Makes:About 56 (1-1/2-inch) cookies
These easy stir-and-bake peanut butter cookies get extra flavor and crunch from a toffee peanut coating. Cookbook author Alice Medrich also suggests dressing up traditional peanut butter cookies by mixing Thai curry paste into the dough or making thumbprint-style cookies filled with jam. Watch her make these cookies in this CHOW Tip video.
Special equipment: You will need baking sheets either lined with parchment paper or greased.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork.
In a large bowl, mix the melted butter with the sugars. Whisk in the egg, vanilla, and peanut butter, add the flour mixture, and mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon just until evenly incorporated.
Cover the dough and refrigerate for an hour or two and up to 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Pour the chopped nuts into a shallow bowl. Scoop about 2 level teaspoons of dough for each cookie, shape into a 1-inch ball or fat little log, and coat the top and sides heavily with the chopped nuts, pressing in any pieces that fall off so that there are no bald spots. Place 2 inches apart on the lined or greased pans.
Bake the cookies for 15 to 18 minutes, until they are lightly colored on top (and underneath). Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. The cookies will seem very soft to the touch (and the one you turn over to assess color may even fall apart), but they will firm up as they cool. For lined pans, set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool; for unlined pans, use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to racks. Cool the cookies completely before storing. May be kept in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.
UPGRADES Salted Peanut Toffee Thumbprints with White Chocolate: Surprisingly, white chocolate tastes better than dark or milk chocolate in these cookies (and this from a huge fan of bittersweet chocolate!). And chopped pieces from a bar of “real” white chocolate taste better than white chocolate chips. Have ready 4 ounces white chocolate cut into little pieces or 2/3 cup (4 ounces) white chocolate chips. Bake the cookies in the shape of balls as described. As soon as the pans come out of the oven, press the back of a chopstick or dowel into the center of each hot cookie and move it around gently to widen the hole. Tuck pieces of chocolate (or chips) into each depression while the cookies are still hot.
Salted Peanut Toffee Thumbprints with Jam: Have ready about 1/2 cup (5.5 ounces) strawberry or other jam or preserves. Bake the cookies in the shape of balls as described. As soon as the pans come out of the oven, press the back of a chopstick or dowel into the center of each hot cookie and move it around gently to widen the hole. Cool the cookies. Just before serving, fill the depressions with jam.
Salted Peanut Cookies with Thai Curry Cashews: Made by Sunridge Farms, Thai Curry Cashews can be found in bulk bins in some supermarkets. Substitute Thai Curry Cashews for the toffee peanuts.
Spicy Salted Peanut Toffee Cookies: Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Thai curry paste or other hot sauce to the dough with the peanut butter.
This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food
Reprinted with permission from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich. Copyright 2010. Published by Artisan Books.