We've developed sort of an on-going joke at my office about peanut butter. My coworkers are appalled at the idea of peanut butter mixed with, well... anything but bread, actually. I tried to explain the joys of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to someone one day, and he just stared at me like I'd suggested a chocolate-pickle-ice cream sundae. "You eat peanut butter with... jelly? Really? Eeewww."
Right. And when I sliced up an apple the other day and spread the slices with peanut butter, a small crowd gathered around my desk. "You just spread peanut butter on apple slices? Just like as if it were bread? Is it really good like that?"
One thing we can all (well, mostly all) agree on, though, is peanut butter and chocolate. Peanut butter is really sort of an exotic thing over here, and I've never seen a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in Germany. In fact, I don't think I've seen anything here that combines peanut butter and chocolate. But somehow my coworkers are inherently sensible enough to realize how brilliant this combination is.
Our accountant is pregnant and leaving work shortly, and I promised to make her peanut butter cookies before she goes. I'd seen a recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies that was making the rounds of some of the food blogs I read, and I was eager to try it.
The original recipe is very simple: 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 egg. But I had to make things complicated, as usual. Somehow the simple three-ingredient recipe has evolved into the following Chocolate-Chocolate-Chip-Peanut-Butter-Swirl nuggets-of-joy. The result is a soft, almost crumbly peanut butter-chocolate cookie base with swirls of pure peanut butter and melted bits of choclate thrown in for good measure.
I would say I can't stop eating them, but they're almost pure peanut butter, so there actually is a very definite limit to how many I can nibble on. Make these small - they'll hold together better, and you really don't need a giant cookie to be satisfied with these. The only trick is to use ultra-fine baking sugar to make sure the sugar dissolves completely. My cookies crunched a bit with the normal sugar.
Oh, and I took them to the office... my boss says they look like "something else besides cookies" -- but he also offered to pay for the ingredients if I'll bring another batch soon. I'll take that as a rave review.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Nuggets O' Joy
If you can't find chocolate spread (like Nutella, but pure chocolate) just use plain peanut butter and a bit more sugar if you like. These cookies are very sweet - you may not need any more.
2 1/2 cups unsweetened peanut butter, 1/2 cup set aside
3 Tbs cocoa powder
2 cups ultra-fine sugar
1/2 cup chocolate spread
1 dark chocolate bar, chopped in small bits
Preheat oven to 350 F.
1. Mixing the Dough
Dump the peanut butter into a large mixing bowl. Add the cocoa powder, sugar and eggs and mix with a large wooden spoon until it's smooth. (Your blender won't like this job, I don't think.)
2. Adding the Goodies
Once the basic dough is smooth, add the chocolate spread, the reserved half-cup of peanut butter, and the chopped chocolate. Chop this into the dough so that it remains marbled and uneven. This will give the finished cookies swirles of peanut butter and chocolate throughout.
3. Shaping the Cookies
Scoop the dough by scant tablespoons. Flatten them between your palms and place them on the cookie sheet. They won't spread much during cooking.
Bake approximately 10 minutes. They will be very soft when you take them out, but will firm up as they cool.
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