Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A secret to really chewy cookies

I go back and forth, trying to decide whether I prefer chewy cookies or crisp ones. More often than not, I'll take the crispy cookies because most cookies that claim to be chewy don't really end up being exactly what I had in mind. There are exceptions to this general rule, like these Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, but there is only one type of cookie that will consistently turn out to have a good chew: peanut butter. If you bake the cookies at a low temperature, they will develop an appealing and addictive chew. The problem here is that they are peanut butter flavored. I finally figured out how to get around that and still achieve the same chew.
The secret? Cashew butter.
I made some homemade cashew butter on Slashfood and used it in a standard peanut butter cookie recipe. I usually make mine crispy, but this time I took a tip about baking time from Elise to try for chewy ones.
The cookies turned out perfectly chewy and, incredibly, you couldn't taste cashew at all. The flavor is so mild, lightly sweet and vaguely buttery, that it just blended into the cookie! Everyone was asking how on earth I ended up with such chewy cookies. Of course, you'll have to diclose your "secret" to anyone with a nut allergy, but otherwise you can try this with chocolate chips, raisins, or any other add-in you like in your cookies.

Really Chewy Cookies with Cranberries
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup cashew butter (homemade or storebought)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or chocolate chips, etc)

Preheat oven to 300F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in egg, followed by the cashew butter, and beat well. Add in dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed, mixing until just combined. Stir in dried cranberries (or chocolate chips).
Shape into 1-inch balls and flatten slightly onto a cookie sheet, leaving enough room for them to spread.
Bake for 14-15 minutes, until just beginning to brown on the edges.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 2 dozen.