Saturday, June 8, 2013

Coconutty Peanut Butter & Choc Chunk Oat Cookies

What is it about Fridays that is so bipolar.

It's like one part of me is so pumped to feel 19 again and forget that I've been working 40 hours through the last five days and want to just take 3 shots of Southern Comfort and dance to Rihanna and Jay-Z's "umbrella".

Then as fast as that idea comes into my head, I get the feeling for take-away sushi, a bottle of Cab Sauv and a blanket in the park. Boom. Just like that.

Dinner, wine and a nap in the sun suddenly beats jello shots, Jay-Z, four-inch heels and a dance floor.

Now that I read that out loud, it doesn't sound that lame does it?
There's nothing wrong with wanting to just fill my stomach with nori, avocado and salmon.... wash it down with a little grape 'juice' and then r-e-l-a-x like I just invented it.

These cookies are perfect for this mood because they're just so darn easy. There's enough effort in them to feel homemade, but enough that you can't be bothered.

No creaming and no resting or refrigeration step. Just mix, bake, eat.

We can all relate to that.

These cookies are unique in their use of coconut oil. I rarely ever make cookies without butter, but these just work. Being peanut butter based really helps to provide rich flavour and chewiness due to its high protein content. Coconut oil helps to keep them nice and soft even after several days. It also adds a lovely subtle coconuttiness that just glides right across your tastebuds.

The edges are chewy while the centers are tender and soft. Oats and desiccated coconut add extra texture.

This recipe is also unique in that it uses quite a bit of liquid - 4 tablespoons of milk!
That's unusual for a cookie recipe, but is necessary to bring this dough together since it is a one step show-stopper. No creaming of fat and sugar followed by gradual addition of flour. Instead you mix the wet ingredients together and stir them into a pile of dry ingredients until a dough forms - at this point you will need your hands to bring it together.

I know what you might be thinking - all that liquid in cookie dough could create some tough cookies!

You don't need to worry about gluten formation or tough cookies since I've taken some steps to prevent it from happening.

Blended the sugar with flour in the first step prevents wheat proteins from forming gluten. How does it do that? Well... remember that there is no actual gluten in flour. Gluten is a complex formed when the two wheat proteins glutenin and gliadin come into contact with water and then crosslink to form a network called gluten. By blending the flour with sugar, sugar competes for water in the milk and wins so that there is less water available to the flour particles.

Seems like this simple cookie recipe has some ulterior motives.... they're more than just a couple dozen pretty faces.

Now let's eat them.

Coconutty Peanut Butter & Choc Chunk Oat Cookies
Makes about 24 cookies

1 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (200 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup shredded coconut
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
½ cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 large egg
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
4 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add the salt, sugars, rolled oats, coconut and choc chips.

Stir together the peanut butter and oil until very smooth. Add the egg, vanilla and milk and whisk gently until evenly blended.

Add peanut butter mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine until it forms a moist dough. Use your hands if necessary.

Roll and squeeze 1 to 2 tablespoon portions of dough into balls and place onto the lined baking trays. Press them down with the palm of your hand to flatten them.

Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until very golden brown. Let cool on pan for a minute before transferring individually to a wire rack to cool completely.

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