(Featured Recipe: Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies)
I am the Simple Chocolatier, and I’m a big believer of simplicity. Many of us juggle a lot of day-to-day tasks, trying to get as much done as possible. Our lives can become way too stressed, as a result. I came to a point where I began to look for solutions and to apply strategies that would make things simpler in my life. And since I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I wanted to make things simpler there too. I like being able to avoid anything that is too complicated and time consuming when I create meals and desserts. However, doing things simpler in the kitchen doesn’t mean I lower my standards. It’s still my goal to always use quality ingredients and produce excellent results.
Let’s Talk “Chocolate”
In my cookbook, The Simple Chocolatier (the book will be released at a later date)– I explain techniques I use to do simple candy-making and pastry-making. What I’ve found to be a simpler way of making chocolates is to use affordably priced chocolate chips, containing real cocoa butter (which is obtained from the cacao bean), instead of high priced chocolate baking bars, or couverture chocolate such as Valrhona, Callebaut and Scharffen Berger. There are those occasions when I purchase high cocoa content chocolate disks (wafers) and temper the chocolate. But dark, milk and white chocolate chips (containing cocoa butter) are a great choice, too. I add coconut oil when I intend to use the chocolate to coat or partially cover my confections and pastries. The addition of coconut oil makes the chocolate smoother and more manageable; and it also gives the chocolate a shiny look. I avoid using candy melts because they don’t contain cocoa butter. Instead, they contain partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil; and, as a result, they taste artificial- not like real chocolate.
Bring Some Variety to the Party
Another way I bring simplicity to what I do is to start with a basic recipe and then create several other variations of that recipe. I’m able to serve several varieties of desserts at a party or function just by making a few simple changes to one recipe. This saves time and money.
Minimizing What Goes In
I also began creating recipes in which I minimized the amount of ingredients. When it comes to preparing an assortment of chocolate confections, pastries and other foods, I simplify many of my recipes by incorporating reduced amounts of cooking oil, butter and starches. Not only is this a cost-effective method, but the other great benefit is that the amount of calories, fats and carbs in a serving are lessened. In my Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies recipe, I use a half cup of peanut butter and no added butter, oil or shortening. Many peanut butter cookie recipes require that you use one cup of butter or shortening, or a combination of both, along with two cups of sugar and two or more cups of flour.
Tasting Is Believing
So, if you want to know just how good the Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies are, you’ll have to taste them for yourself. These cookies are very soft and moist on the inside; they are so full of amazing flavor…& simply delicious! You will find my original recipe below. Enjoy!
The variations of this recipe include Gluten Free Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies, Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter & Maple Cookies, Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter & Molasses Cookies, Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies (Extra Peanut Buttery), and Chocolate-Bottom Coconut Flour Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies (Grain Free ).
|CHOCOLATE-BOTTOM PEANUT BUTTER & HONEY COOKIES
Recipe By Shirell Dalton, The Simple Chocolatier
Prep: 6 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Yields 2 dozen cookies
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (see note below)
1/2 cup pure cane sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup raw honey
2 large eggs
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 cup quality bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the peanut butter with the sugars; stir in the honey. Add the eggs then stir in the flour. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator or freezer until firm. Measure one tablespoonful of mixture and roll into a ball then place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 10 to 11 minutes. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds then remove and stir; repeat this process at shorter intervals, stirring every 15 seconds until the chocolate is smooth. After the cookies have cooled, dip the bottom of each cookie into the dark chocolate. Place cookies chocolate side down on a wax or parchment paper lined baking sheet or plate. Allow the chocolate to set. Store cookies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.
Note: Use your favorite peanut butter in this recipe. My preferred choices are Crazy Richard’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter and Aldi’s Peanut Delight Natural Creamy Peanut Butter. These peanut butters do not contain hydrogenated oils.
Gluten Free Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies– Replace the 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour with 1 cup of gluten-free flour. I recommend Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten Free All Purpose Flour or Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten Free Heritage Blend All Purpose Flour. Avoid using the heritage blend flour (which contains both sorghum and buckwheat flour), if you do not want your cookies to have a hearty whole grain flavor. I think the cookies are equally delicious with either choice of gluten free flour.
Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter & Maple Cookies– Replace the 1/4 cup of raw honey with 1/4 cup of maple syrup. I recommend pure maple syrup or Log Cabin All Natural Table Syrup which contains natural flavors and brown rice syrup instead of artificial flavors and high fructose corn syrup.
Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter & Molasses Cookies– Replace the 1/4 cup of raw honey with 1/4 cup of Grandma’s Molasses.
Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies (Extra Peanut Buttery)– Add an additional 1/4 cup of creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the recipe.
Chocolate-Bottom Coconut Flour Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies (Grain Free)– Replace the 1/2 cup of pure cane sugar and 1/4 cup of light brown sugar with 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar. Also, replace the 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten Free Coconut Flour.
Dark, Milk or White Chocolate: The chocolate-bottom in the recipe is made using bittersweet chocolate chips, but you can replace the bittersweet chocolate chips with semi-sweet, milk or white chocolate chips. Oftentimes, I’ll blend bittersweet with semi-sweet so that the chocolate is not too bitter or too sweet. If you use 1/2 cup of milk chocolate or white chocolate chips, I would suggest decreasing the coconut oil to 3/4 teaspoons instead.
Unrefined Sugar: The recipe has also been tested using Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar. For the 1/2 cup of pure cane sugar and 1/4 cup of light brown sugar- substitute 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar instead. The sugar amount is decreased by 2 tablespoons. The cookies will taste slightly grainy, but they’ll still be fantastic.
Recipes developed by Shirell Dalton – The Simple Chocolatier Copyright ©2015 Shirell Dalton, All Rights Reserved