Saturday, April 6, 2013

Back From Planet Pillsbury: Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I have to start this post with a big "thank  you" to all of you who took the time to register and vote for my Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest recipe.  I am happy to say that because of all of the love you showed me and my Bacon Corncakes, I will be competing for the million dollar prize in Las Vegas in November.  Like the other 99 people who will be competing with me, winning this contest is a dream of mine and your help has brought me one step closer.  I'm also looking forward to giving you a behind the scenes look at this iconic contest from a contestant's point of view so stay tuned.

Back in December before all this Pillsbury stuff started I felt like I was really hitting my blogger stride.  I had so many great ideas for blog posts, I didn't know how I was going to get them all done in my lifetime, then I got distracted by the contest and everything slowed down.  Now that I am in a holding pattern for the next several months, I'm trying to gather back up all those brilliant blog ideas and regroup.

In an effort to clear my mind and get my creative juices flowing again, I decided to do something totally different and kind of therapeutic for me, clean out my very small and very packed pantry.  I don't often do this so it takes me awhile to get up the courage to see what lurks in the dark recesses.  It usually takes a couple of weeks of having canned goods spill out and smash my toes before I get fed up enough to finally do it, and today was the day.

By the looks of the things I pulled out of there you would have thought that some half mad old cat lady stocks my kitchen.  I know it can't possibly be that long since I last had the courage to purge my dry goods, so how did I manage to miss that cornbread package that was dated May 2006?  I'd also like to know who the hell bought 3 cans of coconut cream, 2 cans of clams and no less than 50 assorted boxes of Jell-O dating back as far as 2009?  And why do I have 2 plastic bags of some odd looking grain obviously from the bulk section of Whole Foods that is only identified as "5887" on the twist tie?  Our household purchasing agent should probably be let go, but I have no idea how to fire myself.

So after 2 hours of solid work, with a couple of coffee breaks thrown in, I finally have a tidy pantry.  I have uncovered some things I have long been looking for and a couple of things that I wish I hadn't, but it is done.  Now I think I'll consolidate and use up a couple of the things I have found by setting a couple of eclectic buffets.  Tonight for example, Mr. H and I are going to have something with lots of apple cider vinegar, canned salmon, peaches and beets, and maybe a hearty serving of 5887 on the side, but dessert is where things are really going to shine.  Since I also found 3 partial jars of peanut butter and 4 open packages of chocolate chips, peanut butter cookies it is.

In the past I've made no secret about the fact that I don't exactly enjoy baking cookies, but for these I will make an exception.  The easy base recipe for these cookies comes directly from my very old and trusty Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.  Then when they're still just a bit warm, I melt a little chocolate, give them a good drizzle and then a sprinkling of Murray River Flake or kosher salt.  Serve these with a cup of coffee flavored with some eight year old powdered hazelnut creamer,and you have the perfect reason to take a snack break from any unpleasant task.

Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for coating dough
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Thoroughly cream butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla; set aside.  Sift together dry ingredients; blend into creamed mixture.  Scoop into heaping teaspoons, shape into balls; roll lightly in granulated sugar.  Place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Press gently with the back of a fork in a crisscross pattern.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool slightly; remove from the pan and cool on wire racks.  Drizzle with melted chocolate (recipes follows) and sprinkle with salt flakes.  Makes approximately 3 dozen.

Chocolate Drizzle

2/3 cup chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Kosher or flaked salt to taste

Place chocolate and oil in a medium size bowl and stir well.  Microwave in 20 second increments, stirring after each. Continue until chocolate is melted.  Drizzle chocolate over cookies with a spoon in sweeping motions.  Allow to set up slightly.  Sprinkle with coarse or flaked salt to taste. Allow  chocolate to set up for an additional hour or so or until firm.


Cathy Wiechert said...

Funny...I'm going through the same thing...the blog is in a holding pattern. I'm just gearing up for round two, however...I'm so glad you got in. The corncakes look terrific! I hope we can meet in Las Vegas, Karen. Congrats!

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) said...

Congratulations Karen! November will be an exciting time for all of us, you'll have so many of us with you at that contest (in spirit) and wishing you well. And yes, isn't it amazing what we find in our pantries. I'm trying to stop the habit of stocking up on things and keeping it minimal. So far it still looks pretty packed. I'm in the same sort of mode with my blog. I'm so darn busy at work, that I can hardly time find to sit down and write, and my photos are horrid. Great looking cookies Karen.

Danielle D'Ambrosio said...

Well I originally congratulated you :) but of COURSE Pillsbury is worth multiple congrats so CONGRATULATIONS! I hope I have what it takes (like Cathy) to get into round 2 so we can have some foodie fun together. If not, I'll be cheering you on from know that!

OH and these cookies look like John's nirvana, can't wait to make them for him!

Craig said...

Well done indeed on making the cut Karen - I'm proud of you!
These cookies sound delicious. You always photograph your food so beautifully!

Karen Harris said...

Thanks everyone! Craig, you are too sweet.

Holly @ said...

Hooray! I think people must have looked at me funny at the grocery store yesterday when I stood in front of the sea of offerings from Pillsbury in the refrigerated section smiling a giddy smile-- I am so happy for you and excited to see what November brings for you. I will give it a go in the dessert round and would love to be there with you!
These cookies look and sound great. Maybe they could take the place of that iffy dinner you described. : )

Kitchen Riffs said...

Congrats! That's an exceptionally big deal, and you should be proud. Gosh! I'll be able to say I knew you when! ;-) My pantry sometimes looks like yours - particularly that part about the Jell-O. The stuff must follow us home - we don't actually use it that much (mainly for a cranberry salad we serve at Thanksgiving and Christmas - totally junky but totally lovely). Anyway, I love peanut butter, so these cookies look wonderful. Good stuff - thanks.

Mindie Hilton said...

Following via email, now I will be stalking you here as well as facebook lol. Hoping your winning luck will rub off. Your blog is beautiful.

Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen said...

Wow congratulations, how exciting! Your cookies look absolutely delicious!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

First of all congratulations! Just to be one of a hundred participants in the cook off is thrilling. You really had me laughing out loud with this post...I wonder if you have been shopping and storing some of your pantry items here in New Hampshire. :) Your salted peanut butter cookies sound great.

Angie Schneider said...

Who could ever resist the combo of peanut butter and chocolate!

Barb | Creative Culinary said...

You know how very excited I am for you...well deserved doesn't even speak to it; I'm sure you will represent us well...unless you need a chaperone at which point I will volunteer!

LOVE the look of these cookies. I am down to cereal for breakfast, the same soup every day for lunch and a Marie Calender's potpie for dinner. Why oh why did I not make myself some cookies for moving week! Duh.

BTW...we are on the same plane but mine was move related. Maybe I inspired you with my 2006 can of beans? Hmm??

Dina said...

i'm all about salted cookies now, and i haven't seen a pb one! yum!

Karen Harris said...

Thank you so much Mindi! Love yours too.

Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog said...

Congratulations!!! Best of luck at the next stage :)

Tess said...

Way cool! Congrats, how exciting!

Ally said...

These are fabulous, Karen! Wow!! You're just soooooooo talented, and I'm pulling for you in the PBO!! xo Ally