Paprika Peanut Butter Cookies

Move over chocolate, peanut butter has a new love interest and her name is smoked paprika.

You read that right.  Paprika.

When you think about it, pairing peanut butter with earthy, slightly spicy paprika makes a whole lot of sense.  Think of how much better peanut butter is on toast than just plain bread (toasty and smoky are similar…just go with it).  Now, add a little heat.  And to that, think of the sandy, crumbly texture of a perfect peanut butter cookie.  You picking up what I’m putting down here?

This recipe incorporates smoked paprika is both the dough and on top.

The overall effect is pretty perfect.  I found this recipe through David Lebovitz who came across the original recipe in the book Sister Pie: The Recipes and Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit by Lisa Ludwinski.

Since I’ve been baking for a million years and new things are what keep me going, I’m always on the hunt for new flavors.  Sometimes flavor combinations aren’t meant to be (I’m thinking of the holiday 2012 pink peppercorn and white chocolate sables…ew).  Others you think, ‘where have you been all my life?’  These smoked paprika and peanut butter cookies are definitely the latter.

P.S. Lest you feel bad for chocolate’s new rival, I dare you to make these, throw in some dark chocolate chunks and call it a threesome.

Peanut Butter Paprika Cookies

As seen on David Lebovitz’s blog and originated from  Sister Pie: The Recipes & Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit

Ingredients

For the paprika topping
1 TBS turbinado or raw granulated sugar
1 TBS granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
Directions
  1. To make the cookie dough, in a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flour with the baking powder, baking soda, 1 tsp kosher or salt, and 1/2 tsp smoked paprika.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand, beat the butter, peanut butter, and the light brown and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract, stopping the mixer between adding each egg to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Stir in the dry ingredients until completely incorporated, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl, as you’ll likely find some unincorporated flour underneath the dough.
  4. Scrape the dough into a shallow bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or up to 3 days (TMH: I scraped everything into a gallon size freezer ziplock patted into rectangle–evenly distributed, the dough chills more quickly and evenly). (Dough can be frozen for up to three months–scoop into balls first.)
  5. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC.) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the turbinado and granulated sugar, paprika, and flaky sea salt.
  7. Scoop the dough into balls about (I like using a 1 1/2 TBS scooper). Roll each ball in the sugar and paprika mixture so it’s evenly coated, and place each on the baking sheet so they’re about 2 inches (5cm) apart.
  8. Bake the cookies, rotating the baking sheets in the oven midway during baking, until they are golden brown across the top, about 8-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to gently tap the tops of each cookie to flatten them slightly, which makes them more attractive, and chewy when cool.

Putting on the peanut butter ritz

After we moved into Via Corona, it was nearly three months until we had a kitchen. All things being equal, it wasn’t a huge day-to-day issue (this coming from the person who plans, shops and cooks most of the food so, take the statement for what it is). Not wanting to completely bankrupt our reno budget with crazy take-out bills,  one of our first orders of business after moving in was to hit up the grocery for ready to-go-snacks.

That Friday night at the grocery may have been the first time TD and I ever shopped for snacks together.  I learned a lot.  Like the fact that dude loves those packets of crackers and peanut butter.  And even weirder, also loves those packets of peanut butter filled cheese crackers.

I’m not sure what he learned about me.

That was also the night we came home to a raccoon sitting in the middle of our driveway.  Just hanging out, as they do.  Little did we know that this was just the beginning of our adventures with Via Corona’s resident small mammal population (let’s just say we’re pretty sure the raccoons are running a discoteque under our deck).

But back to the peanut butter crackers (I bet the raccoons like those too).  When I saw Christina Tosi’s recipe for crunchy, salty and sweet ritz crunch, I knew I had to put it in a peanut butter cookie.

Warning: ritz cracker crunch is dangerous stuff.  I ended up just throwing the entire batch into this recipe for the sole purpose of keeping myself from eating the leftovers.

The result was an ultra-cripsy but ultra-tender and flaky peanut butter extravaganza.  Most likely due to the high fat-to-starch ratio, they were also very delicate.  While they probably wouldn’t survive a care-package trip across the country, this batch (unlike the corn cookies) did make it into work.  They were gone before 10:00 AM.

