Without my own set work schedule I sort of drift into the patterns of my husband’s week. His “weekends” have been Monday and Tuesday so we planned to go out. Instead we stayed in to watch the Netflix movie that had been sinking, ignored, into the TV stand for the last few weeks.
After the movie, I decided that I wanted a cookie. This craving was complicated by the lack of cookies in the house, so a quick baking session was in order. But what kind of cookies to make? When asked for his opinion, my husband helpfully suggested, “Those really good ones you liked a lot.”
It turned out he meant the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I’ve made a few times and promptly eaten most of the batch myself. So I guess his description was accurate, if vague.
The recipe is pretty straightforward, too. All-purpose flour, baking powder and soda, salt, white and brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, vanilla, an egg — nothing weird. I should have all of those ingredients, right?
I was out of all-purpose flour, and I only had 3/4 cup of peanut butter. Instead of doing the math and making half the recipe (it was late!), I decided to make do. When cooking, I do this a lot. When baking, I try to stick pretty close unless I’ve made the recipe a lot. Or unless I ran out of several ingredients.
They turned out really well, but a bit different from the originals. Not bad, just different. For the 1/4 cup of peanut butter I was missing, I used the food processor to make “pecan butter,” or at least a paste of ground pecans. Their flavor isn’t as strong as peanuts, so the cookies were a little more mellow than if using all peanut butter. In retrospect to complement the crunchy peanut butter, I should have added some finely-chopped pecans to the dough.
For the all-purpose flour, I substituted a mix of whole wheat pastry flour and bread flour. It’s what I had! I used a little more flour than the recipe called for originally to combat stickiness. And while the recipe doesn’t call for it, I found the second pan to be better because I chilled the dough in between batches. The dough doesn’t stick because the fat content is so high, but it’s quite soft and chilling the cookies retain their shape and not spread quite as much.
Peanut Butter Pecan Cookies
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
~1/3 cup nuts such as pecans, walnuts, or almonds
3/4 cup sugar plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1.) Preheat oven to 350F. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
2.) Coarsely chop the pecans (or other nuts) and place in a food processor or blender. Pulse until uniformly small pieces have formed, then whir until it becomes a paste that sticks together. Drip in 1/8 teaspoon of water or oil if it is mealy but not forming a ball.
3.) In a stand mixer, cream the butter and nut butters together until fluffy. Add sugars and beat until smooth. Add egg and mix until combined, then add milk and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in baking chips. Chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
4.) Place a few tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl. Scoop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls and dip in sugar. Place on an un-greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Use a fork to press down gently and make a criss-cross pattern in the top or just flatten gently with an offset spatula.
5.) Bake 10-12 minutes at 350F. Let cool for one minute on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Cookies may look under-baked, but should not brown.