The Sweeter Side Is Sometimes Salty: Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies

Last month, Tom and I enjoyed a wonderful weekend in New York City, including some terrific food.  Our very first stop was Dorie Greenspan's pop-up store, CookieBar.  From time to time, Dorie and her son Josh set up in a store in NYC to sell cookies, but the store sadly disappears after only a few days.  Although Tom and I had not intentionally planned our trip to coincide with CookieBar, we arrived in New York on the store final's day.  Unfortunately, by the time we got to CookieBar in the early afternoon, the store was literally reduced to nothing more than a few crumbs.  It was a tragicomic scene as we watched a steady stream of people come into the store after us, looking around, and exclaiming in a mixture of disbelief and desperation, "Oh no, are we too late?," or  "Are all of the cookies gone?!"  Dorie was kind enough to stick around to greet all of her disappointed fans, and she is just as lovely in person as I had always imagined her to be. 

It wasn't exactly an auspicious start to our trip, but I was able to stop by two other great bakeries while we were in NYC.  Tom and I stayed at the Kimpton Ink48, and it so happened that Sullivan Street Bakery (famed for owner Jim Lahey's no-knead bread recipe, which found a national audience after Mark Bittman wrote about it in the New York Times in 2006) and Amy's Bread were both located within a couple of blocks of the hotel.  I had never been to Amy's Bread before, but Tom and I liked it so much that not only did we stop by the Hell's Kitchen location on Ninth Avenue, but we also popped into the Chelsea Market location as well.

When we got home from New York, I immediately went on Amazon and purchased The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread, by Amy Scherber -- the "Amy" of Amy's Bread -- and Toy Dupree.  (Scherber and Dupree also published a cookbook focusing solely on breads in 1996; an updated edition was released last year.)  One terrific feature of this cookbook is that all of the recipes provide three separate sets of measurements for the dry ingredients: volume, metric weight, and avoirdupois weight.  The recipes are also quite detailed in a way I particularly appreciate, specifying the precise weight of each cookie necessary to produce the stated yield, and the weight of batter you should have in each layer of the multi-layer cakes.  (I am sort of compulsive about this kind of thing, and whenever I make layer cakes, I actually bring out my digital scale to make sure that I have evenly divided the batter between the pans.)

The first recipe I tried from the cookbook was "Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies."  This cookie is pretty straightforward, made with flour, salt, baking soda, eggs, vanilla, smooth peanut butter, butter, dark brown sugar, sugar, and salted peanuts.  The recipe states that you should scoop the dough into 80g balls (or a scant 1/2 cup) that should be flattened before baking.  That would be a ginormous amount of batter.  Instead, I used a #20 scoop to portion out balls of dough that weighed about 40g (still, the recipe's instruction to scoop out 80g cookies was helpful, because I got exactly twice the stated yield when I made cookies half the specified size).  The finished cookies were 3 and 1/2 inches in diameter, which I thought was plenty big.  

This is an excellent cookie.  I find that peanut butter cookies often have a tendency to be dry, but these were not dry at all, and they had a nice crisp exterior.  Best of all, the salted peanuts added a wonderful crunch and salty bite.  I do have several other peanut butter cookies that I like quite a bit (such as the Baked monster cookie and the peanut butter cookie with chocolate chunks), but this cookie is impressive for being quite delicious without the need for any chocolate chips or any other mix-ins, aside from peanuts.  Interestingly enough, this recipe is somewhat similar to the peanut butter jumbles from Carole Walter's Great Cookies that I tried a couple of years ago and found to be unremarkable.  I'm not sure what it is about this particular recipe that makes it so tasty, but it a wonderful salty-sweet treat. 

Recipe: "Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies" from The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread: Cakes, Cookies Bars, Pastries and More from from New York City's Favorite Bakery, by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree.


Mary Bergfeld said…
At least you got to meet Dorie and discovered Amy's shop. This is my first visit to your blog so I spent some time browsing through your earlier entries as well. I'm so glad I did. I really like the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary
Louise said…
Do you have any idea of the shelf life of these cookies, or were they gone the same day? I've been to Amy's shop and also own the book. I've flagged several things to bake, but get sidetracked with other goodies. I made the Banana Blueberry Quickbread and think it's short on banana flavor and needs more blueberries. I want to make the Zucchini, Carrot, and Apple Muffins. Last time I was going to bake them I made Tartine Bakery Zucchini and Orange Marmalade Tea Cake instead. I have Amy's Not Lowfat Chocolate Doughnuts flagged, but have held off making them since you reported that KA's Baked Doughnuts taste like cake.
@Mary -- Thanks so much for stopping by!
@Louise -- These cookies were all gone in one day, but if I had to take a guess, I think that they would keep well for several days. I'm really looking forward to trying more recipes from this cookbook!
KayMillie said…
I am just about to bake these.... 2 tsp. of salt seems excessive? Anyone else bake them?
I have no specific recollection of making these cookies, but I'm sure I would have made the recipe as written. That said, the recipe calls for 2 tsp. of kosher salt. If you're using fine-grained table salt, I think you should reduce the amount, because an equivalent weight will take up less volume. Happy baking!
KayMillie said…
Thank you! I did make them and used a heaping tsp. of Kosher salt. I generally make recipes as written when I first try them but 2 tsp. for that small amount of flour and the addition of both peanut butter and salted peanuts put me off a bit.

When I make them again (and I will) I will use the 2 tsp. :)