Simple, Salty, Peanut Butter Cookies

I’m not really one to go out of my way to make gluten-free treats.

That’s not to say I’m against it, I just really like gluten. I like how it holds pie crusts together. I like how it forms those beautiful layers in puff pastry. I like how it makes bagels chewy and pizzas firm and crisp.

Plus, it doesn’t wreck havoc on my body. So my love affair with most things gluten continues.

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But sometimes I make something truly delicious, and as I’m stuffing one more of that delicious something in my mouth I happen to think, “You know what? This here is gluten free!”

And viola! I call it healthy.

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But I wouldn’t want it to be too healthy, because then I wouldn’t be sure whether or not to call it a treat.

So, I added chocolate chips! Because, well really why not.IMG_3281 IMG_3301

This recipe is an ever so slight variation on smitten kitchen’s version. Initially, I just wanted something sweet and salty. I realized how easy it was to make. (5 ingredients!) And then, I added chocolate chips. (make it 6 ingredients…)

I almost didn’t post this because the lighting in my kitchen was so awful, but shoddy photos aside, I recommend making these as soon as possible. I have so far brought them to work, to my hair stylist, and to my neighbors who so generously lent me their car when ours broke down. (damn you and your tricks 2015!)

I haven’t heard one single complaint yet.

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I mean they’re packed with peanut butter and they’re gluten free so… they’re basically granola bars, right?!


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Salty Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
variation on smitten kitchen’s recipe

makes about 30 cookies with my #40 scoop

1 3/4 cups (335 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (450 grams) smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
Coarse-grained sea salt, to finish

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then the peanut butter until smooth and completely incorporated.

Freeze the dough in its bowl for 15 minutes, stirring it once halfway through. Scoop the dough into balls — I use a 1 2/3 tablespoons or #40 scoop. Place on prepared pan. I liked mine to look like tiny cooked balls of dough, so I put them back in the freezer for another 10 minutes before baking. If you would like yours a little more spread out, they are ready to go!

Sprinkle the dough balls with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes, or until golden at the edges. Let cool on hot pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before eating to get the best final texture.

Thanksgiving to Friendsgiving

This year’s thanksgiving wasn’t really typical, but it sure was long. About half way through the almost week long celebration, my stomach just started hurting. Not upset, hurting, but more just hurting.  Like it was yelling at me, “No more!”.

Why, you ask?

Day One:
Actual thanksgiving. We started the festivities by FaceTiming the Bylsma/Shurtleff clan back east and even participating in the traditional shot or two of whiskey that comes along.  Thanksgiving with my family one of the things I miss most about being back east, so it was great to see their faces and to be in that kitchen, as confusing as it was, for just a little while.

Brad had to work so Steve, Sarah, Suzi and I went in to eat our feast with Brad at Fords. Ever been to a restaurant on Thanksgiving? It’s freaking weird. I was thinking about “The Christmas Story” scene the whole time when they are in the Chinese restaurant on Christmas. Although our food was absolutely Thanksgiving appropriate, it was stupid expensive. That, however, is an issue I’m not going to get started on… The food was delicious with good company and I’m really, really glad we could bring a little holiday cheer to Brad’s workday.

Day Two:
This was Black Friday. Feast at our apartment with Steve and Sarah. Espresso and Vanilla Bean rubbed rib roast, brussel sprouts, sweet potato spears, mashed potatoes, braised greens, cranberries… Amazing. And this is all after walking around Montana Ave on Black Friday and stopping in to R+D for appetizers and drinks. We had to all cook a feast together at least once while we were together. That’s just what the Mathews and the Toasts DO!

Day Three:
Ok, I worked Saturday, but I was training so I got a free meal. Ate way too much. Ugh. This was the first day my stomach started hurting…

Day Four:
Toasts get back from San Diego. I get out of work early. We make shredded chicken tacos. We all eat a disgusting number of burritos and of course, we have a bottle of wine or two.  Then we make “deconstructed apple pie” with pigs and crabs cut out of pie crust, a Jack Daniels Honey spiced sauce, and Jack Daniels whipped cream.  Um, AMAZING.  One of the best drunken desserts I have ever participated in.

Day Five:
I seriously couldn’t eat this day. The Toasts heated up leftovers before they left to drive back to San Fran, but I just ate a bite or two then had an orange. Stomach was painful this day.  Had to rest. Prepping for the next day’s feast.

Day Six:
Ok, picture this…

Three chefs, a turkey, a Guinness goose, lots of wine, thirteen friends, people in from Stockholm, three homemade pies, brûléed macaroni and cheese (That’s right, they took delicious Mac and cheese, added more cheese, then took out a torch and brûléed it. This really happened), Brad’s Brussel sprouts, my mom’s sweet potato banana casserole, and every other Thanksgiving side you could possibly imagine. “Friendsgiving”. Topped off with an impromptu piano serenade that just about made my night. It was swanky. It was fun.  And it was delicious.

Day Seven?
I feel disgusting. Full, happy, delicious, satisfied, jolly and disgusting.

I do not diet. I don’t really need to because I typically eat really healthy and I’m blessed with a good metabolism. Fruits, vegetables, yogurt, i love it. But after this past week of every type of fat and calorie and butter being pumped through my veins, I’m reminded of Padma from Top Chef. I read somewhere once that she enjoys every dish during the season, not caring about or counting the calories along the way, and then she goes on a crash diet as soon as filming stops to get her figure back.  No booze, no cheese, no junk.  Lots of exercise.

At this point I was considering fasting. I’d eaten enough food to feed a family for at least a month. Juice detox maybe? Too extreme? I’ll never get through it. I mean, I work in a restaurant. It’s not possible.

So I decided today that my compromise is that I will be eating super crazy healthy for the next week (or until I can’t stand it anymore). This meaning cutting out dairy and wheat as much as possible and sticking to lean meats, fruits, and veggies. And even in the twelve hours since I decided this, I’ve found it extremely hard. Especially with all of the leftovers we still have in the fridge. And a husband who loves ice cream and cookies…

Thanksgiving, why did you do this to me? Why did you last six days and four feasts?

It is not easy being a chefs wife. Not easy at all.

So now that it’s late and the salad I made for dinner obviously didn’t fill up my stretched stomach, I raided the pantry for healthy foods and found the goods to make myself a snack that I haven’t had in years.

Have you had ants on a log recently? Delicious!! And peanut butter and raisins are usually my go to snack on a piece of bread. On celery, they’re delicious and even more healthy. And I felt like I was four years old again.

I couldn’t quite tell, but I think even Gibson was jealous.

So I gave her a little bit of peanut butter. She’s too cute to resist.

We will see how long this lasts…