Good Morning! I hope you all had a great Labor Day. I quite enjoyed mine!
It's never very fun to have a project go awry for yourself, but I think that the most frustrating fails I've had have been when I have been doing a project to give away or to share with someone else. The fails didn't even have to be horribly wrong to be horribly frustrating; maybe it feels like such a worse fail because you were working hard to be charitable and kind and the project turns against you. Anyway...all that to say, "Lisa, I feel your pain."
Lisa recently moved and her neighbors "are super friendly, and super in the kitchen as well. They also love to share and are bringing over treats at least once a week." She decided to return the kindness and make them a treat, but she had to be careful because one of the neighbor children has a milk allergy. She found this 4-ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie recipe on Pinterest, did a little happy dance, and whipped it up.
The Original Pin
Ok...I'm a Peanut Butter lover, but those look pretty dang good. And only 4 ingredients? Wow. But on the other hand...these "simplified" and reduced ingredient recipes always make me a little nervous.
And here are Lisa's "paper-thin, rock hard Peanut Butter hockey pucks."
Sad day. So much good Peanut Butter in the trash can.
Lisa told us, "I'll admit to subbing out natural Peanut Butter for reduced fat (all I had on hand) and adding a little extra sugar because the dough looked very sticky but, c'mon, can that really make THAT big of a difference? Apparently so."
Let's take a look at what the original recipe called for and see how big of a difference her substitution and addition could make.
Bingo...do you see it? I've got the key to the puzzle. It's the natural Peanut Butter.
What's the difference between natural and "regular" PB you ask? Let me show/tell you (and we're just covering the differences...this isn't an exposé on which is better or the good/bad of corn syrup or anything like that).
|photo source: http://www.deliciousorchardsnjonline.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=195|
Natural Peanut Butter are ground up peanuts with very few (if any) additives. It is usually thicker and more coarse than "regular" PB. It also has a slightly different taste because it uses peanut oil rather than vegetable oil and it usually does not have added sugars or preservatives.
"Regular" Peanut Butter is more creamy, more sticky, and less thick than natural PB. The peanuts are usually ground finer than in natural PB so that it can be mixed more thoroughly with the vegetable oil, corn syrup and preservatives.
Either way, natural or regular, I could eat it with a spoon. Okay, maybe I already do.
Now for the extra sugar part of the equation. Sometime in our life many of us have melted sugar...be it in high school chemistry lab, making no-bake cookies, cooking up some candy, etc. It melts, spreads, browns and gets bubbly. Then, when it cools it hardens up fast. When you add too much sugar to a recipe and throw off the ingredient ratio too much you'll definitely notice. Too much sugar in cookies can cause the cookies to "melt" and spread out thin, look "bubbly" and then they'll cool and be extra hard. So a little bit of extra sugar might not change things up too much, but too much and you have issues.
When there are plenty of ingredients in a recipe, changing things up might not make as big of a difference. When there are only 4 ingredients though, making one change changes 1/4 of the recipe...that's a good chunk! These recipes usually only work if they are followed to a T.
So...don't have natural PB around and don't want to go to the store? Let me give you my favorite Peanut Butter Cookie recipe that we use all the time (which can be made dairy free as well). I'll just copy and paste it from my post on a family recipe exchange blog I'm a part of.
Peanut Butter Cookies (or just the dough...)
This is one of our favorite cookie dough recipes. We found it online and it is great!
1/2 c. granulated (white) sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter/margarine, room temperature
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1. Cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add the sugars, cream for 2 more minutes.
2. Mix in the peanut butter and egg.
3. Mix together the dry ingredients-flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into the sugar/butter mixture.
4. The recipe we use calls for wrapping the dough in plastic and refrigerating it for at least 3 hours...but we haven't ever done that and it's turned out good.
5. Now, here is where you have to make your choice...we have actually only baked this dough once...and it made a really good cookie, but (don't read on Kathleen...just skip to the next step) we usually eat it raw when we watch a movie (instead of popcorn)...so you have to decide how you want to consume it. If you're not going to bake it, you're done!
6. If you are going to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Place them about 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Here, the recipe says to flatten in crisscross pattern with a fork, but we get a glass, dip the bottom end in sugar, and flatten them that way (like a sugar cookie).
7. Bake until light brown, 8-10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for a minute; transfer to rack to cool completely.
The recipe says that if you want chewier cookies, bake it at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, but to get softer cookies, we bake at the normal temperature and just pull them out earlier. Either way works.
Tonight, we were watching Myth Busters and decided to try out a new way of eating the dough. Don't yell at me for eating raw dough; it's my favorite and I'm not afraid. I know some are against it and some aren't bothered by it. Eat at your own risk...I do.