Sunday, November 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies (and Gluten Free to boot)

Big Mary has a confession.  I have not always been the most sympathetic chef to guests claiming allergies or other types of food restrictions.  Though I admit to being a born cynic, there's just been too many events where I saw the Kosher clients decimating the caviar station.  Had I been gifted with that proverbial nickel, I'd have a paid off my mortgage from all of the faux allergies that were really just masks for foods a client doesn't enjoy... cilantro, cumin, anchovies, grapefruit, etc...etc...etc...........

But the reality is, there's too many people with real allergies, with life altering consequences, for Big Mary to indulge in said cynicism.  I can't imagine the stress from any Mom who's child could stop breathing from a brush with a walnut.  And I've also known a few friends who describe an unenviable hell after consuming a perfect slice of sourdough.  That got my attention.  Life without baguette?  Say it ain't so!

So, for the last few years, I've been on the lookout for gluten free options for our buddy and Clay Diva, Ellen.  As this year's birthday arrived, her angels aligned, and tossed a recipe across my laptop for Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies.  It was at, a website that usually makes me want to head for the kitchen.  I happily fell for the bait and am excited to report that somewhere between my momentarily motherly instinct and culinary research I discovered my new favorite peanut butter cookie.

I upped the spices a twitch, 'cause that's who I am. But I send major kudos to the creator of this recipe, Judy Haubert's pastry chef friend Lindsay.  I love most that it's a recipe which fits our friend's gluten free requirements, without using any obscure ingredients.  Arrecha! (Bravo!) as the handsome Venezuelan proclaims...
See if it doesn't beat your go-to PB Cookie!

Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten Free) 
Makes 4 - 5 dozen

16 oz. Jif brand creamy peanut butter*
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

¼ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground)
¾  teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup (approximately) demerara sugar  
1. Preheat oven to 350° with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two rimmed baking sheets with non stick Silpat mats or parchment paper and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl cream together peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs, vanilla, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon until thoroughly combined.

2. Place demerara sugar in a small bowl. Form peanut butter mixture into 1-inch balls (approximately a Tablespoon of cookie dough) and roll in demerara sugar, coating lightly. Place balls 2-3 inches apart on prepared baking trays and flatten with the tines of a fork in a perpendicular cross-hatch pattern, if desired.

3. Bake 10-12 minutes (rotating and turning at 6 minutes) until puffed and lightly brown. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes on trays to set before removing.

*The original recipe strongly suggested Jif brand.  Not sure why.  I plan to experiment.  Jif does make a “natural” peanut butter with less sugar that doesn’t separate.

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