Fearless Baking: Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies

A few months ago, I bought a copy of The Fearless Baker: Scrumptious Cakes, Pies, Cobblers, Cookies and Quick Breads That You Can Make to Impress Your Friends and Yourself, by Emily Luchetti and Lisa Weiss. I ordered the book as soon as I heard that Emily Luchetti had another cookbook coming out, because I own some of her other cookbooks (Stars Desserts and A Passion for Desserts) and like them quite a bit.

So I was surprised when my cookbook arrived and it looked nothing like the other ones I own. No dust jacket (probably a plus, since the dust jackets on my cookbooks just get dirty and torn anyway). No full color photos, just some simple color drawings of utensils and ingredients and the such.  Almost no photos of any of the finished baked goods -- the vast majority of the photos (which a few and far between) are small, black and white, and feature people doing prep work (stirring, whisking, measuring, chopping or sifting), or in one case, a dog look expectantly at someone doing prep work. Most distracting to me are the snippets of dialogue (presented in blue and orange-colored talk bubbles) that accompany many of the recipes.

The premise of this cookbook, as explained in the introduction, is to provide guidance and hand-holding to people who are afraid of baking -- to turn terrified bakers into fearless ones. To this end, Luchetti and Weiss gathered friends and family who were not experienced bakers and stood by to answer questions and give guidance as they followed Luchetti's recipes. Apparently the little conversations that appear next to recipes are derived from these baking lessons. I find them quite annoying; I can't rule out that they might actually be helpful to a fearful novice baker.

Anyway, I finally got around to trying a recipe from this cookbook, "Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies." I chose the recipe because it can be made quickly (no need to chill dough before baking) and I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand. To make this dough, you mix together butter, sugar, and brown sugar, add in smooth peanut butter, eggs and vanilla, incorporate dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder), and then stir in honey-roasted peanuts. You form the dough into balls, press more honey-roasted peanuts on top of each cookie, and bake.
This dough was quite soft and I was afraid that the cookies might spread a lot in the oven. However, the dough didn't spread much at all, and I had to flatten the cookies before baking to get a better finished appearance. The recipe warns you not to overcook these, so I took them out of the oven when the edges were just beginning to turn golden. The cookies were surprisingly moist, and almost light in texture. The honey-roasted peanuts added great texture and a nice salty-sweet mix of flavors to the cookie.  Tom said that this cookie reminded him of the Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies from Amy's Bakery that I made recently. Without tasting them side-by-side, I can't really say which one I like better -- but both are certainly very good peanut butter cookies.

Recipe: "Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies" from The Fearless Baker, by Emily Luchetti and Lisa Weiss. 

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Louise said…
I'm glad there's at least one cookbook I don't feel a need to own. I just got a used copy of "In the Sweet Kitchen". Many interesting recipes to try, although one looks like Maida Heatter's 86 Proof Chocolate Cake, which is a great cake.