by: Lianna Lee
I learned a few days ago that Cookie Monster no longer exists. Alarming, and the perfect excuse for me to introduce you to a few of my favorite cookie recipes. The blue monster of my childhood, has been replaced by a Veggie Monster who is green with envy because he is now longer allowed to gobble down cookies. TV producers these days.
Growing up I didn’t like peanut butter cookies. Overly soft and sadly thin, they looked dejected even when laid out neatly on a plate. If I was at a birthday party or one of those endless sports banquets I would try to snag anything but a peanut butter cookie when it was time for dessert. The thing is I wholeheartedly enjoy peanut butter. I couldn’t understand how when used in a cookie, the flavor and texture suddenly became a mushy saccharine mess lacking any complexity. Then one day my mom enlightened me by explaining that home made peanut butter cookies were great, and that the store bought ones were generally underwhelming. I thought she was lying in the hopes of lifting me out of a food funk.
The recipe below in my mom’s perfect cursive is yummy. Once I started making these my dad started eating them, somewhat like cookie monster, and now whenever I go home I make a batch. This is a sturdy cookie and they pair nicely with ice cream after dinner, or by themselves as a mid-afternoon snack after gardening for a couple hours.
Preheat oven to 375
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C (1 stick) butter unsalted
Combine sugar and butter together. I melt the butter before adding it to the sugar.
1 C peanut butter **Skippy’s Crunch Peanut Butter works the best. I usually advocate buying the crunchiest most granola jar of PB you can locate, but Skippy’s has consistently delivered great results.**
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
1 1/2 C white flour
Chocolate chips if you like them, about 1/2-1 C works well
Combine everything with the wet mix (sugar + butter), then add 1/2 tsp vanilla.
Scoop about 1-2 Tbsp of dough per cookie. Adjust depending on if you want giant cookies or smaller bite sized ones.
Crucial step, you must make the cross-hatched pattern using the tines of a fork on your peanut butter cookies! Bake for 12-15 minutes. If you can see the tops beginning to lightly brown take them out of the oven.
Moving onto the next cookie: I love it because it’s one of the easiest and tastiest chocolate chip cookies to whip up quickly. The hallmark of any great recipe is that it can be tinkered around with and it does not suddenly fall apart. It’s wonderfully easy to throw in a dash of cinnamon, a cup of oats, and a variety of toasted nuts. The whole-wheat flour might mislead you into thinking this is a “healthy” cookie (it isn’t), but it adds nuance that usually isn’t present in a white flour cookie.
Recipe adapted from “Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours,” by Kim Boyce
Preheat oven to 350
3 C whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 C dark brown sugar
1 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 ounces dark chocolate chips or chopped bits of chocolate
1/2 tsp cinnamon or Chinese five spice
1 C toasted nuts (walnut, almond, hazelnut)
Prepare wet and dry mixes. The butter can be melted, or cut into small chunks and slowly incorporated into the wet mix. Combine the mixes together and then dump in all of the chocolate in one go. Scoop 2-3 tablespoons of dough onto your cookie sheets, leaving 2-3 inches between as they do expand. Bake at 350 for 16-20 minutes. Boyce recommends rotating halfway through baking time to evenly bake each cookie.
Dubbed the ‘road trip’ cookie by one of my friends, because you can go through a bag of them while driving, it is amazingly versatile and scrumptious. Perfect recipe for your next office party, hiking trip, or the next time you crave milk and cookies.
Lianna Lee is a 20-something graduate of Mount Holyoke College where she earned a degree in Environmental Studies. Currently she is serving as an AmeriCorps member with the Wildlands Trust as their Outreach Coordinator. Lee’s 2013 food goals include making gelato, successfully growing tomatoes, and eating a sublime bowl of chowdah.