To be totally honest with you, I am not a cookie person. I love to bake, yet somehow cookies mostly annoy me. Why? People often think cookies are the easiest thing to bake… They’re so small… bake for such a short amount of time… No, no. An experienced baker will tell you that cookies can be fickle, fickle creatures.
After mixing up a batter one must then individually shape each one, placing them on baking sheet after sheet. It is likely that your oven will not hold all the baking sheets at once, in which case you must then start baking them in batches. If you’re me, you only own one baking sheet, so you end up cursing as you rifle through the baking cabinet in search of anything with a flat bottom — the cookies shown were baked on my baking sheet, my roommate’s jelly roll pan, and my perforated pizza pan.
Once in the oven, cookies must be watched closely as a minute over the exact 12.5 minute baking time could mean the difference between lightly golden and burnt disaster! And then there’s another batch to be stuck in… Racks of cookies to be cooled… What about cooling down the pans that were just used so they don’t melt the dough before being put into the oven? And don’t even get me started on FROSTING these little things.
Isn’t it much easier to bake a cake? One bowl… A pan or two… And you’re done. And what is more satisfying that slicing into a substantial cake that you baked yourself? Much better than those little hockey pucks called cookies, right?
Am I being melodramatic? (come on guys, it’s ME) Of course! So what’s my point? Just that if I make a cookie, it better be a great one, for a great person. 😉
I chose these peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies to give to Coralie because of her well-documented love for Trader Joe’s mini peanut butter cups. This is a flourless concoction, which results in a very flavorful, tender cookie that whips up quickly. The recipe is so simple that you really won’t want to skimp on the quality of the ingredients you use — in particular, for good peanut butter. These are made with a delicious peanut butter I get from my local Fresh Market, the only ingredient being fresh peanuts, ground to order. There’s something wonderful about holding a container of fresh peanut butter, still warm from the grinding. It has an amazing taste, texture, is only $3/lb, and didn’t separate in the fridge (at least for the half week it lasted, because I ate the rest. With a spoon.). I’ve made this recipe with organic natural peanut butter, and it worked just as well.
If I wasn’t a grad student (or Fleur de Sel wasn’t $11 a jar), I would’ve used the “good” salt on these when they were still warm from the oven. Instead, I made do with some coarsely ground sea salt, oversalted a bit, and prayed some small portion would stick onto the soft chocolate chunks. Co’s mom preferred them without salt, so it’s definitely your choice.
The cookies themselves mix together very quickly, shape easily (due to the oil in the peanut butter), and bake quickly, puffing up with minimal spreading. When baked on parchment paper there is no sticking, and the taste… is pretty delightful. These almost could convince me to trade in my cake pans 😉
This recipe is so simple and delicious that I ended up making another batch for another dinner’s dessert while I was in San Diego. Between two of us, two dozen disappeared in 24 hours, which I would say is a pretty good indicator of how tasty these little cookies are. These are undoubtedly going in my regular rotation.
Flourless Peanut Butter and Chocolate Mini Cookies
Makes two to three dozen cookies
- 1 cup organic, unsalted peanut butter — as natural and as few ingredients (peanut-only is optimal) as possible!
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar — I used a nice raw turbinado
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped — I have used both chocolate chunks and chips
- Fine grain fleur de sel to finish cookies — not in budget, so I just used a bit of coarse sea salt. Not quite the same but still added a nice saltiness!
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Line the bottoms of two cookie sheets with parchment paper (optional).
- In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda and kosher salt until combined.
- Stir in the chocolate.
- Measure out the dough in teaspoon sized balls — I reshaped them slightly by hand.
- Place the dough on the prepared pans, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly golden and spread to a puffy mound, about 12 to 14 minutes. They don’t spread much, so you can put them pretty close together.
- Sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel. Let cool completely on the pans on wire racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to week.