Soft-Baked Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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So let me just get this straight. Chocolate and peanut butter is pretty much my favorite flavor combination EVER. I love it. You can find me on just about any given day sneaking a spoonful of peanut butter with dark chocolate chips on it from the pantry as a quick treat. If I had to choose one last meal, (but um, let’s hope I don’t have to) it would probably consist of some sort of peanut butter chocolate dessert.

I’m telling you, I’m obsessed with the stuff.

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Now let’s talk about these amazing cookies. They are sooooooo soft and bursting with peanut butter and chocolate chips. They’ve even got a sprinkle of coarse salt on top, because who doesn’t love a little sweet and salty?

Also, did I mention that they are naturally GF? So if you can’t eat gluten, or you’re baking for someone who can’t eat gluten, these are the way to go! Not to mention the fact that they’re made in just one bowl, which means less clean up time (always a winner for me). AND, there aren’t any weird flours you have to drive to a health store to find—it’s just eight simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

Okay, enough with the sales pitch—let’s get on to the recipe.

First things first, cream the peanut butter with some dark brown sugar. The dark brown sugar has about twice as much molasses content as light brown sugar, lending it a deeper flavor and making the cookies even moister. Then add an egg, vanilla, milk, baking soda, and cornstarch. Yes, cornstarch in cookies. You may think it’s strange, but it’s my favorite trick to making soft and puffy cookies!

After that, you just stir in some chocolate chips, form the dough into balls, and bake for ten minutes. When they come out of the oven, sprinkle them with sea salt and then let them sit for a good ten minutes so they set. (They’ll fall apart if you try and move them before then.) Then you can dive in to that peanut-buttery, melty chocolate, soft-baked goodness!

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Soft-Baked Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Makes 12-14 Cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes

Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients:

¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter, such as Jif or Skippy *see Baker’s note (a)*

½ cup dark brown sugar *see Baker’s note (b)*

½ tsp baking soda

1 large egg

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

¾ tsp cornstarch

1 ½ tsp milk

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus more for topping

Coarse salt for sprinkling

  1. Position middle oven rack and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream peanut butter and dark brown sugar in a medium bowl with a mixer on medium speed until combined. Add baking soda, egg, and vanilla and mix on low speed to combine, scraping down the sides as needed. Next, add cornstarch and milk, beating until combined. Stir in ½ cup chocolate chips.
  3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto a tray lined with parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches of room between each ball. Press a few extra chocolate chips onto the top of the balls if you like—I think it makes them much prettier. Bake for exactly 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. The cookies will look underdone, but as they sit they will set. Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt and let the cookies sit on the tray for at least ten minutes—if you try to move them before that, they will fall apart! After the 10 minutes, remove to wire racks and let cool completely.

Baker’s Note:

a. For these cookies, you should make sure to use a creamy peanut butter brand such as Jif or Skippy.  Other peanut butters that are too oily will not work in this recipe.

b. I recommend using dark brown sugar because it has a higher molasses content which creates more moisture and flavor than light brown sugar.  However, you can substitute light brown sugar in a pinch: the finished product will just be slightly different.

c. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Browned Butter Brownies (aka Downton Abbey Brownies)

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A few years ago, when my family was on a Downton Abbey kick, my mom gave my twin sister Maggie and me a new brownie recipe to try out –an uneven magazine clipping that she had taken out of Bon Appetit a few days prior.  I’m pretty sure that when she read the words“browned butter” in that recipe, her heart did a flip or two!  Anyways, she gave us this recipe to make one Sunday evening about a half hour before the 8:00 Downton Abbey special coming on, and despite our initial hesitation to (what?) melt butter and brown it in a saucepan for the recipe, we followed through with it.  And once we did, we were so glad!  The heavenly scent from the oven began calling to us after a short while, and when the timer beeped we took our pan out and gazed at the shiny dark brown color of our treats.  After letting them cool (impatiently), we carried a plate of them into the den where the show was on, along with a few glasses of milk.  I think between the four of us (Mom, Dad, Maggie, me) we ate over half a pan that night! Despite their richness, these are seriously addicting.

Thus started a phase of watching Downton every Sunday along with our favorite signature brownie.  Sadly, now with my mom eating gluten-free, and my dad watching what he eats, I can’t say we make these every Sunday to accompany the show…  It was a great thing we had going while it lasted though!

So there you have it: Downton Abbey brownies = brownies the Boggs family traditionally eats while watching Downton Abbey.  However, though I’m not sure that Lady Mary and the rest of the gang would eat brownies at tea-time, I would imagine that if they did, these would be the ones.  These are just about the classiest brownies out there!  Full of dark cocoa powder, browned butter, and just a scant 1/3 cup +1 tbsp flour, these reach new heights of brownie perfection.  And the texture—definitely 10x better than the average boxed brownie mix—these are some of the softest, fudgiest brownies ever!

The extra step of browning the butter is most definitely worth it, too… It creates a nutty, aromatic layer of flavor and a decadent chewiness to the batch.  Do not skip this step!

Here’s a picture of what the finished browned butter should look like, in case you’re curious:

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After that, add sugar, cocoa, water, vanilla and salt to the hot mixture taken off the heat.   Let sit for five minutes before adding eggs. This is important! You don’t want scrambled eggs in your batter!  Then add chilled eggs one at a time.

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Add flour, stir, put in prepared pan, bake for twenty-five minutes!

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Remove from the oven, cool, and cut into 16 squares.

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And of course, we can’t forget the powdered sugar on top! Add a light dusting. 🙂

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And here’s these little delights featured Crawley-family style.

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Browned Butter Brownies (aka Downton Abbey Brownies)

*adapted from Bon Appetite*

Makes 16 Bars

Prep Time 20 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

FullSizeRender (6)Ingredients:

1 ¼ sticks (10 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1 ¼ cups white granulated sugar

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (my favorite brand is Ghirardelli)

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 heaping teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, chilled

⅓ cup plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

¾ cup walnut or pecan pieces *see baker’s note (a)*

Powdered sugar, for dusting

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and position the middle oven rack.
  2. Place foil in an 8x8x2 metal baking pan, leaving a slight 1.5 inch overhang on sides. Use either softened butter or non-stick baking spray to grease the foil.
  3. Melt butter on medium heat in a medium saucepan, preferably one with a white interior so that the color of the butter is more visible. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the saucepan.  Once butter has stopped foaming and browned bits have formed at the bottom of the pan, remove from heat.
  4. Immediately add sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until combined and let sit for five minutes.
  5. After the mixture has sat for five minutes, add chilled eggs one at a time, beating vigorously with whisk.  Once mixture has a glossy sheen and has thickened, add flour and beat with wooden spoon for 60 strokes.
  6. Optional: Stir in nuts until combined.
  7. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 22-27 minutes, until the middle is completely set and a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean (it’ll have a slight brown color, that’s okay).  Cool on a metal rack for 10 minutes, then use foil overhang to lift from pan.  Cut into 16 squares, and dust with powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

Baker’s Notes:

a. You can add either coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans to this recipe if you’d like. Personally, I think the richness of these brownies is perfect on its own, but for added crunch you can definitely add nuts.

b. These brownies last for up to five days, sealed in an airtight container at room temperature.