When a purchased food becomes such a habit that I can’t fathom a day without this item, it’s usually when I decide to make something like it at home. This winter, it’s been cookies… boxes, and boxes of cookies. All kinds of cookies. Chewy, grainy, nutty ones; flat, crispy sugary ones. It’s an awful way to start off the new year, I suppose.
I don’t know if this is victorious or rather quite submissive of me, then, to concoct a cookie that serves my purpose much better than any store-bought ones. But, I did. It combines my favorite things about all those cookies that I’d binged on, together in one ultimate batch: rolled oats for chewy bits of texture, dark chocolate shards, and lip-smacking peanut butter.
Then, since I didn’t think it could do any more harm, I used only whole wheat flour. I suppose I thought this might also soften the blow (what matters when there’s a tablespoon of butter or peanut butter per portion?), or add more reason for making my own cookies instead of buying the same. But I can’t tell any difference in terms of how the cookies baked using all whole wheat flour versus all-purpose (as opposed to bread), and actually, think it gave the cookies a deeper nutty flavor.
Plus, the heaps of empty cardboard and plastic cookie boxes was really getting to me, and this way, I only came away with a grease-blotted paper towel as waste. Another reason, and reason enough.
Peanut Butter Choc-Oat Cookies with Whole Wheat
(makes about 15 large cookies)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (preferably no salt, no sugar, just “peanuts” for ingredients)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
about 6 oz. dark chocolate, broken or chopped to chunks
Let butter and egg soften at room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream the butter, sugar, peanut butter and vanilla. Whisk in the egg. Gradually add the flour, salt and baking powder.
Fold in the oats and chocolate chunks. Form into about 15 (give or take) patties using the cups of your palms, and space about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned and small cracks have formed across the tops. Let cool.
(for 15 cookies)
1 stick butter: $1.25
1/2 cup peanut butter: $1.00
1 egg: $0.25
3/4 cup sugar: $0.25
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour: $0.50
3/4 cup rolled oats: $0.50
6 oz. dark chocolate: $4.00
salt, baking powder, vanilla: $0.40
Eight brownie points: So I tried, vaguely, to give these cookies more nutritional value than your average sweet treat. There’s peanut butter and whole rolled oats for flavor, fiber and protein, and whole wheat flour instead of white. These whole grains do more than provide extra nutrition, but have a lower glycemic index than refined grains, which means the carbohydrates will break down in your system more gradually, and won’t give you a sugar rush followed by a crash of energy. But while these cookies may not be “empty” calories, they still have a lot of calories. So beware.
Five maple leaves: The main ingredients in these by weight are butter, and peanut butter. The types of each that you choose can have a great effect on the outcome of your cookies, but also on your health and that of the environment. Choose butter from hormone-treated, non-organic cow’s milk, and you’re supporting a system that doesn’t serve your health or the animals’ as well. Peanut butter can be filled with (totally unnecessary) chemical additives and seasonings, which is easily avoided after you try a taste of all-natural, just-peanuts butter, and see how much better it is.