Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Sometimes, my urge to experiment in the kitchen takes me to strange places. I’ve been on a bit of a healthy eating kick lately. I don’t know if it’s the warm weather and the more flesh-baring clothes that such weather demands or just a passing intellectual fad. It’s been difficult to reconcile my love of baking with my new desire, which may well prove fleeting, to consume more nutritious food.
I’m not a total killjoy; I think there’s room for the occasional decadent dessert in most diets. When I bake cookies, however, I tend to nosh on them for snacks in between meals instead of fresh fruit. And um, I feel kind of guilty about that. But I love cookies, and I’m not about to give them up altogether.
Basically, I decided that a nut butter-based cookie must, by virtue of all its good fats, be slightly healthier than your average cookie. I may be completely off base, but the power of self-delusion is a wonderful thing. I also had a mad hankering for pistachios. And this is where I start to sound a bit odd, shall we say, but I’ve always found pistachio and peanut to be complementary flavors …
And so these hybrid monster cookies were born. Yes, this is a cookie with a peanut butter and pistachio base. To reiterate: it includes a cup of peanut butter and a cup of ground pistachios. That’s not counting the whole pistachios and white chocolate chunks that I threw in for good measure.
The resultant cookies have a slightly green, slightly tan hue, as if they can’t decide whether peanut or pistachio ought to dominate. And they taste that way, too. The flavor is very nutty, but neither the peanut butter nor pistachio takes over. They're nutty without being redolent of any particular nut.
I baked, I cooled, I tasted. I was very anxious to see what I had created. They smelled divine, but would the flavors be complementary ... or just weird?
At first, I couldn't tell. I took a nibble from the edge of a cookie and chewed thoughtfully. And I thought: I just don't know. I had been so confident in my experimental prowess – had I simply gone a nut too far? Then I took another bite, and another bite after that, and suddenly, I was hooked.
Since this is such an odd and slapdash assortment of ingredients, I this recipe would lend itself to experimentation. You could go all-peanut or all pistachio, at least if you have access to pistachio butter. I imagine almond butter would work if pistachio butter couldn’t be found; it’s flavor is sufficiently mild that I suspect pistachio would dominate, and then you would really have a pistachio-flavored cookie. Or you could make them just like I did, just for curiosity’s sake.
I think you might like them, too.
Pistachio Peanut Butter White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Very, very generously adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup peanut butter (I used salted natural peanut butter)
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar (I used light, but dark would probably be fine)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups dry roasted pistachios, divided
1 12-oz. bag white chocolate chunks or chips
Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, and sugar. In food processor, grind one cup pistachios until fine. Add to bowl. Add vanilla and eggs and stir thoroughly.
In smaller bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine; the dough will be fairly stiff.
Add remaining one cup pistachios and white chocolate chunks or chips. Stir until evenly incorporated.
Shape into 1 ½” balls and put on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until just barely light brown at the edges. Makes about 2 dozen.
Printable recipe here.
Posted by Becky at 5:17 AM