Monday, April 30, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Cookies

I had been looking for an excuse to try this idea for a simple variation on a basic drop cookie. I thought it might be good to add some cocoa to this chocolate chip cookie and replace the chocolate chips with cocktail peanuts. I didn’t really have a good reason to make cookies, but did I need one?

My advice to you is to make cookies before you “need” a cookie. While I was contemplating my excuses for a comforting bite or two, my husband got hit by a car on his bike. Happily, he was not injured at all (although the bike wasn’t so lucky), but I think it’s fair to say he needed a cookie after his ordeal. And when I learned that the driver, who couldn’t be bothered to refrain from turning left just because someone else was in the middle of the intersection, going straight, and therefore having the right of way, was not issued a citation, I was the one who needed a cookie! Trust me, mindfully savoring a chocolaty cookie with plenty of crunchy peanuts can go a long way toward preventing a confrontation with police.

These cookies are just as easy as any homemade chocolate chip cookie. They turned out more cake-y than fudgy, but I think the addition of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate would make them gooier if that’s what you like. I liked the slight saltiness of the cocktail peanuts, which I didn’t chop. They break up just a little when mixed into the batter, but for the most part, they stay big and chunky and crunchy.

These Chocolate Peanut Drop Cookies are simple and satisfying, a nice combination of cocoa and peanuts. So, again, my advice for today is make these (or any other cookie you like) now, because you never know when you’re going to need one. Some more advice: always wear a helmet when biking, and, for goodness sake, start seeing bicycles before someone gets hurt!!


Chocolate Peanut Drop Cookies
I prefer to let this cookie dough rest in the refrigerator before baking, but if you don't have that kind of time, you could bake these just after mixing. 

1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups cocktail peanuts

1. Place the butter, granulated sugar and dark brown sugar in a large bowl or in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until pale in color and very creamy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each is added. Beat in the vanilla extract.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir or whisk together to combine well. Add to the butter mixture a little at a time and mix on low speed until well combined.

3. Add the peanuts and either stir them in with a spoon or mix them in slowly with the electric mixer until well distributed through the dough.

4. Cover the dough and chill for 1 hour or even overnight, or wrap very well and freeze for up to a month (I have frozen similar doughs longer.)

5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line them with parchment paper.

6. Scoop or pull pieces of cookie dough about 1 ½ tablespoons in size and shape into rough balls. Set the dough balls on the prepared cookie sheet(s), at least 2 inches apart.

7. Bake at 375 F about 9-10 minutes, or until the cookies appear dry on the edges but still slightly moist in the middle

8. Remove from the oven and cool on the pan on a wire rack for about 2 minutes. Remove the cookies from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for a few days or wrap well and freeze.

Makes 50-60 cookies.

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