19 June 2013

salted peanut butter cookies & WOAP 2013

It feels a little strange to be writing this post; the last post I wrote was in February and although I've got several posts in-draft, I've not felt much like writing.  In fact since December last year, my posts have been sporadic at best.  I haven't stopped being passionate about food (my social media activity proofs it).  I've just been allowing other things that has been happening in my life to take over, leaving my somewhat brain tired, lazy and uninspired.

However in the last month, I've slowly started to come out of my blogging hiatus and have been furiously taking tons of photos and making notes of things I've bake and cooked - like these here peanut butter salted cookies.

It also helps that Wellington's event of the year (it is for me and my social calendar!) is only a month and half away: I speak of the annual gastronomic event Wellington On A Plate, WOAP to those who are familiar with it.  Nothing gets me out of a funk like two weeks of food-fueled indulgence and the anticipation leading up to it.

So with all that food on the brain, I've been able to push pass my non-blogging haze and give you these  - wee mouthfuls of peanut butter heaven.

First of all I'd like to just say that I really REALLY like peanut butter - on toast, in ice cream, in gelato, in confectionery, in baking, by the spoonful.  But never ever in satay sauce; that's just wrong on all levels (I blame the food network channel for this abomination).  When I was a child I would only eat the smooth variety.  But now I go through jars of crunchy peanut butter like there's no tomorrow.  It's a bit like me and greens - hated stalks and only ate the leaves when I was a child.

I had gotten it in my mind some time ago that I had to bake peanut butter cookies.  Add that to my list of other must-cooks and must-bakes and it took me some time before I finally got to the cookies.  That, and also each time I looked at my jar of peanut butter I would think "But if I used the peanut butter up for cookies, what would I put on my toast and do I really want to use my expensive jar of peanut butter to make cookies with"?  Yes I know about supermarkets.  I've even walked into a fair few in my time.  But I'm not always logical when it comes to peanut butter!  So when I was given a couple of free pottles of crunchy peanut butter, I decided it was now or never.  (Also, I preferred the brand I usually buy but didn't want to waste a couple pots of good quality artisan peanut butter).

Like a good foodie, I started my peanut butter cookies recipe research.  Strangely enough I didn't find one peanut butter cookie recipe in any of my cookbooks - I say 'strangely' because by all accounts, it seems to be a very popular and common cookie type.  Oh but go online and there are hundreds upon hundreds of recipes, a lot of which are really exactly the same.  So at the end I decided to use a simple recipe from a fellow Kiwi food blogger friend.  She's good at what she does and I had no worries about the recipe not working out.

However I did tweak the recipe a little, just a little.  Enough to satisfy my need for a bigger hit of peanut butter in my cookies and my need to put my own little twist to it - I upped the quantity of peanut butter and decided to sprinkle some rock salt to give it that sweet-salty flavour effect that works so well.

I made these cookies quite small, about the size of say a milk bottle top.  So baking time was pretty short.  If you make them bigger, just bake for a little longer until the cookie is just lightly browned.  I took them out when the cookies still felt a tad bit soft to the touch.  They will crisp up on the outside once cooled with just a little bit of chew inside - just how I like them!

And if you want to know what my WOAP 2013 picks are, events I'm going to and what I hope will be a blow-by-blow report as I eat my way through WOAP this year - check it out here.

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies
Original recipe from Bron Marshall and tweaked a little by me

1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup lightly packed soft brown sugar
1 cup of chunky peanut butter - use the best you can afford. I used this brand.
125g of softened butter
1 large egg - at room temperature
1 cup plain all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Sea or rock salt (make sure it's not iodised table salt)
  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C (338°F).  Line your baking tray(s) with baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder together.
  3. Beat the sugars, peanut butter and softened butter together until well mixed, creamy and smooth-ish (no lumps).
  4. Add the egg and beat until well combined.  Scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl so that everything is well mixed.
  5. On a low speed stir through or gently fold in the flour and baking powder until mixed through - but don't over mix it.
  6. The dough will be rather soft so I prefer to refrigerate it (about an hour) until its cold and stiff enough to handle with my fingers and roll in my palms - but try to work quickly even if you're working with refrigerated dough.  You can choose not to refrigerate if you don't want to or cannot wait.
  7. Roll heaped teaspoonfuls of the dough into balls and place onto the baking tray.
  8. Then use the back of a fork (lightly dusted with flour every now and again so it won't stick) and flatten the balls of cookie dough down a little into discs.
  9. Bake between 10-12 minutes, rotating your tray at half time, until the cookies are lightly brown.  Your cookies should be just that bit soft if you gently poke with at it.
  10. Do this quickly - before the cookies cool down and while it's still hot and warm from the oven, sprinkle some salt over the cookies.
  11. Then cool the cookies on the tray - the cookies will crisp up on the outside and remain just that bit chewy inside.
  12. The dough yielded around 40 cookies for me but it'll all depend on how big/small you make these cookies.
Voila! And best enjoyed with a cup of black coffee. :-)

I've also entered these cookies in Fisher & Paykel's 
Let Them Bake Cake.  They may not be cake but cookies is baking...and maybe I could win me a prize worth $10,000!


  1. Beautiful photos Shirleen :-) I reckon it's nice to have a break every now and then too xx

    1. Thanks Emma! I have a very small number of props and was trying a new surface - just a mdf coffee table I have that I badly spray painted like 15 years ago! Looks like it works well enough huh? Happy coincidence. :-) x

  2. These look beautiful, big fan of upping the peanut butter content! :-)

  3. Worth the wait I reckon and I shall be tweaking these beauties to make with Almond or peanut flour. Just made a batch of yuckie cookies that were a depressing fail :o(

    Congrats by the way on the City Market Manager job. Is a perfect fit for you. Been wondering if we should be having a blogging reunion for WOAP. What do you reckon?

    1. I hate it when my baking is fail. So much effort, so much wastage. Unlike cooking where there's still a decent chance to fix it if the taste is wrong, there's no coming clawing back a baking fail!

      And yes Julie - great idea for a WOAP bogging reunion! Let's tee this up closer to the time. :-)

  4. What gorgeous cookies- I like the presentation

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