Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are a childhood favourite of mine.  I remember baking these delectable cookies from an early age. It was an easy and forgiving cookie to make for a junior baker such as myself. The added bonus, of course, was that mom always had the required ingredients on hand.  Peanut butter cookies were definitely pantry friendly!  I could make them whenever I wanted. 

Fortunately for me, peanut allergies were not as prevalent. We were allowed to take the iconic PB & J sandwiches for lunch,  peanut butter cookies and all things peanuts to school for snacks. Sadly these items are all gone from the lunch bags of modern-day primary and elementary students.

One of my goals is to "clean up" my food choices with less sugar, less bad fat, more veggies and less meat. To help me improve our family diet, I have been taking many of my favourite meals and snacks, and giving them makeovers. In some cases I have actually found brand-new recipes to replace my tried-and-true traditional ones, such as the Pasta Bolegnese or add super healthy foods in my traditional recipes ( I LOVE hidden healthy!). In other cases, I have merely substituted healthier choices for some of the ingredients with the goal of keeping the recipe results intact.  So far, so good and I have had very few disasters! 

Up until now, I have always used the typical Kraft smooth or crunchy peanut butter for PB&J sandwiches, peanut butter on toast, and of course peanut butter cookies... the reason for this post! My neighbour Ann makes the most amazing peanut butter cookies, so when I make them, I always use her recipe. The other day, when I made peanut butter cookies, I decided to tinker with Ann's recipe to make it a little healthier. To start off, I used an organic, all natural peanut butter, and split the flour requirement between white and whole wheat flour. It's a "work in process", but so far I am thrilled with the results. The cookies were just as tasty, and no one noticed the healthier additions!  I have a few more tweaks to make, I hope they are as successful as these ones.

Peanut Butter Cookies 

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg from happy chickens
1/2 cup natural, organic if you can, peanut butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter, add sugars gradually, beat till creamy.

Mix in egg, peanut butter, salt and baking soda.
Add vanilla and mix well.
Blend in flour.
Roll slightly heaped tablespoons into balls and press with floured fork.
Bake at 350° F for 12-14 minutes until lightly brown.



Next time I think I will substitute brown sugar with honey. My objective... To reduce the refined sugars in this recipe. This will take a little bit of playing around. Honey is far sweeter and has a distinctive flavour. I may even slip in a bit of molasses to mimic the brown sugar flavour. In addition, the honey will not be a 1 to 1 substitution either. I might start with 1/2 cup, add a tablespoon of molasses and keep the white sugar as is.  I might even increase the peanut butter by a 1/4 cup to down play the strong honey flavour. Wish me luck!

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