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.

 

Baking · Recipes

Easy Orange Drizzle Cake

Sunday night I riffled through the equipment in my new, unexplored kitchen and made a classic bake, the drizzle cake. I was a bit nervous about making it, as my house’s gas oven is slightly hotter on the right and I had nightmarish visions of a cake only baked on one side, but turning these cakes periodically produced a beautiful loaf and 9-inch cake (I couldn’t find another loaf pan) that were moist and moreish, with a subtle citrus flavour.  I took both cakes into work this week and they were demolished by 13:00pm each day, and no one even knew it was vegan! This recipe is quick, easy to make, and requires only a few bowls. You don’t even need a whisk, as a fork will do just fine. This cake was inspired by the recipe for Key Lime Cake from the Everything Vegan Baking Cookbook.

Ingredients:
-2 cups oat milk
-juice of half an orange
-2.5 cups plain/ all-purpose flour
-2 cups caster sugar
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-2/3 cup sunflower oil or other vegetable oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 tablespoons orange zest (zest from one whole orange)

1. Heat the oven to 350F/170C.
2. Combine the oat milk and orange juice in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
3. With a fork, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
4. Add to the bowl of oat milk and orange juice the vegetable oil, vanilla, and orange zest, using the fork to stir. Then, add the contents of this bowl to the larger bowl and use a small spatula to mix until combined.
5. Bake the cakes for 35-50 minutes, checking at 35 minutes to see if a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with just moist crumbs attached. Keep checking every 5 to 7 minutes until the cake is done. This took closer to 50 minutes for my cake on the lower shelf of my oven, but it’ll be a bit different for everyone, as no two ovens bake quite the same!
6. When the cakes are close to done, squeeze the juice of one whole orange into a medium-sized bowl with one cup of icing sugar and mix until a thin icing forms. When the cake is out of the oven, use a fork or knife to poke holes in each cake down to the lower middle of the cake and drizzle the icing over the cake.

 

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