It’s already the second week of the mid-term school winter holidays. The children have had a ball with sleep-overs, ‘hanging out’ chez les amis (‘playing’ is now banned from our vocabulary.) On return from their friends’ homes, they described what they had for dinner and, top of the list, what was for goûter at 4pm official French snack time. They raved about their friends’ homemade cookies. You know, Mum, they made the most incredible cookies; they made them all by themselves; these cookies were the most incredible biscuits we’ve ever had: they put chocolate chips in them, M&Ms, marshmallows…
I’ve never been interested in cookies but this echoed, and echoed:
“Mum, can we ever get to make cookies one day?”
What?! I could feel myself standing to my full height. After all the choux buns, éclairs, financiers, chocolate fondants, pancakes, crêpes – oh, and years of macarons – they’ve never actually made homemade cookies? What kind of a mum is that? Wait a minute, we have melting moments together, don’t we? Yes, but they don’t include chocolate chips.
When I mentioned the friends’ cookies, my Mum burst into hysterics. Apparently, I’m Granny’s double: Mum used to come home from a friend’s house, also raving about what she’d eaten there and my Granny would throw a wobbly. Nobody could be better than my proud, Scottish Granny. What? She served you tinned mandarines and you think that’s better than what you get here? I didn’t even realise that I demonstrated the same. Exactly the same. Thanks, Mum.
You want cookies like your friends? I’ll give you cookies.
To make it up to them, I needed inspiration from my blogging friends for cookies that used peanut butter. You see, Julie has just discovered peanut butter and her world is going nutty. Can you imagine, only now? Let’s get something straight: peanut butter is not something the French keep in their store cupboards. I hear you: I’m a Scot – but I’m more French these days for better or for worse.
I found many super peanut butter recipes from Tina of Flourtrader (including salted pretzels), from Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake (she revealed she’s giving up eating raw cookie dough for Lent), a secret recipe club cookie from Danielle at A Day in the Life via Manu’s Menu, and another recipe at Sweets by Sillianah (which includes jam hearts.) My problem (one of them, ahem..) is that so many recipes deal in cups; I prefer grams and, as we didn’t have time with the heart part, had no pretzels and not enough chocolate chips, we wildly adapted a mix of the recipes and came up with this.
The girls did a great job. The texture wasn’t too soft or crispy either, even though I thought the portion of flour looked too little and although we could have upped the peanut butter, I prefer how it’s subtle and gives enough crunch and saltiness. We didn’t use the electric mixer: the children wanted a hands-on approach, using good old elbow grease as holiday sport! We’re making these again: they’re melt-in-the-mouth, not too sweet, have an appealing saltiness to them, and they’re addictive. Where have I heard that before?
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes approx 30 cookies
125g unsalted butter, softened
70g light brown sugar
50g white sugar
100g crunchy peanut butter
good pinch salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
115g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
75g dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with a good spatula until the sugar has disappeared and the mix is pale and creamy. Gradually add in the rest of the ingredients, mixing well. (The dough can be frozen at this point if you don’t use all of it.)
3. Spoon out small portions of the mixture on the baking sheets, leaving a good gap in between each as they spread out. Flatten them slightly with a fork and bake for 10 minutes until golden.
4. When cooled, transfer the cookies to a wire rack then devour.
Are you like my Granny? Please don’t tell me I’m alone. Besides, if it wasn’t for that attitude, I would never have tried my hands at making macarons. Just saying.