Monday, July 13, 2020

Pantry Raid Cookies

My last "hurrah" with my Intermediate Home Ec class was a Zoom demo of these Pantry Raid Cookies adapted from Alton Brown - a mix of SunButter and regular peanut with a generous handful of chocolate chunks and banana chips for good measure. 

It's always a little bittersweet at the end of the school year - after all, teaching is a passion of mine, and as much as the kids drive me nuts some days and our two months out of the classroom to recoup (and work on lessons for next year) are well deserved, it's still a little heartstring-pulling. This year was especially strange for everyone involved, as not only did classes move online but non-transferable classes (like Home Ec) got cancelled outright. However, I did my best to give the kids a "last go" with cooking - Zooming demos of making a simple, no-fuss cookie recipe adapted from none other than Alton Brown!

The best part about virtually demonstrating this recipe (as opposed to in class) is that I had the opportunity to not only use my own equipment (which I know and love) but to use a traditionally verboten ingredient - peanut butter. I had also tested this recipe with Wowbutter, and it works, so if you are peanut free rest assured! However, I not only had a jar of peanut butter to use up but a jar of SunButter (sunflower seed butter) to finish as well - and knowing that straight SunButter makes cookies turn green (still safe to eat, just funky looking) I was interested to see if combining the two would alter the chemistry enough to avoid the problem. It did - and not only that, but the two butters combined to make one of the richest flavoured doughs according to my fiance!

To turn the flavour of these cookies up to eleven, I had to toss in some "bits". In this case, I had a half-bag of banana chips and a handful of chocolate chunks waiting to be used up, and in a moment of inspiration I crushed the chips to almost a powder - think mini-chocolate chip size - which allowed them to infuse every bite. In terms of additions, go nuts with whatever you have - I wouldn't suggest adding more than about 2/3 of a cup combined though, otherwise the cookies fall apart. However, the choices are endless - use what you have!

I apologize for the weird mix of weight and volume here - I weighed the things that are often messy or difficult to measure well - but a scale is always the best way to go with baking anyways (in my humble opinion) so I strongly suggest picking up a digital model. They don't have to be pricey, the one I own was $40 when I bought it for nutrition college and was a more complex model, but I also own a $15 one that I use for classes.

One of my favourite things about these cookies (like most cookies, to be honest) is that the dough stores incredibly well. I baked off four cookies during the lesson, but scooped, flattened and froze trays of the remaining dough so that I could bake them closer to when N was coming for a visit. That way we had fresh cookies on hand without dirtying a bowl!

Pantry Raid Cookies
Makes ~16                                                                                        
168g peanut butter (not natural) or WowButter
100g well stirred, smooth SunButter (or more peanut / Wow butter)
120g granulated sugar
120g brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup banana chips, crushed fine (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter, SunButter, flax seed, sugars, egg, water and vanilla extract until well blended.
  3. Add baking soda and salt, mixing well.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chunks and banana chips (or whatever additions you're using)
  5. Scoop two-tablespoon balls of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, about two inches apart.
  6. Flatten cookies with the back of a fork or a glass dipped in sugar.
  7. Bake cookies, one tray at a time, for 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for at least 45 minutes before enjoying.

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