For the cookie, I just futzed with an old school Betty Crocker recipe for peanut butter cookies.  The original recipe calls for a shortening to butter recipe of 1:1.  I used all butter.  If you like a cakier peanut butter cookie, go the shortening and butter route.

Peanut Butter Ritz Cookies

For the ritz crunch (recipe from Christina Tosi)

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 sleeve (50g) ritz crackers
  • 1/4 C (50g) sugar
  • 2 TBS (10g) milk powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1g) kosher salt
  • 4 TBS (50g) melted butter

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 275 degrees
  2. Pour the ritz into a medium bowl and crunch them to desired size (I went dime-sized pieces and smaller). Add the milk powder, sugar and salt.  Toss to mix.  Add-in the butter and toss to coat.
  3. Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake for 20 minutes, giving the pan a good shake every 8 minutes or so.  Allow to cool completely.  Try not to each entire batch before they go into the cookies.

For the peanut butter cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 C peanut butter
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking sode
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Directions
  1. Mix sugars, peanut butter, shortening, butter and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients
  2. Carefully fold-in the ritx crunch
  3. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm
  4. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  5. Shape or scoop dough into 1 1/4″ balls. Place about 3 inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet
  6. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a cup or mug dipped in sugar
  7. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
  8. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet and cool completely before storing

 

 

It’s a little bit nutty

In reviewing the arsenal of recipes I’ve collected on this site, I realized that I’m missing quite a few basics.  In my opinion, the most egregious of gaps is the lack of a basic peanut butter cookie recipe.  I realize that peanut butter is enemy number one in many places nowadays.  This blog is NOT one of them.  In fact, if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that this recipe (if made verbatim) has four nut iterations.

Beginning with the first source: chunky peanut butter.  Or, use smooth, your call.  In our house, peanut butter doesn’t get utilized very much outside of baking (but when it does, there is always a peanut butter jelly time dance, I promise).  In fact, a jar will last us about a year.  So, I pick my peanut butter carefully and go all-in for the Skippy.  We’re classy like that.

This recipe calls for a good creaming. And, by the time all of the wet ingredients have been incorporated, the color will lighten considerably.

This recipe has a secret ingredient if you dare (nut reference #2…and no, I’m not talking about a Californian politician).

And then we get to the good stuff.  This recipe stands-up just fine without the add-ins.  But, I was feeling a little spunky when I made these and threw in some salted peanuts (#3), peanut butter chips (#4) and dried cranberries.

The batter will be thick and fragrant.

Don’t forget to roll each dough ball in sugar and then flatten with a fork.

These cookies freeze incredibly well.  And, not that I would know, they even taste good frozen.

Soundtrack

I was testing out a new workout playlist while baking these cookies.  Let’s just say that in my workout world Kanye and Taylor Swift get along just fine.

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses (‘ll make you jump, jump)

adapted from Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of freshly ground (or grated) nutmeg
  • 8 ounces (16 TBS) unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 1 C peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 1 C packed light or golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room tempt
  • 1 C chopped salted peanuts
  • 1 C peanut butter chips (optional)
  • 1 C dried fruit such as cranberries, cherries or chopped apricots (optional)
  • 1/2 C additional sugar for rolling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  3. Working in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle (or electric hand mixer), beat the butter on medium for a couple of minutes. Add-in the peanut butter and beat until smooth.  Add the sugars and beat for an additional 3 minutes.
  4. Add-in the eggs, one-at-a-time, scraping down the bowl in-between.
  5. With the mixer on low, combined the dry ingredients until they are just mixed-in to the dough.
  6. Fold in (by hand) the peanuts, chips and dried fruit.
  7. Pour the 1/2 C sugar into a small bowl.
  8. Working with about a TBS of dough at a time, roll each into a ball and then roll in the sugar.
  9. Place on baking sheets with 2 inches in between each.  Dip the tines of a fork in the sugar and smoosh down the balls in a perpendicular “X” shape with the fork.
  10. Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Cookies will be lightly colored and a bit soft.  Let the cookies sit a minute or two before transferring to cool completely.
  11. I think these cookies just get better over time!

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