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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