One of my favorite cookies to bake are “Chunky Peanut, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Cookies”. They certainly are crowd pleasers. The cookies combine three wonderful flavors that remain recognizable in the baked cookies. They are ever so slightly crunchy on the outside, even more so, if you choose not to chop the peanuts too finely and they are moist and chewy in the middle, not dry. Just the way we like our cookies.
As is the case with all recipes, the better quality ingredients that you use, the more flavorful the cookies will taste. Apart from a really good peanut butter and good quality chocolate, I love to use freshly roasted peanuts. The original recipe calls for salted peanuts but we prefer unsalted nuts in our cookies.
People enjoy eating nuts and love to snack on salted peanuts. It is a popular habit to nibble on this snack while watching television. The nuts can be found everywhere in vacuum sealed plastic or foil packages as well as in tins but not freshly roasted. There are not too many places around here that roast fresh peanuts right in the store in front of your eyes.
But we found a wonderful place while we were visiting Maasstricht, a city that I have mentioned a few times before in my blog and that we love to visit quite often. It is situated on both sides of the Meuse - Maas (Dutch) river in the south-eastern part of the Netherlands, on the Belgian border and near the German border.
The store is called “Maison Blanche Dael”, a Maastricht-based coffee roasting company (www.blanchedael.nl). As I mentioned in one of my previous posts ("Bookshop made in heaven"), this coffee roasting and tea packaging company was founded in 1878 and, to this day, is a purveyor to the Royal Dutch Household. In addition to selling coffee, tea, sweets, chocolate and whimsical teapotts and cups, Blanche Dael is also famous with the locals as well as tourists for roasting peanuts in their coffee roasting maschine.
Customers are always intrigued by the fact that the store roasts nuts as well as coffee beans and enjoy watching the roasting process and the smell when they enter the store. I always make sure to buy a few bags of the peanuts for munching on during the drive back home for baking and for gift giving. And I just love the way the store´s paper bags look like, kind of old-fashioned, in a good and familiar kind of way.
Once I bring the peanuts home, I make sure to shell and chop them the day after I bought them…
… I believe that they taste the best when used as soon as possible.
Chunky Peanut, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Cookies
(as adapted from Martha Stewart Living November 2005 and Martha Stewart´s Cookies, published March 11, 2008, page 179)
Ingredients for the Cookies
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, preferably from Ceylon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Calvé peanut butter, a Dutch brand – www.calve.nl)
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 eggs (L), free range or organic
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I did not use chocolate chips but chopped Lindt Excellence 70% )
2/3 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (I always use unsalted and freshly roasted nuts)
1 package pure vanilla sugar or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, sea salt, and ground cinnamon in a medium bowl.
3. Put the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until combined, about two minutes.
4. Add the light-brown and white sugars and mix for about two minutes.
5. Mix in the eggs.
6. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
7. Fold in the chocolate, peanuts, and vanilla until well distributed.
8. Refrigerate the dough until it is slightly firm, about 15 minutes.
9. Roll dough into 1-inch balls (I always use an ice cream scoop instead) and space the dough balls 2 to 3 inches apart on your baking sheets lined with unbleached parchment paper or silpat mats. If you wish, flatten the dough slightly (I do not find that step necessary) and chill the remaining dough while baking one sheet at a time.
10. Bake until just golden, about 11 to 13 minutes,depending entirely upon your oven but do be careful not to overbake or the cookies will become too dry.
11. Transfer the baked cookies to wire racks to cool - no need to let them cool completely, they taste delicious while they are still a bit warm.
12. Serve with milk or tea and enjoy.
I absolutely love this recipe. The cookies are delicious and have a great peanut flavor. The whole family enjoys them and they are easy to make.
It is nice to be able to use freshly roasted peanuts from a place that you know but, of course, that is not absolutely necessary and you can play around with this recipe a bit too by using a different chocolate, for example, or you could choose to use salted peanuts and chop them as coarsely or finely as you wish.
And if you prefer peanut butter cookies without chocolate but with a twist, like a well-known hazelnut spread, you could also try the Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies.
Serve these cookies with a tall glass of milk or some tea or with vanilla ice cream or just as a snack. Whichever way you choose to serve them, I am sure that these cookies will be a success!