Baking · Recipes

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies were the first thing I learned how to bake. I used the recipe on the back of the bag of Nestle chocolate chips, and didn’t stray from it until my early 20s when I went through a major chocolate chip cookie phase, baking batch after batch to find the perfect recipe. I now have 2: one is the recipe for Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies from Vegan Junk Food by Lane Gold, and the other is my own version of Thomas Keller’s Killer Chocolate Chip Cookies (stay tuned for this recipe in an upcoming post!).

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I just altered the Thomas Keller recipe to make these luscious, rich Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Once again, I’d recommend using cheap peanut butter here, since it’s much easier to mix than the natural stuff, and it’s less expensive.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 18 large cookies

Ingredients
2 1/3 cups plus 1/4 cup plain/ all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar*
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 flax eggs**
1 teaspoon vanilla
125g/1-1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped into chunks***

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour and baking soda in a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Add in salt and whisk again.
  3. In another large bowl, cream the butter until it’s smooth and soft. I did this with a wooden spoon, but if you’re lucky enough to have a standing mixer, use that!
  4. Add both sugars to the butter along with the peanut butter and mix together until well incorporated.
  5. Add the flax eggs and vanilla to the butter and sugar and mix well.
  6. Add half the dry mixture to the wet, mixing well.
  7. Add remaining dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.
  8. Add chocolate chunks to mix and stir just until combined.
  9. Form cookie dough into large balls using your hands, then drop two inches apart onto lined cookie sheets. Bake 13 minutes, and refrigerate cookie dough between batches.****

*You could substitute caster sugar here. I haven’t tested it, but I’ve used caster sugar instead of granulated in other chocolate chip cookie recipes with no noticeable difference.
**1 flax egg=1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water, mixed and left to sit 5 minutes
***125g is the standard size of a dark chocolate bar here in Ireland. In standard measurements, that’s a little over a cup, so you could totally substitute 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips/disks here if you want
****It’s ESSENTIAL to refrigerate the dough between patches so the butter doesn’t melt and cause the cookies to spread into giant, flat hockey puck-like shapes.

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Recipes

Peanut Butter and Turmeric Coconut Curry

For most of my childhood and early adolescence, peanut butter was one of about 5 foods that I truly liked. I was an insanely picky eater, and even though I’ve since grown out of this, peanut butter remains my favourite food to cook with, bake with, and eat on its own.

I especially love adding peanut butter to stews and soups, and I’ve been wanting to make a riff on my favourite Ginger Peanut Eggplant Stew for ages. I’ve also had a serious craving for turmeric lately, so I decided to combine both ideas into one tasty, filling stew perfect for cold, blustery early-spring days here in Dublin.

This curry makes 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry you are. It can be eaten with rice, flatbread, or even oven-roasted potatoes sprinkled with a little curry powder and paprika before roasting.

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Peanut Butter and Turmeric Coconut Curry

Ingredients 

2 tablespoons vegetable or sunflower oil
1 aubergine, diced
1 red, green or orange pepper, diced
1 white or yellow onion, diced
1 5cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 400g tin of coconut milk
2 t turmeric
1/2 t ground cumin
1/4-1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter *
1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, optional

1. In a large pot, heat oil and then add onion, ginger, and garlic. Sautee 3-5 minutes on medium heat until onions are translucent.
2. Add aubergine, peppers, and one teaspoon of salt, and cook 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until aubergine is softened.
3. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, spices and remaining salt, and stir to combine. Let the curry cook for about 10 minutes, adjusting spices if necessary.
4. Add peanut butter and stir well to combine. Let soup simmer 5 minutes.
5. Add peanuts, and turn off heat.

*I like using cheaper brands of peanut butter in stews like this. Tesco’s own-brand, the huge jars you can get in some Asian grocery stores- the cheaper and more processed, the better. The reason is twofold: the oily nature of natural peanut butter will make this curry too oily, and natural peanut butter is also usually far more expensive than the cheap stuff, so you don’t want to waste half a jar of the good stuff in stew! Save the nice stuff for toast and smoothies.

