Sunday, July 25, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Warning: these are rich!  They most definitely require a glass of milk alongside, especially when they're fresh from the oven.  I have a little food crush on a certain celebrity chef from whom I derived this recipe. Of course they needed some reworking to make them white sugar-free, but no flavor was lost in the process.  I don't know if PB choc chip cookies are a trend in Australia; I've never heard of combining peanut butter cookies with chocolate chip cookies, and now I've heard of them twice from chefs that are both Australian.  Anyway, although I would prefer either a peanut butter cookie or a chocolate chip cookie, the fact that I couldn't stop eating these means they must have been pretty good. 

If you want to keep with the sugar free theme you'll have to get chocolate chips that contain no white sugar.  It's easier than you think, and not budget-blowing.  Trader Joe's carries them!  Well, for me it's easy as TJ is close to home.  You'll see in the list of ingredients "evaporated cane juice" as the sweetener, and that's good.  It's less refined than white sugar.  It's still sugar, mind you, but with less nutrients stripped away, and I've found that my system takes less of a sugar hit than it does with white sugar.  Then there is a product called "grain sweetened" chocolate chips, which really is budget blowing, but if you feel more comfortable using those, by all means do.  If you can't find either of those you can more easily find a chocolate bar made with evaporated cane juice and chop it up to add to the cookies.  I know Walgreens, for one, carries Endangered Species brand chocolate bars (boy, do I LOVE their Dark Chocolate w/Raspberries) and a few others that may also be white sugar-free.  You just have to look at labels.

I replaced the white and brown sugars with honey and molasses.  If you don't like molasses, don't be alarmed.  You really can't taste it in the finished product. I used it to give that brown sugary taste without using actual brown sugar.  Look at the sloppy mix in the bowl!  I kind of like it.  Be sure to use room temperature eggs, however, or the liquids and butter will start to seize up with the coldness of a refrigerated egg.  This I learned from experience.  I just learned that to bring eggs to room temperature you can soak them in hot water for ten minutes.

I liked the texture of these cookies.  When using liquid sweeteners in place of white sugar I've found the baked goods can have something of a dryness to them, especially after a day or two.  It sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?  But here the cookies were firm in hand (but not too firm) and just a bit sandy in the mouth, and I found that agreeable.  It's also a subtly sweet cookie, and the chocolate chips are a nice burst of sweet, melty flavor. 

I ate these for breakfast for several days, in the vein of Bill Cosby's skit about chocolate cake: they have flour, peanut butter, eggs...they're kinda healthy!  The only thing I would do differently next time is to cut up a bar of milk chocolate in place of semi-sweet.  I bet that would be even better!  Or peanut butter cups.  Oh yes, I think that's what it will be.  I may allow the sugar rule to slip for that!

Makes about two dozen

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cup flour (I mixed whole grain and white spelt flours, but use whatever you please)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup peanut butter (natural works best, and creamy or chunky to taste)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In one bowl, mix dry ingredients.  In mixing bowl beat together peanut butter, butter, molasses, honey, egg, and vanilla until well blended and creamy.  Stir dry ingredients in, in two batches.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Scoop dough onto cookie sheets, 2 inches apart.  Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon.  Bake for about 12 minutes, allow to cool.

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