Sunday, October 13, 2013

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

A student told me today he had four brothers and another one on the way. I looked at him and said, "That's half a year of entries in your writing notebook!" 

That line, tweeted from an elementary school teacher, lingered with me last night. For that little boy, growing up as one of six brothers will provide him with endless inspiration for writing. Even a simple car ride gains significance, showing him the value of compromise when he makes a deal with Brother #3, trading his place in the front seat of the car for a pack of baseball cards. 

Writers return to their favorite writing territories again and again, lingering with them, revisiting them in entirely new ways and ways that feel utterly familiar. These territories draw us back to our favorite authors, knowing we'll find a bit of something familiar in each new book they publish.

Right now, peanut butter is my territory. It's where I'm lingering. It focuses my recipe searches and my grocery store purchases. Recently, I've been experimenting with chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookies, trying out countless variations to find one worthy of sharing with all of you. 

This is definitely it. They're almost too large, but you won't hear anyone complaining. They're soft and chewy,  loaded with extra oatmeal. They're a little light on the sugar which really lets the peanut butter shine through.

Make a batch to share, and freeze a few to have when the urge hits in the future. This is one territory you'll certainly want to return to again and again.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown, but light brown also works well!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer set on medium speed), combine butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Mix for 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the bowl in between each egg.

Add flour, and mix on low speed until just combined. Stir in oats and chocolate chips by hand.

(If time allows) Refrigerate the dough overnight. You'll be glad if you do.

The next day: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop three tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough, and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned. Let cool on the cookie sheet for four minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm, cold or any other way you can imagine. They're delicious!

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