Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies...sans the refined sugars

Recently I have been off the hook baking like crazy. It is a good thing because a) I am trying all these new recipes b) I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor c) I get to make other people happy with my creations. It is a bad thing because a) I feel over fed b) I am giving into my awful addiction of being enslaved by the power of sugar, and c) Most importantly, my jeans are tight...again.

I have found that when I bake without using refined sugar and brown sugar I tend to want to eat less of what I have made. I think this is because sugar truly does have an addiction quality and once you have a little your body craves more and more of it. I have had a lot of positive results using agave as a refined sugar substitute, but now I have a recipe that uses maple syrup instead of refined sugar. I have been wanting to make peanut butter cookies for some time now, and was glad to finally have the chance this weekend. When I was younger it was a rare occasion if we could afford to splurge and buy a bag of chocolate chips, but something we always had on hand was a huge tub of peanut butter. I always made the same recipe from the talk about good cooking Louisiana cookbook - and old family cookbook whose binding was falling apart and many of the pages had already fallen out. It was always hard to find any recipe in that book because some of the pages that had fallen out had included most of the index. The cookies always turned out flat and hard, but still I continued to make then. Now that my "cookie skills" have improved I plan on trying out that recipe again...hopefully with better results!

Peanut Butter cookies
adapted from 101 cookbooks

2 cups whole wheat flour, spelt flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour (I used white wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup organic, chunky natural peanut butter (you could also use almond butter)
1 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 300F degrees. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. in a separate larger bowl combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Pour the flour mixture over the peanut butter mixture and stir until barely combined - still a bit dusty looking. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Press down on each one gently with the back of a fork. Bake for 12, maybe 14 minutes - but don't over bake or they will be dry. Let cool five minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

* The original recipe called for baking the cookies in a 350 degree oven, I have recently been baking my cookies on a lower temperature for a longer amount of time and have been having excellent results. These cookies looked like they needed more time in the oven, but I pulled them out anyway and after they cooled they were perfect.


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