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Peanut Butter Cookies with Crunchy Abalone Macadamia & Sea Salt

Monday, 24 January 2011

I rarely bake cookies and the cookie recipes on my blog are either soft chewy chocolate chip cookies or Chinese New Year goodies. See the trend there? I like soft chewy or melty cookies. Crunchy is not my thing. I bookmarked Ellie's Crunchy Peanut Butter & Sea Salt Cookies recipe nonetheless, the way she described it got me. And maybe someday, I'd learn how to appreciate crunchy cookies.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Crunchy Abalone Macadamia & Sea Salt 2

I finally made this at home for my mum since she loves nuts, loves cookies and recently got herself a spanking new Fire Engine Red Nespresso machine (ps. more cookie and biscuit recipes to come). I added my mum's precious Australian abalone flavoured macadamias instead of salted peanuts. This was not my intention as she thought the bag of salted peanuts I bought were one of her many bags of "unwated snacks", so she happily fed it to our guests during a family tea party. Luckily, she always has a private stash of nuts tucked away somewhere.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Crunchy Abalone Macadamia & Sea Salt

These cookies were really delicious. They weren't as crunchy as I imagined. The first bite was but it's sort of melty after. The crunchiness of the nuts, the subtle peanut butter flavour and the saltiness of the sea salt were a perfect combo. If you are looking for something different from your usual Chinese New Year peanut cookies, do give this a try!
Ingredients:
Adapted from Almost Bourdain
  • 2 cups (300 g) plain flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 180 g unsalted butter, cool but not cold, cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) castor sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) firmly-packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 110 g crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) salted peanuts (I used 1/2 cup of abalone flavoured macadamias - coarsely chopped)
  • Sea salt flakes - for topping

Directions:
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Cream the butter and both sugars until they're light and creamy using an electric mixer.
  • Add the vanilla extract and egg; the mixture may look a bit curdled, but it will be fine once the flour is added.
  • Scrape the peanut butter into the egg mixture, mix until well combined.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix until it just forms a thick soft dough (Don't overdo the mixing in of the flour or the biscuits will be a tad tough.)
  • Add the peanuts to the dough and stir them in with a spatula.
  • Scrape the dough out onto a chopping board and divide it in half.
  • Lay a large sheet of foil on a bench and cover it with a sheet of baking paper. Gently knead one piece of the dough briefly to bring it together, then roll it into a log about 5 cm in diameter.
  • Sit the log on one edge of the baking paper and roll it up in the paper. Next, roll it so it's wrapped in the foil. Twist the ends of the foil tightly in opposite directions so you end up with something that looks like a very long bonbon. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • If you're baking the biscuits on the same day, chill the logs for 2-3 hours in the fridge until they're firm enough to slice. Or, at this stage, you can freeze the logs until you need them (they keep well in the freezer for about 5 weeks; just defrost them in the fridge before slicing them.)
  • Preheat your oven to 150°C. Line some baking trays with baking paper. Unwrap the log (or logs) and cut into 6-7 mm-thick slices.You have to work quickly here as the dough softens quite fast.
  • Sit the rounds, about 2 cm apart, on the prepared baking trays. Gently sprinkle a little sea salt onto each one; I'd go fairly lightly on the salt the first time you make them, and then when you've tried them once you can adjust the amount.
  • Bake, in batches if neccessary, for 20-25 minutes or until the biscuits are light golden-brown and feel crisp to touch. If your oven cooks a bit unevenly, turn the trays back to front and swap the shelves halfway through the baking time. Remove the trays from the oven and leave the biscuits to cool completely on them.
  • Store the biscuits in an airtight container.

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