Friday, December 02, 2005

PB&J Crunch Cookies

I already know a recipe for good some fine peanut butter cookies, but a little variety is never a bad thing so I didn't hesitate when I spotted this recipe for Peanut Butter Crunch Cookies in Real Simple. While they used chopped peanuts, they also had the interesting inclusion of puffed rice cereal (aka Rice Krispies). The little girls in the photo that accompanied the recipe in the magazine certainly seemed to be enjoying them, so I was sold.
Peanut butter cookies can be either chewy or crumbly. The crumbliness is rather unique to peanut butter cookies, as it is the result of an incredibly tender yet dry crumb that melts in your mouth and makes you wonder if you should have a glass of milk as you reach for your next cookie.
These cookies are certainly crumbly in the way that only peanut butter cookies can be crumbly and are filled with crisp bits. The crisps don't seem like puffed rice, since they compress with the moisture and heat of baking. Instead, they seem like tiny pieces of peanut in the final cookie. It's a very neat texture and no one will guess if you don't tell them.
I didn't have any whole or chopped peanuts on hand, so I used 1/4 cup natural, chunky peanut butter in place of them in my recipe. I used ordinary, supermarket smooth peanut butter for the 3/4 cup called for; the recipe did not specify and I figured a child-friendly recipe might be calling for a national brand.
I would say that these are good with and without jam. Actually, I loved them with jam, but it softened the cookies a bit on the second day. If I were making another batch, I would do just what I did this time: half with jam and half without. The half without jam will keep (in my opinion) much better, retaining their crispy crumbliness. Eat the PB&J ones on the first day. It won't be hard to do.

Peanut Butter Crunch Cookies
(adapted from Real Simple)
1 cup ap flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup natural, chunky peanut butter
2 cups puffed rice cereal (Rice Krispies)
Raspberry jam or preserves (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F.
Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars. Add egg and mix until thoroughly combined. Mix in peanut butters.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the flour. Using a large spatula, carefully fold in the rice cereal.
Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Using your thumb, poke a shallow well into each cookie and fill with a bit of raspberry jam. If baking plain, simply flatten the cookies slightly.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5-10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

In other news, Jessica is coming into town (meaning Los Angeles) at the end of December and we wanted to arrange an LA Food Blogger Lunch for December 30th. Since we'll probably want to make a reservation at Newsroom, please email us and let us know if you want to come. Jessica even said she'd try to bring some of her world famous macaroons!