I am writing from my trailer parked in the rain next to a rushing creek at Beverly Beach State Park in Oregon – South of Depoe Bay and North of Newport. We have had rain every day since we left home, except for the day when we were traveling from Forks, Washington to Grayland Beach State Park in Grayland, Washington. That lovely day it was snowing heavily, which, if you have ever pulled a trailer, is no damn fun at all! But thanks to Mr. C., we arrived safe and sound.
And because we now own a wonderful new land yacht (all 24 feet, 7 inches of it from hitching ball to the back of the spare tire) complete with a fabulous walk-around bed, a shower that I can actually turn around in, a galley large enough to prepare chili gracefully, and a dining/reading/computer operating/game playing table and comfortable bench seats, it can rain its bloody head off for all I care! I’m sitting warm and dry and ever so comfortable with my love by my side and my computer ready to grant my every off-line wish. The only thing missing is Wi-Fi and a Verizon cell tower. (Most privately owned RV parks have Wi-Fi available, but state parks tend to be more rustic, which is of course why we like them to begin with!) So although I am using word to create this preamble, I won’t be able to post this recipe until I reach civilization. But enough about me, let’s get on with this recipe. (Sending this from Harris Beach State Park in Brookings, Oregon using our Verizon Jetpack!)
But first, I must tell you how this recipe came to be.
Before we left for our month long trailer adventure, I asked Mr. C. what kind of cookie he would like me to bake for the trip. His answer – peanut butter. OK, I have a great recipe for peanut butter cookies. Actually the same one I’ve been using for about 50 years. Maybe it was time to update it a little? So I asked my dear husband if he would like a bit of chocolate with his peanut butter. He said, “couldn’t hurt”, so this recipe is the result.
I wanted the soft texture of my original recipe, with some crunch added to give the cookie a bit of character. So I added whole peanuts. Then I added chocolate chunks for the sheer joy of biting into a bit of chocolate once or twice a cookie. Mighty fine!
Now, when I baked my cookies, I left them in the oven a little too long. So instead of being soft, they turned out crisp. Nothing wrong with crisp, but I was after a softer texture. As it turns out, a crisper cookie was probably better for our trip because these cookies were planned to last the entire trip. (That is, if I dole them out they’d make it to the end of the trip!) So from a longevity perspective, a longer baking time probably produced a better outcome. But regardless of how you like your cookies, soft or crisp, this recipe is probably going to work well for you.
Just as a side note from my recent near death (not really) snow travel day. If you want to challenge yourself to something a little more difficult than baking cookies, sit in the shotgun (aka passenger) seat while your beloved spouse tows your brand new trailer through a blinding snowstorm. I promise you there is nothing quite like the feeling of pending doom as when snow continues to fall, the road surface is packed with slush or hard packed snow, and you are still far from camp. (Baking cookies just can’t achieve that same level of anxiety– thank God!) During such times, even if you are not intimately acquainted with the inside of a house of worship, you are none the less going to secretly invoke the blessing of every deity you have ever heard or read about. A religious experience, especially for someone as cowardly as I am! My suggestion for myself – stick to baking cookies. Much safer and ever so much more rewarding. And at all cost, try and stay away from snow when on a trailer adventure. Ya think!?!?
- 1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 c. creamy or crunchy no-stir peanut butter (do not use natural peanut butter or your cookies will be oily)
- 1 c. brown sugar
- ¾ c. granulated sugar
- 2 lg. eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2½ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 c. roughly chopped salted peanuts
- 1 c. chocolate chunks or chocolate chipsPlace the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar into the bowl of your mixer. Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about a minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients gradually, mixing only until just combined. Mix in the chopped peanuts and chocolate chunks. Using an ice cream scoop, drop balls of dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheets about 2-inches apart.
Bake the cookies in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until they are set but still a little soft. (Don’t overbake if you want soft cookies. If you prefer crisp, crunchy cookies, bake a little longer.) Remove from oven. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 1 minute before transferring to a cooling rack. When completely cooled and the chocolate is hard again, store in an airtight container.