Monday, December 12, 2011

Chewy Peanut Butter Gingersnaps

My sisters came to visit this weekend, and since one's a baker as well, we got to talking, and comparing cookies.  She's got a chocolate chip recipe that has cream cheese in it that supposedly is to die for, so I'll have to find the time to test that one out.  Yeah, time, and a recipient! After all the goodies everyone's eating this month, I'll be running out of people to give mine to.

Anyway, between her studying, and the Christmas party I attended Saturday night, we found time to do a little baking ourselves.  She was craving a gingerbread cookie, but every recipe I know needs to be refrigerated, and we were short on time.  So, I remembered this well-loved, much-used recipe for peanut butter ginger cookies.  They're not really snaps because they're chewy -- and ooey-gooey-good!  This is one recipe that's easy to make, but also easy to mess up.  Don't substitute margarine, or put them on a warm cookie sheet, or bake for more or less time than indicated.  The recipe says to grease the pans, but I never had any luck with that.  I use Silpat or parchment paper all the time with them now.

These cookies are one of my favourites... my only real criticism is that the recipe makes so few.  They disappear quickly, and make the house smell amazing!  I'm experimenting a bit with the recipe to clean it up, like subbing out the white flour for white whole wheat, table salt for sea salt, and the brown sugar for Sucanat, and skipping entirely on rolling the cookies in the white sugar-cinnamon mix.  So far the substitutions haven't been an issue.  One thing though, is that you really, really need to use commercial peanut butter.  I switched it out for the natural no-salt/no-sugar kind once and had a total flop with the recipe.

I'm happy my sisters were visiting.  I get so distracted making new recipes all the time that I forget that some were staples before because they are so darn good!  If I hadn't had visitors this weekend, I never would've made this gem and been reminded.

Chewy Peanut Butter Gingersnaps
Makes: 25 cookies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground cinnamon, divided (just 1 if making the clean version)
1/4 tsp each ground ginger, and sea salt
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup white sugar (omit for clean version)
1/3 cup light peanut butter
3 tbsp butter, softened (must be butter!  If salted, omit the sea salt)
1 cup packed brown sugar (I used Sucanat)
1 egg
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Line two cookies sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, ginger, salt, and allspice.  Set aside.

In another medium bowl, beat together peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar on medium speed of an electric mixer (or LOW on a stand mixer) for about 1 minute.  Add egg, molasses, and vanilla.  Beat again until smooth.

Using a wooden spoon, stir flour mixture into peanut butter mixture.  You will be making a stiff dough.  Using your hands (or a small ice cream scoop), shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls.  [If making the regular version of this recipe, mix remaining 2 tsp cinnamon with white sugar in a small bowl.  Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture.]  Place each ball on a prepared cookie sheet, spaced 2 inches apart.  They spread a lot while baking.  You can flatten cookies slightly with a fork, but really, it's not necessary.

Bake cookies for 7 minutes.  They may appear undercooked, but that's okay.   Remove cookies from the oven and immediately transfer from pan to a wire rack to cool.  This is where the parchment/Silpat comes in handy!

Source: Eat, Shrink, & Be Merry, page 168, "Girl-Guy Cookies" by Janet & Greta Podleski.

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