could just never figure out what it was about it that I didn't understand.  It is too much like chemistry for me I guess but for the longest time I have not been able to bake anything that didn't come from a premade mix or dough.

That has recently changed as some friends have introduced me to some of the most delicious cookies I have ever tasted which has only lead me into a new obsession....shocker!  

After my most recent Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies I was getting cocky.  I thought "Man I have this down!"  Well when made my first attempt at these cookies I was knocked off my high horse quickly.  They were flat and crispy and gross and as described by one of my friends "those are interesting".  Not what you want to hear! 
Aside from the fact that I don't think I was using a very good recipe, I also accidentally used the wrong measuring cup and instead of a 1/2 cup measure I was using a 1/3 cup measure....it clearly made a difference!

As is my typically M.O. I immediately consulted a million different recipes, did a little research into baking and found that brown sugar makes cookies more chewy while white sugar makes them crispier...who knew?  Well clearly someone, but not me!  I set back to the kitchen armed with new information and got to work.  

It was perfection!  I could not be happier with the outcome....now, I just have to find someone else to eat them all so I don't totally blow my diet!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (225 grams) crunchy or creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cup (225 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
11.5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
Scrape down the bowl as necessary. Mix in the vanilla extract and egg.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the stand mixer and mix on medium low speed until combined. 
Add the chocolate chips and mix on low until just combined.
Scoop into 1/4 cup rounds (1 1/2 tablespoon rounds for regular sized cookies) and place on prepared sheet pan. 
Bake until cookies just begin to turn brown, 12-15 minutes (8-10 minutes for regular sized cookies). Do not over bake.
Let cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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