Magic cookies

Image by Muy Yum via Flickr

There are a lot of things that I don’t understand.

Calculus, for instance.

Quantum physics.

Dmitri’s obsession with video games.

And the carrot-spinach medley that magically found its way into Lily’s ear at lunchtime yesterday?

Definitely proof that, sometimes, a reasonable explanation just isn’t in the cards.

But some wonders are so amazing– and so freaking delicious– that you don’t ask any questions (and not just because your mouth is too full).

Take the peanut butter cookie recipe that I’ve been using for years now (find it here: Yep, no flour. And while I know that the fat in the peanut butter, and the binding and leavening powers of the eggs and baking soda, probably have something to do with the fact that this recipe works, I really have no idea how exactly the magic happens. And I’m ok with that. Ok enough, in fact, that I had more than a little faith in my trusty recipe’s ability to withstand a little tweaking. Instead of making individual cookies, I opted to bake these in an 8×8 pan. And, of course, I added a few extras–because a perfect recipe isn’t actually perfect unless it contains at least a little bit of chocolate.

Or a lot of chocolate. Whatever.

The point is, you can really mess with these cookies not screw them up. I’m sure that, if I asked around, I could find someone who would be able to explain the chemistry component– but the truth is, I nearly failed chemistry in high school and I’d prefer not to relive that tortuous year again. I’d rather believe in magic.

And I’m pretty sure it’s rude to ask questions when your mouth is full of cookie.

Flourless chocolate-chocolate peanut butter cookie bars

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Up to 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or the rest of your Cadbury Mini Eggs :), crushed with the flat part of a really big knife)

Preaheat oven to 350. Foil and grease an 8×8 pan. Stir peanut butter and sugar together; add egg and vanilla. Mix in baking soda and cocoa powder. If dough feels really stiff– like, too stiff to incorporate all ingredients if you’re mixing by hand–add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until it feels more manageable. Fold in chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips). Bake until bars juuuust start to pull away from the sides of the pan– about 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. They should seem a little underdone, but will definitely firm up after they cool in the pan for a while. They freeze really well, and I’m convinced that the texture is even better (and the chocolate taste is richer) after they’ve been frozen for a day or so.


3 Responses to “Magic cookies”

  1. Kate – If I remember correctly, the sainted Miss Briscoe got you through Chemistry by explaining mole theory in terms of chocolate chip cookies. 😉 Mom

  2. I’ve made thousands of cookies in my lifetime, but never had much luck with peanut butter cookies. I will try this! And speaking of cookies, I just finished baking a batch of sugar cookies with pink cream cheese frosting, because my 3-year-old great niece likes pink! And it’s her birthday Sunday and we will get to celebrate it with her. By the way, I’m an OLD classmate and neighbor of your mom’s, kindergarten through 12th grade. Enjoy your blog; you’re talented with the gift of words just like your mom!

    • Marilyn, I love hearing stories about you and my mom. I know that really likes that you two are still in touch! Thanks, too, for your kind words; my mom and I are having a really good time writing together. It makes being in different states just a little bit easier.

      Um, sugar cookies with PINK cream cheese frosting? Yum! And how special that you get to spend Sunday with the birthday girl. Have a wonderful time.
      You really should try these– they’re so incredibly easy. The original recipe– made into cookies, not bars, and without the chocolate–is great too. I’ve made them as thumbprint cookies with jam in the middle for my husband, and he demolished the whole batch pretty quickly :).
      Enjoy your weekend!

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