Chocolate & Spice

chocolate, spice and the other pleasures in life

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Snack Time Munchies

A and I are just back from a long weekend trip down the Great Ocean Road. The long distances between the little towns and sights means many hours in the car before a suitable snack joint turns up to cater to a hunger attack coming out of nowhere. I gave this some thought before we set off as A would be doing most of the driving and I didn't want him to get cranky or distracted, seeing that he likes to snack when he's bordering on being hungry. Also, we'd be covering a lot of ground on Day 1 and wouldn't have time to stop for a proper sit-down lunch, so a picnic lunch was definitely in order.

On Friday evening, I started assembling our picnic lunch for Day 1. I whipped up sandwiches of mashed hardboiled eggs (mixed with chopped celery leaves, chopped onions, a pinch of curry powder and salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper, bound together with a generous lashing of leftover cream in the fridge), packed 2 oranges, 2 slices of the One Pot Chocolate Cake I'd made a couple of days before, and 12 of these yummy cookies I'd baked earlier that evening.

What I loved about these cookies was how simple they were to make and that they didn't have esoteric ingredients which I'd have to hunt high and low for. As I said previously, I'm patient with my cooking but I'm still lazy about attempting those complicated recipes with many different ingredients! If a recipe has 8 to 10 different ingredients for each component (i.e. icing, filling, cake base), my eyes glaze over immediately. Also, I was short on time that evening, so I needed to make a batch of homely comfort food cookies without too much fuss.

It was a good time as any time to try out another recipe I'd flagged in Campion and Curtis' Everyday Cooking, my latest cookbook acquisition. The end results are really good for a simple recipe such as this one. A chomped his way through a couple that Friday night itself and these cookies were much-needed energy boosters on our long walks around the rainforest/wildlife reserve/waterfalls/lighthouses on this trip.

Chocolate Peanut Cookies
(Makes between 25 - 30 chunky cookies)

Ingredients
:

125g soft butter
125g crunchy peanut butter
100g brown sugar, firmly packed
110g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
225g self-raising flour
95g chocolate chips (or as much as you can cram into each cookie dough ball!)

Method:

Preheat oven to 180'C. Line baking trays with baking paper.

Cream the butter, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined.

After a lot of muscle work on my part, this is what the creamed mixture should look like.
Add the flour (progressively for a smoother mix) and mix together, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Roll level teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place them 3cm apart on the prepared baking trays. Flatten slightly using a fork.

Flattening the cookie balls with a fork

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from trays and leave to cool on a cooling rack, then store in an airtight container.

The finished product - yummy snack munchies!

Some comments:

  • I used extra chunky peanut butter from Skippy's instead of the normal chunky peanut butter. This was so chunky that there was hardly any "butter" in it; that's why it's been sitting in our fridge for yonks without being spread on toast at all! I've since found out it's perfect for making these cookies.
  • I like to add the flour progressively as 225g is quite a lot to dump in at one go.
    I wasn't so precise with the teaspoon measuring of the dough, but chose instead to just grab whatever I liked. I ended up with chunkier cookies as a result as the balls I rolled were probably much bigger than what the recipe intended.
  • As not everyone is going to be so precise with their measuring of the dough mixture, baking time will therefore need to be adjusted accordingly until the cookies are done. A good test is to check if they are still soft when pressed slightly, bearing in mind that cookies do harden when they cool. If still soft when pressed, bake for further intervals of 1 minute each time until desired shade of golden brown.
  • I like more chocolate chips in mine so I studded most of the balls with a couple more extra chips before popping them in the oven.

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