Today’s recipe definitely fit into the JB Adventures theme. I approached this recipe with a keen desire to play with the science of baking. I really wanted to take a recipe and experiment with adjusting ingredients and timing to see what results would occur. In order to do this, I decided to make the recipe twice (once as a control – straight out of the book “BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts” by Stella Parks) and one version with a few minor adjustments.
The recipe starts with making a peanut flour. This is not something that I traditionally do when I make peanut butter cookies but this gave me an early opportunity to experiment with the two separate batches. I added the ingredients for the first batch and pulsed in my food processor as outlined – about one minute. The flour still had some small bits of peanuts but I thought that might enhance the flavor so I left it as is. When poured into a bowl, I realized the flour was stickier and bunched together (see right side in picture). For the second recipe, I let the food processor run for three minutes, making sure the peanuts were mostly dust in the flour. This resulted in a lighter, airier flour (side left).
As I was working with the rest of the recipe, I followed the first batch to a tee. This is the batch that I added the Reese’s Pieces. You’ll see that the dough still had bits of the honey roasted peanuts all through to the end. With this consistency it was a bit hard to mix in the candies as they didn’t originally want to stick to the dough. I had to keep working the candies in all the way through the ball stage and placement on the cookie sheet to get the Reese’s Pieces to stay.
As for my experimented batch, I used the iodized salt instead of the kosher salt. I did NOT add candies to this version. As you’ll see in the picture below, the dough had a smoother consistency.
As for the baking, I left both at the 16 minute mark. They really didn’t need any change in time given the different ingredients.
The outcome is something of a debate in my household. The first version with the Reese’s Pieces was my favorite as it had a deeper flavor coming from the candies. It did however have a rougher consistency from peanuts being present all the way through to the finished cookie. That wasn’t my favorite part.
The second version yielded a smoother cookie that just melted in your mouth – this one was my husbands favorite. I liked that consistency as well but I wanted more sweet peanut butter flavor from the candies.
Ultimately, they were both really good cookies. My husband says they need to continue to be in the cookie rotation at our house. I would agree but I will definitely go with version number two – the flour mixed for much longer. And the addition of Reese’s Pieces – that is a must.
Until next time… Happy Baking!
Original Recipe below makes 30-34 cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups salted honey-roasted peanuts
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature but cool
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (half as much if using iodized salt)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, well beaten
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/3 cups Reese’s Pieces (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°
- Make peanut flour. Sift all-purpose flour into bowl of food processor. Add peanuts and pulse until fine, about 1 minute.
- In a stand mixer or large bowl, combine peanut butter, butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla. Mix on low-speed until just combined. Increase speed to medium and beat until soft and light, about 3 minutes. With the mixer running, add the egg in two additions, mixing until well incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add the peanut flour followed by the milk to form a very soft dough. If using Reese’s Pieces, stir in at this point until evenly distributed.
- Roll into balls (2 tablespoon sized portions) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet leaving 2 inches between each ball.
- Bake until edges are firm and just barely beginning to brown. The cookies will be puffy and steamy in the middle (approximately 16 minutes).
- Cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to cookie rack.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Original recipe from BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by Stella Parks