It’s been a long couple of weeks, and to comfort myself, I went back to my roots: baking. Growing up, I used to bake chocolate chip cookies with my friends on the weekends or watch my mom make amazing cheesecakes or other goodies during the week. I didn’t have a kitchen in college, so whenever I’d go home for breaks or a weekend trip, I’d find a way to bake some cookies or bars for my parents to eat after I left (or just finish half the pan during my two days at home.) Now that I have my own apartment, I’ve gotten more into baking and love baking. I’ll do anything from old school chocolate chip, to trying new things like coconut macaroons (which take an awful long time to cook if you’ve never done it before.) Not all my attempts have been successful (candy cane cookies that fall apart and are pink instead of red), but most have worked out and gotten positive feedback!
Last night I decided to make peanut butter cookies. I searched different websites for a simple recipe, and went with this one from epicurious by Bon Appetite, with some tweaks. This is what I like to call my Skillet Smashed Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup Trader Joe’s crunchy, unsalted peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (plus a tad bit more because who doesn’t love vanilla?)
- 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Chocolate chips to your heart’s content – I used about one half milk chocolate chips, and one full good quality milk chocolate candy bar – Ikea surprisingly has good chocolate (somehow the chocolate chips went “missing” at my boyfriend’s apartment. I’m sure I could find them in his stomach)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, peanut butter and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Beat in brown sugar, then white sugar. Stir half of dry ingredients into mixture. Add eggs 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition. Mix in remaining dry ingredients. I made two batches of plain peanut butter cookies and then added in the chocolate chip bits to the rest of the mix for three more batches. As the name of the cookies denotes, in order to create chocolate chip bits, I took a cast iron skillet to the chocolate bar to break it up, surprisingly, it didn’t work that well and I ended up using my hands.
For each cookie, roll 1 heaping tablespoonful of dough into a one inch ball. Be sure you give enough space between cookies to spread; I gave about an inch and a half. I dusted my pan with flour, but it turned out it didn’t need any – they came off the pan with no problem. Using back of fork, flatten dough balls and form crosshatch design on tops. Feel free to put sugar on the fork to press into the cookies. I normally use white sugar, but since I ran out, I used brown sugar which doesn’t stick as well to the fork. Bake cookies until dry on top and golden brown on bottom, about 17 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. (Can be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)