Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Cookies with a Thrilling Twist

By Cal Orey

Yep. It’s time. We’re now entering a brand new month and soon a new season. Sweet September! That means it’s almost time for baking. But we’re taking it slowly, remember. Why not bake a batch of sweet-and-salty peanut butter cookies changed up a bit.  As history tells it, criss-cross imprints made by using fork tines goes back to the early 20th century. My mom told me pressing the cookie dough made it bake better.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Sea salt caramel is a popular combo trend and it’s not unheard of to mix it up with peanut butter. Sea salt caramel gelato is a favorite cold comfort food I’ve enjoyed in the summertime with iced water after dinner. But peanut butter cookies are a treat fall-time treat that take me to coffee and cookie shops.

Last October on a Sunday afternoon I had a feeling that if I played the Wheel of Fortune dollar slots I’d win. Once the man next to me let me have a go of it at his slot machine, I sensed a win coming. When I spun the wheel after hearing those words “Wheel of Fortune” I knew I’d hit the 2000 dollar jackpot. And yes, it hit the 2000 number! Also, I was given a gift card to use at a coffee shop. And I purchased pastries and cookies, including a peanut butter cookie. This recipe reminds me of that exciting day and I included a bit of excitement (sea salt and caramel) for the thrill factor.
Peanut butter criss-cross cookies (sea salt CARAMEL)
½ cup European style butter
½ cup golden brown sugar
¼ cup white granulated sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 brown eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups caramel chips (Ghirardelli)
Sea salt (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine softened European style butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients (flour and baking soda).  Fold in chips. Place dough in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On an ungreased cookie sheet or lined with parchment paper or foil, drop ice cream scoop (1/4 cup size) onto sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and cool. Makes about 15 cookies. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. 
Serve with tea, honey, gelato or ice cream and fresh berries. Since the days are still warmish,  I recommend taking two cookies (they're medium sized) and spread cold vanilla or chocolate ice cream on one and make an ice cream sandwich for the thrill of it.

These cookies are easy to make. Not only do they smell heavenly with creamy peanut butter (a superfood noted in the new book, The Healing Powers of Superfoods (December 18, 2018) and caramel chips but you can taste both in each bite. The criss-cross marks will give you a classic peanut butter cookie and the caramel chips and sea salt brings you back to present-day adventurous trends. It’s the perfect cookie prelude as we edge into off season and autumn bliss around the Lake and nation.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, and Superfoods) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is

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