Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Please-Everybody Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

This is the peanut butter version of the all-things-in-moderation chocolate chip cookie. It's large, but not particularly flat and not particularly puffy; crisp on the outside but soft on the inside; rich enough that you could eat one and be happy or have a second. A versatile, please everybody cookie.

This recipe is based on one by Kathy Bliesner, published in the AllRecipes "Tried & True" cookbook.

The Please-Everybody Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 12-15 cookies

1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda (for a puffier cookie, use baking powder instead)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp light corn syrup (For a moister version, use 3 Tbsp corn syrup and subtract 1 Tbsp white sugar. For a crisper version, add 2 Tbsp white sugar and use no corn syrup)
2 Tbsp water (For a moister, more chewy cookie, omit the water)
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the rack on the upper 1/3 of the oven. A high baking heat firms the dough quickly, giving it less time to spread. If it spreads, it will lose moisture, and become crunchy and flat.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil. Do not use butter or oil – they will make the cookies spread (read: crunchy and flat). Also, do not place dough on a warm cookie sheet – that too will make the dough spread. If the cookie sheet feels too warm, stick it in the refrigerator for a few minutes – a cold sheet will add to the soft and puffy nature of your cookie.

Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Make sure you don't pack down the flour – more flour will make these cookies hard, thick, and crunchy.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add the vanilla and egg, then beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the corn syrup and water, and beat until smooth and fluffy.

With a spoon or rubber spatula, mix in the flour mixture and chocolate chips until just incorporated. Don't spend too much time mixing here. The baking soda starts reacting the moment it hits the liquid mixture, so you want to get the dough mixed, formed, and baking quickly.

Drop the dough by 2 Tablespoon-fulls onto the sheets, about 2 inches apart. The goal with these cookies is to prevent spreading, so whatever shape you give these original cookies should be retained. Make these large. If they are too small, they won't retain moisture as well, and will become crunchy and flat.

Bake 12 - 14 minutes. The edges should turn a light brown, but the centers should just be coloring and soft. For a chewier cookie, bake less; for a crispy one, bake more.

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