I regularly pester Rob about when we are going to take our next trip. Don't get me wrong - we do plenty of traveling, but when I think of a trip, I mean a TRIP - like to Brazil or Thailand or South Africa (just three of the many places I can't wait to visit) - rather than flying to Boston or San Francisco for a weekend. The irony is that we were in Alaska for Memorial Day (amazing) and now we are on Cape Cod for a wedding and I am feeling a bit homesick. We flew back to Denver from Anchorage late Tuesday night and flew to Boston on Friday and instead of unpacking, doing laundry and getting my life in order on Wednesday and Thursday nights, I cooked. I just couldn't resist the urge to get back in the kitchen. I am really looking forward to our next weekend at home in Denver when we can relax, go for a run in Wash Park, and read magazines whilst drinking coffee late into the morning at the Wooden Spoon.
Until then, I got my much-needed fix of kitchen time making homemade nutter butters on Thursday night. Since this resulted in me packing Friday morning before work, I blame these tasty treats for the fact that I arrived in Boston with six (!) pairs of shoes (mind you, we are here for exactly 48 hours). Oops.
The inspiration for these cookies comes from Lottie + Doof, a fabulous food blog that I read regularly. I printed the (Not) Nutter Butters recipe months ago and it was the perfect choice for this week because I wasn't planning to grocery shop given we were only home for 2 days and I had all of the ingredients on hand.
These cookies are delicious and unique - they are definitely not your typical peanut butter cookie. I think the oats toasted in butter and vanilla bean seeds gives the cookie portion some incredible flavor and texture and the filling complements the crunchy cookie sandwich. A few thoughts about this recipe... first, I halved the recipe from Lottie + Doof and it still yielded many cookies. Second, the cookies were extremely crumbly when I followed the original recipe (hence, mine is modified) and still crumbly and fragile when I added heavy cream and butter halfway through the process the second time (details below). I'm not sure if this is a result of the altitude or just that these need additional moisture because of the peanuts and oats... if anyone has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them. In the end, the crumbly cookies weren't a total failure - I merely saved them for future use on ice cream! Third, I'd make these cookies even smaller and have adjusted the recipe below accordingly. They are rich and quite large and one was more than enough.
- 13 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 cup quick-cooking or homemade oats (I always have homemade on-hand and that is what I used)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/8 cup granulated sugar
- 3/8 cup light brown sugar
- 3/8 cup natural , chunky-style unsalted peanut butter, excess oil poured off and discarded
- 1 1/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon natural, chunky-style unsalted peanut butter (or smooth - I used chunky-style but if I made these again I think I'd opt for smooth)
In a medium skillet, melt 1/2 stick of the butter over medium heat. Using a small paring knife, split the vanilla bean in half and lengthwise. Set half aside for future use. With the back of the knife, scrape out the pulp and the seeds, and add the scrapings and the pod to the butter. Add the oats, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly, until the oats are lightly toasted and a golden-brown color. Transfer to a bowl, discard vanilla pod, and chill the mixture.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the rest of the butter, the baking soda, and the salt on low speed for 2-3 minutes, until the butter is softened. Add the sugars, and mix on medium until the mixture is light and fluffy, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the peanut butter and mix to combine. Turn the mixture off, and add the oats and flour. Turn the mixer on low speed, and mix for another minute until the ingredients are incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Using your hands, roll the dough into balls (Silverton suggested 2-inch balls, Lottie + Doof suggested 1-1 1/2-inch and I would do no larger than 1 inch if I had them to do over again - you can see from the photos how large my cookies were). If you find at this stage that the dough balls are still extremely crumbly, I'd add another tablespoon of butter or be prepared to have fragile cookies (and have some break).
Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 2-inches apart. Use the heel of your hand to flatten the balls into disks (about 1/4-inch tall). Using a fork or sharp knife, mark diagonal crisscross patterns over the surface of each cookie. Chill them for about 15 minutes until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Bake cookies for 16-18 minutes, until lightly browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through. Allow them to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and salt on medium speed for about 1 minute, until the butter is softened. Add the sugar and peanut butter, and mix for another minute to combine them.
Make into sandwiches, and enjoy!
Yield: Approximately 20 smaller sandwich cookies if made into about 1-inch balls.