There aren’t many thing’s in life that can’t be improved with a little peanut butter. Be it chunky or smooth, spread thickly on toast or dolloped into a bowl of porridge… this sweet, salty, nutty spreads uses have no bounds.
No self-respecting pantry should be without a jar peanut butter, smooth or chunky, it doesn’t matter. All we care about is the flavour & it’s multiple nutty uses. It’s one of those wonderful ingredients that cross the divide between sweet & savoury… you use it in your cakes, cookies, pancakes & brownies but also to marinate your chicken, make a salad dressing & toss through noodles.
Obviously one of the naughtiest, most gluttonous, unadulterated ways to enjoy peanut butter though is merely with full jar & a spoon (without risking cross contamination of jars here, it’s even better when combined with a spoonful of Nutella too, you can thank me later!).
As a serial baker (I think lockdown has either proved this or worsened this) I tend to steer more towards the sweeter side of things. I’m not sure if it’s the baking or the eating that’s become more of a comfort in recent times but either way, it’s keeping me productive & positive (it’s been proven that baking benefits your mental health didn’t you know?).
Whilst the Aztecs were roasting & mashing peanuts into pastes long ago, the origins of peanut butter as we know it today are far more clinical than for sweet, eating pleasure. It was Dr John Kellogg (he of breakfast cereal fame), in 1896 who first patented a process for creating peanut butter from raw peanuts, however the finished product was marketed as a protein substitute for patients with poor or no teeth of their own to chew protein rich foods. Fast forward 125 years & now we’re a world of peanut butter lovers, ironic as it appears on so many breakfast tables alongside the Kellog’s these days.
My favourite use for peanut butter though would have to be in baking, if you’ve never experienced peanut butter frosting, have you even lived? Here I add a very generous dollop of peanut butter to a sweet & salty cookie dough. Peanut butter works wonder in biscuits & cookies, adding a subtle salty, nuttiness to counteract the shocking amount of sugar. Pair this with some chocolate & you’ve got yourself the most perfect batch of cookies. I’ve added in a mixture of both white & dark chocolate in these to not only keep that well balanced sweetness intact but also for the added intrigue with eat bite. Crispy on the outside & soft in the middle, these golden bites are moorish, well balanced & oozing with chocolate.
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
- 115g butter
- 110g soft dark brown sugar
- 65g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 120g peanut butter (smooth)
- 145g plain flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 90g white chocolate, chopped
- 90g dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 tsp sea salt to top
- In a large bowl beat together the butter & sugars,
- Add the egg, vanilla extract & peanut butter to the bowl & beat again until well mixed
- Next, sift over the flour, baking powder & salt & mix until the dough comes together
- Add all of the chopped chocolate & fold this though until evenly distributed in the dough
- Cover the dough with some cling film & pop into the fridge to chill for 1 hour to firm up a little
- Divide the dough into 2 tbsp sized portions & roll between your hands to shape into balls
- Place the shaped dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet & flatten them down slightly
- Sprinkle the sea salt over the top of each cookie
- Bake at 180C for around 14 minutes, until the cookies have spread & the edges have begun to turn a nice golden brown colour
- Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before carefully removing & cooling completely on a cooling rack (or eating whilst still warm!)