Peanut Butter Cookies

by Erin Allen

As mentioned in this post, Erin will be attempting to get through the recipes in Christina Tosi's "Milk Bar" cookbook. This post is one in a series. Official recipes will be posted if they are available.

Between the black pepper brioche and kimchi/blue cheese croissants, I was pretty much done with dough for a while. Since Milk Bar is known for its sweet treats, I moved on to cookies. There are so many yummy cookies in this cookbook, and I can't wait to try them all. We'll start with the peanut butter cookies.

Peanut Brittle

When I began getting my act together to make the brittle and cookies, I realized I didn’t have enough granulated sugar. Not intending to go to the store for the next little bit — you know, quarantine life — I decided to take a chance and substitute with brown sugar. I’ve subbed brown sugar in cookies before and it simply makes them darker and chewier. Knowing Milk Bar’s cookies are intended to be chewy, I figured I could get a pass on this. Also, following Tosi on her Instagram Bake Club adventures, she's definitely a proponent of subbing things if you don't have something on hand. A lot of these baking ingredients are hot commodities during our current quarantine situation.

To begin the brittle, you need to make caramel. According to the recipe, you know the caramel is ready when it's a deep, dark amber. Because brown sugar is already dark, I couldn’t use the change of color as an indicator the caramel was ready. So I just stirred until the sugar was silky and creamy.

Tosi wasn’t wrong about it cooling really fast once out of the pot and on the mat. I didn’t get much of a thin spread. But, peanut brittle isn’t supposed to be pretty anyways, right?

A quick taste of what was left on my spatula tasted a bit burnt. I swear, the caramel didn’t burn when cooking. But when I put the peanuts in, I heard a hiss. Sara didn't notice a burnt flavor, so my fingers were crossed the brittle was as it should be. A little while later, once it had hardened, my concerns were alleviated. The brittle was crunchy and salty, with a dark, rich flavor that caramel imparts.

Peanut Butter Cookies

For the cookie batter, I used a combo of brown and granulated sugar (because I still had a little bit of the latter). I ground down the peanut brittle, as Tosi instructed.

Let me tell you, the batter alone was delicious. Substitute the raw eggs for some aquafaba (chick pea water) and chill, and you could have an amazing cookie dough treat that is safe to eat!

Batter with ground brittle added

I pressed the cookies down with my fingers as instructed, so the cookies may have my digits as a decoration indentation. I wish Tosi would be a bit more descriptive here, because all of Milk Bar's cookies are big and uniform. It would seem there's a bit more shaping to be done.

After 18 minutes (according to the recipe), the cookies were done. After I took them out of the oven, I was hard-pressed not to eat one then and there. According to Tosi, the cookies should be "crunchy on the outside, fudgy in the center." And, once slightly cooled, they definitely were.

These cookies are probably some of the best peanut butter cookies I've ever had. The perfect balance of sweet and salty, with a hint of caramel from the ground-up brittle. I ended up leaving some on my neighbor's porch, and the birds hacked away at the bag leaving absolutely nothing inside. Sign of success?!

I will say that the next day, the cookies were mostly crunchy. Warmed up slightly, they did return to a slight chewiness. I think, moving forward, I may have to play with the temperature and/or baking time.

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