Peanut Butter Cookies

by meg.k (follow)
Dessert (1081)      Snack (848)      Baking (674)      Sweet (414)      Biscuits (164)     
This recipe is an example of one of those moments where two already wonderful things combine to become greater than the sum of their parts.

The smooth saltiness of peanut butter is transformed into a caramel-like chewiness when combined with the homely richness of the cookie dough.

The moistness of the peanut butter also gives these cookies an extended shelf-life, still fresh up to a week after baking.

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins (15 mins if your oven can fit four baking trays)
Makes: 30-40 snack-sized cookies

120g butter (room temperature if you can manage it)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp warm water
1 3/4 cups self raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
125g chocolate pieces *Optional*

Pre-heat your oven to 180 Celcius and line four baking trays with baking paper.

Weigh out the butter and chop into centimeter cubes before adding to a medium sized mixing bowl along with the white and brown sugars.

If you don't have time to let your butter warm a little first, it's going to take a bit of time and effort to cream the butter into the sugar thoroughly. I use a spatula or butter knife in a chopping motion against the edge of the bowl to simultaneously break up the butter and press in the sugar.If you don't mind getting your hands dirty you can also do this step by hand, rubbing the sugar into the butter until no chunks of pure butter remain as in the picture below.

Add your peanut butter to the mixing bowl along with the egg, vanilla essence and warm water. Stir briefly then add the flour and continue stirring. Once the majority of the flour is damp, use your hands to finish it off, making sure the mixture is smooth and moist enough to hold together.

Start rolling the dough into balls about half the size of a golf ball and lay them out eight to ten per tray. You should end up with around four trays. I decided to decorate mine with a combination of whole peanuts and chocolate pieces pressed into their tops.

Put your first two trays in the oven for 15 mins. For most ovens, the top and bottom racks heat differently so I do a sort of round robin.
When the first top tray is golden and firm to the touch, I take it out and move the bottom tray up, adding a fresh tray in it's place.
After about 5 mins the top tray has finished off and it comes out too. The second bottom tray moves up and the final tray goes in the bottom.
Cool on a wire rack and enjoy both warm and cooled.

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