Thursday, 6 June 2013

Peanut Cookies - Gluten Free and Slightly Miraculous!
So here's a cookie in the "Free" series I mentioned in my Banana Bread post a few weeks ago.  They're gluten free because they contain no all...not even GF flour.  I is that possible?  Not only is it possible, I think I prefer them to their 'normal' cousins!  Generally I don't buy biscuits (cookies) because they tend to contain all sorts of ingredients that I just don't recognise.  My rule of thumb is that if the ingredient isn't in my pantry it's probably best avoided...I know, it's a slightly Luddite approach but I really can't spend all day on Google investigating trade names and chemical formulae!

My nearly-5-year-old absolutely LOVES baking so it's an activity we can do together which benefits people!  Oh, I nearly forgot to mention: they take 28 minutes to make plus 30 minutes of fridge time.  That's about the limit of a 5 year old's attention span so these get made fairly often round here.  The original recipe can be found here though I have tinkered with it a bit - I just can't help myself!  Now, when you read the ingredients list you might think I've left something out...that this combination can't possibly work.  I really haven't and it really does.  Please trust me!

1 cup crunchy or super crunchy peanut butter at room temperature
1/2 cup caster or superfine sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (morsels)
  1. Place everything in the bowl of a free standing mixer and switch on for about 2 minutes until everything is mixed well.  I have one of those paddle attachments which scrapes the edges of the bowl but if you don't, scrape down after about a minute then continue.  This mixture is soft enough to mix with a wooden spoon too, I just love using my mixer!
  2. Place the mixture (in the mixing bowl) in the fridge for about 30 minutes until it is firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150 C or 325 F and line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof or parchment paper. 
  4. Once the dough is firm, take a small ice cream scoop - one of those with a squeezy handle that releases the contents of the scoop - and pack it with dough by scooping the mixture then dragging it up the inside of the bowl.  The excess should fall back into the bowl and you can release the shaped dough directly onto a lined baking sheet. Space them about 5cm or 2" apart.  They won't spread much as there is no flour or leavening agent.  If you don't have a small enough scoop, just pinch off pieces of the dough and roll them between your hands but you need to work quickly so the warmth of your hands doesn't soften the dough too much.
  5. Apparently, the traditional pattern on a peanut cookie is cross hatch made with a fork.  I just happened to have a little masher (it's been redundant since I stopped making baby food!) in the utensil pot beside me so I used that. Please feel free to use a fork or any other kitchen implement that calls you.
Bake for 20 minutes then leave to cool on the tray for at least 5 minutes.  This is really important as the cookies are a bit fragile when they are first baked.  Finally transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  They crisp up considerably during the cooling process so if you try a warm one (as I did) please don't worry that it's a bit soft.

This recipe make about 18-20 cookies depending on the size of your scoop...and how much of the dough is pilfered by little fingers before it even reaches the oven!
Enjoy with a cuppa, or a glass of cold milk. It's a mouthful of YUM!!

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