Last night I stared at the half-bag of peanut butter chips thinking of all the things I could use them for. Drizzled on a scone? Melted in a fudge? Baked into a brownie? The wonderful versatility of these chips is only part of the reason I picked them up (the other part is Mr. Foodie and I like having something we can just pick at – a small pinch after dinner when we don’t want a proper dessert, a spoonful for a snack, etc.). I finally settled on an adapted version of Karen Rose’s Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies because a) who doesn’t love a chocolate cookie on occasion? and b) it didn’t require brown sugar which is perpetually missing from my pantry.
I say “adapted” because I found myself without vanilla extract again, so I used maple syrup. I also added cranberries along with the PB chips because I love the color combo and I wanted to break up the ultra-sweetness of chocolate and PB with the tart berries – good choice on my part! It was like have a PB & J and Chocolate sandwich – yum!
The batter was addictive, but the finished product was, indeed, chewy – with creamy-salty pockets of peanut butter chips and tangy round dabs of tart cranberry. The chocolate cookie itself was sublime. It carried a deep, dark chocolate flavor which is my chocolate preference and paired perfectly with the strong flavors of the chips and berries. I will admit to the challenge I faced with baking time. I made these cookies slightly larger than I usually do and I had trouble discerning when they were ready because of the darkness of the dough (so much easier to see little crisp brown edges on a blonde dough!), but I succeeded by nudging the edges of the cookie with the spatula to see if they were stiff. Perfection! Though I love them warm from the oven, they are also delicious this morning with our coffee.
Often when I’m cooking or baking I use the opportunity to experiment on the “side” – for example I set aside two scoops of dough last night before putting in the chips and berries so I could add chili pepper to it instead. First, I LOVE pepper and chocolate as a flavor combination. I take my hot chocolate with cayenne, for instance. Second, I find this method less stressful than baking an entire batch of cookies with my tweaks and finding they didn’t work at all – less devastating and wasteful to be honest. Do you ever do that? Set a little aside to play?
My chili-chocolate came out too similarly to the rest of the batch – in other words I needed a LOT more chili to taste the heat I was going for. Noted for next time.