 

Book Reviews · Historical Romance

Book Review: My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden

My Once and Future Duke Blog Tour Banner 1000

You know what I love about blog tours? They introduce me to authors I’ve been meaning to read for ages, and then make me fall so in love with their books that I immediately try to check out their entire back catalogue from the library (thankfully, it’s a digital library, so my bookshelves aren’t bowing under all the weight).

This is EXACTLY what happened with Caroline Linden’s newest historical romance. Scroll on for the book info, a juicy excerpt, author information, and of course, my review!

Book Info.

My Once And Future Duke by Caroline Linden

Series The Wagers of Sin

Genre Adult Historical Romance

Publisher Avon Books

Publication Date February 27, 2018

Amazon http://amzn.to/2E6dbcx

Avon Romance https://goo.gl/wuBja3

Barnes & Noble https://goo.gl/mYqVmB

Google Play https://goo.gl/4aLVCw

iBooks https://apple.co/2E6YYvJ

 

Excerpt

“Why did you propose that wager?”

He leaned forward, elbows on his knees, and looked down at her. His golden hair was rumpled into waves that made her long to smooth it. “Haven’t you guessed?”

She angled her face toward him. “Tell me. I’m no good at guessing.”

He let out his breath, his eyes shadowed, and then he bent and kissed her. His mouth was soft against hers, a gentle hint of a kiss rather than a real one. A soft sound of pleasure hummed in her throat.

The duke lifted his head. For a moment they stared at each other. “Is that all?” Sophie whispered, belatedly realizing how her heart was thudding. “All you want?”

“No.” He traced one finger, as lightly as a feather, down her throat. A shiver rippled over her skin. “Not by a tenth.”

“Show me,” she whispered. “Please.”

 

ReviewMy Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden

4.0 stars

This book had all my catnip: forced proximity; grumpy, sexy dukes; sexually experienced heroines with life goals they’re steadily working toward; and strong female friendships. I love that Sophie picks herself up by her metaphorical bootstraps despite life throwing her like 10 curveballs and that she does it with the support of two of her best friends. I also love that Jack’s family life is a little complicated, but he tries to navigate it with an equal amount of respect for his mother and brother, and himself.

I also LOVED the gambling scenes. Linden did such an amazing job setting the scene that it felt like I was there, watching Sophie roll the dice and wow everyone around her with her ‘luck’ (aka extreme maths skills). I just wish that she and Jack could have had sex in one of the lush, velvet-filled rooms in the club, because this book did not have enough sex scenes in it, especially given that the characters were so sexually attracted to each other. Yes, there are some amazing scenes of them at the Duke’s castle, where the forced proximity makes them realise that ‘oh, wait a minute, you’re, like, really really hot?’, but I would have loved even more scenes of them once they got back to London and realised they still couldn’t keep their hands off each other.

The conflict was perfect in this book. Not overly dramatic, fits in perfectly with the characters and plot, and had me biting my nails through the whole thing, even though I knew the HEA was just up ahead.

Other than the dearth of sexytimes, my only real criticism for this book is the lack of explanation of Jack’s relationship with his ex-sweetheart, Portia. Linden never really makes any connection between Portia’s ill-treatment of Jack and Jack’s relationship with Sophie, which seems the only real point of mentioning Portia in the first place. Her effect on Jack’s life is, thereforem unclear.

This book, however, was still pretty great. I’ve been really struggling to find historicals that really draw me in and make me want to keep turning the pages way after the lights have gone out, and this book definitely gave me that. Read it for the insane sexual attraction between the characters, the family drama, the friendships, the strong female heroine- basically, just read it!

 

Author Info.Caroline Linden

Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer code before discovering that writing fiction was far more fun. Since then, the Boston Red Sox have won the World Series three times, which is not related but still worth mentioning. Her books have been translated into seventeen languages, and have won the NEC-RWA Reader’s Choice Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, the NJRW Golden Leaf Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. She lives in New England.

Website http://carolinelinden.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolineLinden
Twitter https://twitter.com/Caro_Linden
Goodreads https://goo.gl/Uavhvc
Amazon http://amzn.to/2DvX7ja

 

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