Friday, March 30, 2012
Peanut Cookie Brittle
You’ve probably eaten scads of peanut butter cookies in your time. Peanut butter is such an American staple and when it comes to cookies, from school cafeterias to coffee shops to our own kitchens, we’ve all had our fair share of those crispy sandy cookies with the identifying crosshatch on top.
This is a great little cookie from Maida Heatter, one of our most beloved pastry cookbook authors and member of the James Beard Foundation Hall of Fame. These are not made with peanut butter but rather just four simple ingredients that bake into plain crispy, crumbly, buttery cookies riddled with roasted salted peanuts. They are simply addictive due to their simplicity of flavor and wonderful brittle texture.
This is probably one of the easiest cookies you’ll ever make. Cream some butter and sugar, add some flour and chopped peanuts. Press the dough into a flat sheet on a pan and bake. No rolling or cutting or piping or chilling. By the time you’ve cleaned up your kitchen, they’re done. Presto!
- It's important to note that Maida Heatter sifts her flour and then measures.
- To enhance their deliciousness, add 1/2 t – 3/4 t salt, a teaspoon of vanilla or a pinch of chile powder. Or substitute honey roasted peanuts and sprinkle salt on the top.
- Although the recipe recommends using an ungreased pan, I used parchment with a bit of an overhang to make it easy to remove.
- If you don’t have the right size pan, use a baking sheet and just pat the dough out to the correct proportions, shoring up the edges so they don’t burn. The cookie puffs up a bit but does not spread much, so it works fine.
- Cut these while still warm using a sharp chef’s knife. Or you can just cool completely and break into pieces like peanut brittle. Store in an airtight container.
Peanut Brittle Bars
adapted from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen pieces
8 oz (2 sticks) butter @ room temperature
1 C sugar
2 C sifted flour
1 cup roasted and salted peanuts, divided
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Coarsely chop peanuts and divide into two 1/2 cup portions.
Cream butter and sugar until light, about 2 –3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Lower speed and gradually add flour. When just about fully combined, stir in 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts and mix.
Turn the dough onto an ungreased 15” x 10” jellyroll pan [I used parchment]. Lightly flour your fingertips and press out the dough into a thin layer. Sprinkle remaining peanuts onto the dough and press to secure. If necessary, cover with a piece of wax paper or parchment and use a rolling pin to press the peanuts into the dough.
Bake for 23 - 25 minutes until golden brown, rotating the sheet about halfway through. Cool cookies in the pan for about 10 minutes and then remove to a flat surface and slice into portions.