I walk into my kitchen to get a cup of tea and Christmas fills my nostrils. Maybe it’s the strains of Love Actually coming from the living room where my roommate is wiling away the Saturday afternoon. Maybe it’s the fact that now that Halloween is over I can officially start planning menus and dreaming of trees. Maybe it’s needing something to distract me from Hurricane Sandy coverage in NYC. Maybe it’s these things and…
Every year for as long as I can remember, I’ve made those classic little peanut butter cookies with a Hershey kiss on top (even though I’ve never freed them of gluten so haven’t been able to eat a bite). Out of all my holiday collection, they are the most requested and I make them by the hundreds…
Our Milk Bar Monday group took a little hiatus for the past few weeks to give space for Audra Wahab to be renamed Audra Fullerton and Krissy Winnick to welcome baby Ezekiel Vincent Winnick into the world!!! But now we’re back in our kitchens – though with slightly diminished numbers – and still determined to bake our way through Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar cookbook.
When I chose this recipe for my hosting date, I picked Tosi’s Peanut Butter Cookies because they’re one of her easiest recipes. They don’t take as much time or prep as Confetti Cookies or as many ingredients as Compost Cookies, and far less of both time, prep and ingredients as an Apple Pie Layer Cake or Carrot Cake Truffles.
And, well, there’s the Christmas angle.
I start thinking Christmas around September. I’m not into expensive gift-giving, trendy decorating, making things “perfect” year after year or going insane with stress because things have to be “just so”.
I love Christmas because – if we just relax and let ourselves – we actually can focus for a period on being more generous, more open-minded, more kind-hearted and more patient; to ourselves and others. We can give and receive a little more love. We can sing songs and bake sweet things and bring trees inside (!!!!!!!!) and spend more time together.
And cookies. I believe in baking, eating and giving cookies.
These are extremely sweet cookies. I wasn’t sold on them until I dunked a piece in some cold almond milk. Then I was hooked. They candy aspect gives them some chew, and while they spread much more than other Tosi cookies I’ve adapted to being gluten-free, they still held together well.
The only adaptation I made was to use King Arthur gluten-free flour instead of white flour. It worked okay, but I regretted not blending my own flours. I’m a believer that there is no “all-purpose gluten-free flour” that works “cup-for-cup” in place of wheat flour. Different flours have different weights, and react variously with other ingredients. So this worked, but not ideally. I’ve heard from the other ladies that bread flour worked wonders, so I’m going to look up those particulars for my own blend next time.
But, in general, this is a winning recipe if you like really sweet, chewy, peanut-buttery cookies. I can’t wait to see what the other ladies came up with! Check us out:
The Milk Bar Mondays Ladies!
Erin of Big Fat Baker
Audra of The Baker Chick
Cassie of Bake Your Day
Peanut Butter Cookies
From The Milk Bar Cookbook by Christina Tosi
This is a 2-part recipe, involving crunchy peanut brittle and chewy peanut butter cookies!
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup peanuts
Line a quarter sheet pan with a Silpat (parchment will NOT work – Silpat works wonders!)
Make a dry caramel: heat the sugar in a small heavy-bottomoed saucepan over medium-high heat. As soon as the sugar starts to melt, use a heat-proof spatula to move it constantly around the pan — you want it all to melt and caramelize easily. Cook until a deep amber, 3-5 minutes.
Once the caramel is all melted, remove from heat and stir in the nuts. Immediately pour onto sheet pan and spread as thin as possible. Work quickly, as it will begin to set in less than a minute.
Let cool completely.
Break the brittle in a ziptop plastic bag with a rolling pin or meat grinder, or break into pieces and pulse in a food processor until the size of short-grain rice.
Store in an air-tight container, and use remaining brittle from this recipe within a month.
Peanut Butter Cookies:
- 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup glucose (use 2 Tbsp corn syrup in a pinch)
- 1 cup Skippy peanut butter2 eggs
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cup flour (I weighed 225g gluten-free flour for this and measured the rest of the ingredients)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 recipe peanut brittle
Combine the butter, sugar and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Paddle in the peanut butter then add the eggs and vanilla and beat for 30 seconds on medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then paddle on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will dissolve and the creamed mixture will double in size.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Still on low speed, mix in the peanut brittle until incorporated, no more than 30 seconds.
Using a 2 3/4 oz ice cream scoop (or a 1/3 cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic warp and regfirgerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature – they will not bake properly.
Heat the oven to 375°.
Arrange the chilled dough at least 4 inches apart on parchment or Silpat lined sheets. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle and spread. Bake until tan with auburn specks throughout.
Cool completely on sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. At room temperature, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days, or 1 month if frozen.
Notes: I would cut the size of these cookies in HALF! They were HUGE! Mine spread a lot, but the chewy consistency was great. They taste better a day or two later, and always with milk (almond, for me).