Friday, April 19, 2013

Practically Perfect Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I lived in France for sixteen months. Some would consider that country to be the food capital of the world, and I would probably agree--I ate some delicious things (especially pastries) during my time there. However, a few months after my arrival, I noticed a persistent craving that wouldn't go away, and that I could not satisfy.
Why? Because there was no peanut butter in France.
That was over twenty years ago. Things may have changed since then, but at the time, peanut butter was not to be found on the shelves of French grocery stores. I did happen upon some once, in an Asian import store, but besides being super expensive, it was a natural, no-salt, no-sugar, goo, with the taste and consistency of mud.
Another thing I craved was a good-ol' chocolate chip cookie. That was a craving I could almost satisfy with a fairly close approximation. Their brown sugar was strange, though, and chocolate chips weren't to be found, either. I made do with chunks of semi-sweet chocolate, which was delicious on its own, but, for some reason, didn't give the same result.
Perhaps that sixteen months of deprivation is the reason I devised this recipe. It satisfies both cravings at once, and is my all-time favorite cookie.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes

1 cup margarine
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips

Yield: 64 cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the margarine, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, then add the chips and mix until chips are evenly distributed. Drop dough with a medium scoop onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, being careful not to over bake.

Note: butter could be substituted for the margarine, but the dough will spread more during baking and result in a crispy rather than a soft cookie.

Using a scoop make for a nicely formed, uniform batch of cookies

Still warm from the oven, peanuty, chocolate-melty yumminess

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