A couple of months ago I bought a jar of chunky peanut butter at the local Aldi. It was the “American Week” and I was curious about this ubiquitous ingredient in certain baking recipes and the also famous PB&J sandwich. Reports of friends and family trying peanut butter as is, or in a sandwich, had put a warning in my brain, but still I tried a bit, for the shake of experimentation. The result, I can say, is I do not like peanut butter as-is. It’s too sweet, with an underlying saltiness, and way too sticky. Both in consistency and in flavour. Not for me, I’ll stick with Nutella thankyouverymuch.
So off I went to decide what to do with this peanut butter, and thought cookies was the way to go. If we didn’t like them at home, Jan’s coworkers would get rid of them in no time. They don’t say no to free food! Seeing as I’m trying to bake my way through (selected recipes from) Vegan with a Vengeance, I chose their “Big Gigantoid Crunchy Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies”.
Off to the kitchen with all my stuff I went. Because for once I had all the ingredients at hand, yes. And started mixing everything. May I say, thank you so much for (metric) weight and volume measures of the ingredients? Whoever came up with baking by cups should be tortured to the failing cake every single time muahahaha. Anyway, mix I go and so on and so forth, the goop called cookie dough was softer than I expected. The recipe says:
The dought will be very firm and moist.
This was slightly confusing, because a cookie dough that is at the same time firm and moist does not compute in my brain. Anyway, being sure as I was that I has weighed all the dry ingredients, and measured in ml all my liquids, I thought the dough I got should be good enough as is, even tho scoopable rather than shapeable. So, instead of packing 5 tablespoons in a cup to make a single cookie, I scooped a portion the size of a small icecream ball, and let it glop down to a flatish shape on its own accord.
My biggest surprise came after baking. This took longer than stated for my smaller cookies, too. I went up to 12 minutes in the oven for my “slightly less than 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie” cookies, instead of the 8-10 minutes the recipe recommends for “normal-size” cookies. So yes, they take longer. They don’t really turn nicely golden brown, at all. They do puff up, and then take over the cookie sheet and join the other cookies and sooner or later they’ll be bossing you around. And the worst part: they came out of the oven softer than they went in. This was a big (bad) surprise. Yes, recipe also says:
Allow to cool at least 10 minutes to firm up before moving off the baking sheet.
What it doesn’t tell you is the bottoms of said cookies will be completely sticky, and that even if you move them with great care, after a good 15 minutes resting, they will will try to make a Dalí clock but with cookie and a cake spatula. This also caused an accident by which I lost 3 cookies: When I took the tray out of the oven, a barking mut was driving me insane, and thus I moved too fast, the paper liner slid over the tray, and three too soft cookies colapsed into a useless pile of dough.
The resulting cookies are far from crispy, the only crispiness in them is the pieces of peanuts from the chunky peanut butter. They’re too sweet as well, even tho I used sugar that’s less sweet than normal sugar. And they’re kind of oily as well. After several days, they haven’t dried out, which is nice, but they’re still more chewy than I like my cookies. I don’t think I’ll repeat this exact recipe, maybe if I can find something that’s dryer and crunchy I’ll give peanut butter cookies another try. And now that you’ve come this far reading, mandatory food pic: