Pumpkin Oatmeal Energy Cookies

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Have you ever noticed that one of the first questions people ask upon meeting for the first time is “What do you do?”  Most of us spend more than half of our time at work, so I suppose it makes sense that we all seem to be so interested in others’ jobs. I used to think this is a question we asked only as adults because work is such a center of adult life. However, looking back, I can remember “what we do” defining us even in childhood. Growing up, I was always “the girl who sang.” Church choir, show choir, my parents back yard, you name the place, I was probably singing. This is funny to me now because the girl I am today barely even sings in the shower. But back then, singing was an integral part of who I was, yet today it is kind of a distant memory. Later on I became “the girl who runs” thanks to the many miles I logged and the number of times I heard “hey! I saw you running yesterday…” And though I still love to run, I have cut back a bit on the miles I log each week. But the identity that I have carried around with me the longest is “the girl who bakes.” Baking has been something I have loved for as long as I can remember, but my love of baking has evolved over the years.  The other day at the gym, someone came up to me and asked if I was “the girl from the cooking website.” This stranger had somehow stumbled upon this little blog of mine and recognized me. I responded rather awkwardly, as it is still hard to believe that anyone besides my own mother even reads this site. Yet there I was, talking to someone who happened upon one of my recipes from a few years back. It startled me a bit because I haven’t really been “the girl who blogs” in a while. It’s been a while since I’ve felt the urge to write on my little space on the internet. And though I still identify as “the girl who bakes” it has been a while since I’ve had the time. And I miss it dearly. I miss covering my kitchen in butter and flour and sharing the delightful result with my loved ones. I miss the look my husband gives me when he is tasting a recipe that he deems “a keeper.” And though I may not have as much time to devote to this little blog as I did back in college, I miss sharing my kitchen mishaps and triumphs. So even though it’s been a while…I’d like to think I’m still “the girl who blogs”. Even though I’ve had a long absence from my little space on the internet,  I hope to share more recipes and stories going forward.

Below is one of my favorite new recipes for a quick and healthy snack. I typically make a batch of these on Sunday afternoons to pack in lunches throughout the week. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 18 cookies

  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (I used Meijer Brand Natural Crunchy PB)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined
  2. Place tablespoons on a lightly greased cookie sheet
  3. Bake t 350 for 10-15 minutes (cookies should be dry to the touch)
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Oreo Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

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When I was in high school, John Mayer came out with a song called Stop the Train. It wasn’t a hit single, and I doubt it ever played on the radio, but it is still a song that I relate to even now. It touches upon the fear of growing older and drifting further and further into the unknown of the future. I’ve had quite a few moments that I quietly dubbed “stop this train” moments. Times in life that are so wonderfully perfect that you wish you could hold onto them…but in the back of your mind, you know they can’t last. And that might be a bit sad, but the fleeting property of those moments is what makes them so sweet. The first time I ever experienced a “stop this train” moment was only a few months after I had first heard that song. It was the summer before college. The summer I had spent every waking moment with three of my best friends. I remember sitting in the car with the three of them, days before we were to head our separate ways in college, and just wishing I could hit the “pause” button and stay in that period of my life forever. Young, naive, and surrounded by those three kindred spirits. But time went on, and life happened. Two of those wonderful friends now live across the country and we only get to see each other a few perfect times a year. And sadly, I lost touch with the third friend years ago. But I like to think that our friendship, with all four of us together, lives on in that perfect memory. And as life continues to move forward, I’ve experienced more and more “stop this train” moments. Late night conversations while eating Ore Ida french fries with my best friends from college. The last Christmas my family had with my Grandpa. Countless moments from our wedding day, when Eric and I were surrounded by every person that we love. Moments like that don’t happen often. And as much as we long to hang on to them as long as we can, they pass quickly. But that’s ok. Because if every moment in life was a “stop this train” moment, those special memories wouldn’t be as special, perfectly preserved in the backs of our minds.

This post doesn’t perfectly tie in with one of my recent recipes. It’s just a collection of thoughts that came to me while baking cookies. Oreo Peanut Butter Chip Cookies to be exact. My coworkers had pointed out that it had been quite a while since I brought baked goods into the office, so I knew I couldn’t come into work on Monday empty handed. This recipe uses a classic chocolate chip cookie base, but has an extra sweetness with the addition of crushed Oreos and peanut butter chips. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 24 cookies

  • 1  1/4 cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2  cup  butter, softened
  • 2  large egg whites
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 6-8 crushed Oreo cookies
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips

Preparation:

  1. Cream butter & sugars together
  2. Add egg whites (one at a time) & vanilla extract
  3. In separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda
  4. Gradually combine wet & dry ingredients
  5. Add in crushed Oreos and peanut butter chips
  6. Place tablespoon sized portions of the dough on a greased cookie sheet.  (Make sure the dough is evenly spaced, as the cookies do spread a bit while baking)
  7. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes

 

 

Breakfast Cookies

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I’ve never been particularly good with change. I was that delightful child who cried at the beginning and the end of every school year. My poor parents. I have always been someone who has thrived on a set routine, so any major life change typically throws me for a loop. When most of my peers looked forward to high school and college with excited anticipation, I was busy mourning the loss of the  current state of life that I’d just gotten used. And though I looked forward to the new chapters in my life, I still dreaded the changes that those looming graduation days brought. I hated the thought of saying good bye to precious parts of my life that encapsulated the current season of life- be it a hobby, a job, or a friendship, I was always scared of what would happen if that goodbye turned out to be permanent. Even when unhappy phases of life came to a close, I still feared what would happen next. When I left my first full time job, a job that was marked by stress and anxiety, I still left with a slight sense of regret. Because I didn’t know what would happen next. Yet here I am, only a a week away from the biggest life change I’ve ever experienced, and there isn’t a trace of sadness or dread in my temperament. I can’t wait to begin my married life with Eric. I can’t wait to experience the ups and downs and the changing tides of our life together. I’m excited to make plans for the future, but change them as we go. Because we’ll be partners in it all, and that is pretty fantastic.

But luckily, the best parts of my current phase of life, get to come with me in my next chapter as a “Mrs.”One of which is going over to my Mom’s house and spending the afternoon chatting and baking. We made these breakfast cookies last weekend as a nice little break from wedding planning, and I realized that baking with my mom has been something I’ve carried with me through each phase of life. From the time I was a 1st grader standing on a stool to help her make cookies, to the times I came home for weekends in college to cook dinner, time in the kitchen with my mom is ever present. And though I’m excited for changes to come, this is one thing I am so happy will never change.

These “cookies” are so healthy you could easily eat them for breakfast, but they are definitely sweet enough for dessert. They include entirely wholesome ingredients and are incredibly addicting.

Ingredients: Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, Makes 24 cookies

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 fig butter (The original recipe calls for apple butter, but since we couldn’t find any apple butter, we substituted with fig butter found at Trader Joe’s and it was delicious)
  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried raisins

Preparation:

  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until just combined
  2. Place tablespoons of batter onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 15 minutes

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Fluffy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you are spending the day with someone you love, whether that is a significant other, family member, or close friend. I will be spending it passing out candy grams at work (yes, Valentine’s Day does occur in some especially festive offices, including mine) and later Eric and I will be celebrating our 5th Valentine’s Day together with a dinner out. I remember the very first Valentine’s Day we spent together. We had only been dating a month but he managed to make it pretty special.The kid even made me cupcakes, so I knew he was a winner.

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Back in 2010

So this year I thought I would make a little Valentine’s Day treat for him. We happen to share a lot of interests, but one very important interest that we share is our devotion to Reese’s peanut butter cups. I don’t know what it is about that magical combination of chocolate and peanut butter, but anytime you combine the two, you are sure to have a pretty dynamite dessert. So I stuck with these two classic ingredients when whipping up a batch of cookies that we have been enjoying all week. The base is a classic peanut butter cookie, made extra light and fluffy with the addition of cornstarch into the mix. And with a sprinkle of chocolate and peanut butter chips, you have yourself one delicious cookie

Ingredients: Makes 24 cookies

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • Preparation:
    1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy
    2. Beat in egg until just combined
    3. Beat in peanut butter and vanilla
    4. Add baking soda, cornstarch & flour and mix until just combined
    5. Place dough in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill
    6. Remove dough from fridge and stir in chocolate chips and peanut butter chips
    7. Place tablespoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes

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Best Posts of 2013

2013 has been one heck of a year. For me personally it has been filled with wedding planning, races, and a busy year at work. For the blog, it has been filled with an even mix of sweet treats and healthy recipes. I thought I would share the top 3 blog posts that I had this year, based upon the number of views each post had. And then, I’ll share my 3 favorites. My favorite thing about blogging is getting to share different stories from my life. So these 3 posts are more about the stories that go along with them, then the recipes themselves. (Though the recipes are delicious too!)

Reader Favorites:

1. “Pinterest” Greek Yogurt Chicken

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Based on the name of this post, you may have gathered that this is a recipe I found on Pinterest. I posted the recipe here on my blog and it has become one of the top searches that have brought people to Miss Petite Sweets. It reminds me of the Parmesan and Mayo Chicken that my mom used to make growing up, but it’s just a tad bit healthier. Plus it includes Lawry’s seasoning, so my fiancee has requested it on several occasions.

2. Whole Wheat Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup

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This recipe is one of those great examples of finding inspiration in the blog world itself. A few years ago, I had never heard of PB2, or powdered peanut butter, but thanks to my new hobby of reading health and fitness blogs, I discovered this product and have used it in a couple different recipes. It tastes similar to peanut butter but has half the amount of calories and fat. And when mixed with a little water & honey, it makes for a delicious, protein packed syrup for pancakes

3. Faygo Cola Baby Back Ribs

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Eric bought me a Faygo Cola cookbook this year and this was the first recipe I tried. I don’t know what it is about cola, but it has an amazing effect on meat. Using Michigan’s favorite pop, or “soda” for you Southerners, made these ribs tender and delicious. And the recipe couldn’t be easier to make.

My favorite posts of the year:

1. Lemon Blueberry Muffins

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As the years pass, I get more and more  appreciative of my brother. Not everyone gets a built in best friend from day one, and I am so happy to have him. We may be total opposities, but I love that we teach each other new things. This recipe reminded me of after school snacks that we shared growing up so it just made sense to share yet another story about Sean.

2. Oatmeal Appleasuce Muffins

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A few of my family members think I’m crazy for how much I enjoy running. In this post I shared what it is about my sport of solitude that I love so much. I wrote it just before I finished my first half marathon, so it also reminds me of that great time in my life. Running a half marathon has been a lifelong dream of mine so it’s always nice to look back on the journey that got me there.

Heaven Cookies

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This is a recipe I posted quite recently, sharing my thoughts about my best friend Anne. The older I get, the more thankful I am for the true friends I’ve made in life. I’ve had quite a few friendships fade away over the years so it makes me feel that much more lucky that one of my best friends is still the first friend I ever had.

So thank you for yet another great year of readership and I wish you all the Happiest New Year!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

 

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Well friends, Christmas is officially 1 week away! Since Thanksgiving was a week later this year, I have been trying my best to fit in every Christmas related activity I could in the  3 1/2 short weeks we have this season. I’ve been listening to Christmas music nonstop and watching every holiday movie I can. I even got a chance to attend quite a few holiday shows through my job. We got tickets to Cirque Du Soleil’s Christmas show and Elf the Musical. Both were fantastic but Elf was definitely my favorite. I was surprised how reminiscent it is to the movie! But as much fun as these Christmas activities have been, the one thing I have been slacking on is my holiday baking. My mom and I didn’t have our traditional marathon day of baking this year because we didn’t have as many holiday parties to bring them to. However, I couldn’t let Christmas pass by without baking at least a batch or two of Christmas cookies. I always try to bake a new recipe each Christmas and this year was no different. I have seen tons of recipes for the classic Chocolate Crinkle Cookies but hadn’t yet tried them myself. But boy am I glad I finally did. The cookies have a short ingredient list and do not take too long to whip up. The result is a rich chocolate cookie that is reminiscent of a brownie, which just so happens to be my favorite dessert. So here is my new favorite cookie recipe just in time for my favorite holiday!

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Ingredients: Makes 24 cookies

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preparation:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside
  2. In a large bowl, combine cocoa powder, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla extract
  3. Slowly add flour mixture to cocoa mixture until just combined
  4. Lightly spray a piece of tin foil with cooking spray and place dough in foil. Wrap and chill for 4 hours
  5. Once dough has chilled, use a teaspoon to divide dough into 24 portions, roll into rough balls
  6. Roll dough balls in powdered and place on greased cookie sheet
  7. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes

Heaven Cookies

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When people talk about “lifelong friends” they rarely mean it in the literal sense. You might meet a lifelong friend in grade school, or even college. But we call them “lifelong friends” as a way to describe the bond we have with them. Because no matter what phase you meet them in life, you know that they will always be a part of you. I feel very lucky to say that I have quite a few of these lifelong friends. But only one is my lifelong friend in both the figurative and literal sense. Because I have known my dear Annie since, well, before we were even born. Our moms met while they were only a few months pregnant with us so I literally do not remember my life without her. We were born a mere 10 days apart and there are few of my childhood memories that Annie is not a part of. In many ways we appeared to be very opposite. She is tall with the curly hair I so wished I had when I was little. While I’m quite petite and don’t even have a wave in my pin straight locks. Annie is outgoing and charismatic, while I was always a bit more shy. But we’ve always just fit together. Annie always pulled me out of my shell, and I always got her bad grades in conduct. Through the amazingly fun family vacations we shared to the not so fun year that we both got dumped within a few months of each other, Annie and I have been through it all. And I am excited for all the new memories we’ll continue to share. In just a few months she will stand by my side as I marry my other best friend, and maybe someday we’ll have little ones of our own that will of course be lifelong friends like us.

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Some of my quintessential “Annie” memories are the countless summer nights that we spent floating in her Grandpa’s swimming pool eating cookies that we lovingly dubbed “Heaven Cookies.” I’m pretty sure her mom bought them on a whim at Kroger, but they were considered our favorite food group for years. They consisted of lemon buttercream and sugary licorice sandwiched between two buttery sugar cookies. So for Annie’s 25th birthday (and our 25th Anniversary of friendship) I thought I would recreate our favorite cookie. And the red licorice makes these Heaven Cookies perfect Christmas cookies as well. Enjoy! (and Happy Birthday Anne!)

Ingredients: Makes 2 dozen sandwich cookies

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Frosting:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preparation:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix flour and baking powder and set aside
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  3. Beat in egg and almond extract
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture, beating well after each addition
  5. Once dough has come together, wrap in tin foil and chill for 2-3 hours
  6. After dough has chilled, roll out with a rolling pin until dough is approximately 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut 24 cookies
  8. Use the same cookie cutter to cut 24 additional cookies, but use a melon baller to cut out a small hole in the center of each cookie
  9. Place all cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes
  10. Let cookies cool completely
  11. To make frosting, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, slowly beat in lemon juice
  12. Spread the “non-holey” cookies with the lemon butter cream and place a small piece of licorice in the center
  13. Top cookie with a “holey” cookie.
  14. Repeat with remaining cookies for a total of 24 sandwich cookies

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Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies

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Happy First Day of Fall! Crisp mornings, cozy sweaters and baked goods filled with cinnamon and pumpkin easily make fall my favorite season. So I thought I would share a few of my favorite things about the best season of the year to go along with the easiest cookie recipe on earth.

1. Fall Running Weather. Once fall ushers in the slightly chilly temperatures, running becomes so much more enjoyable. And since I already love to run, fall running weather turns me into a running machine. This year I’m training for a half marathon, and I am absolutely loving the crisp morning air and the crunch of fallen leaves on my long runs.

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2. Tailgates at MSU. Ever since we graduated from Michigan State 2 1/2 years ago, my group of college friends try to pick at least one football game to have a big tailgate on our old stomping grounds. You can’t get much better than friends, tailgate food, beer and football. Even if I still don’t quite understand the rules of football just yet.

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3. Baseball Playoffs: This is a relatively new “fall favorite” of mine. Being from Detroit, our home baseball team wasn’t very good for most of my life. But over the last few years, the Tigers have not only become a team to watch, we even made it to the World Series last year. I work a block from the stadium so the excitement of playoff season is definitely infectious.

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4. Pumpkin Mania. Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin spice lattes. Come September, Pumpkin is everywhere and I can’t get enough. So that brings us to the easiest cookie recipe ever. These 2 ingredients cookies, made popular on Pinterest, come together in a flash. All you do is mix a box of cake mix with a can of pumpkin, and after a few minutes in the oven, you have yourself a decadent batch of fluffy, cakelike pumpkin cookies. I like to top them with cream cheese frosting for an especially decadent treat, but they are just as delicious without the topping. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 2 dozen cookies

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (store bought or homemade)

Preparation:

  1. Place cake mix and pumpkin in a large bowl and and mix until just combined
  2. Drop batter by the tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet
  3. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes
  4. Let cookies cool and top with frosting if desired

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Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies

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Recently my dad has had to make some changes to his diet. His doctor let him know that steak dinners should be a rare occurrence and those high cholesterol snack cakes he loves may have to fall by the wayside. So far he has been a very good sport with his sudden diet overhaul. He didn’t cringe when I threw away his potato chips and he hasn’t complained about swapping red meat for fish. But one of the items I’m sure he’s been missing is his beloved Bumpy Cake. There was a time in his life that he would polish off an entire bumpy cake each week. By the way, he somehow managed to never put on a single pound during “The Bumpy Cake Diet” which my mom and I found extremely annoying. But nowadays, despite his speedy metabolism, the bumpy cakes are no longer a diet staple. But, since I hate to see the man go without dessert completely, I went searching for a sweet substitute. Initially I bought him a box of whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, but they turned out to be pretty dry and tasteless. So to the blogospehere I went. And I stumbled upon this recipe for Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies that is devoid of flour, butter, sugar and oil. The result was an incredibly soft cookie that tastes deceivingly decadent.  Chocolate cravings= satisfied. Now to somehow get him to eat kale….this might be a tough one.

Ingredients: Makes 18 cookies, from Ambitious Kitchen

  • 1 cup all natural creamy almond butter (or natural peanut butter, if desired)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate bar coarsely chopped
  • sea salt, for sprinkling

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, place almond butter, honey and egg and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy
  2. Add vanilla, baking soda and sea salt and beat until well incorporated
  3. Chop up dark chocolate into coarse pieces and stir into batter
  4. Drop batter by the tablespoon onto a greased cookies sheet
  5. Sprinkle each unbaked cookie with a touch of sea salt
  6. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes

“Fully Loaded” Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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Around here, I tend to consider peanut butter a food group of its own. Whether its smothered on a piece of toast in the morning or its just a spoonful straight from the jar, I definitely manage to fit peanut butter into my diet every day. I love the creamy (or crunchy!) texture and the smooth peanut taste. So I kind of surprised myself when I realized I only have one peanut butter cookie recipe here on this blog. And although my Vegan Peanut Butter Cookie recipe is one of my favorites, I felt I needed to share another cookie recipe that features this delicious nutty spread. And what goes better with peanut butter than chocolate? I threw an assortment of chocolate chips and chocolate covered raisins into this classic, fluffy peanut butter cookie recipe and was delighted with the results.  I added cornstarch into the batter, a tip I learned from Pinterest, and the result was incredibly soft & fluffy cookies. I brought these cookies into work with me because I knew it would probably be wiser to share 2 dozen cookies with my coworkers than to leave them in my own kitchen. Well, I think these cookies were a hit, because they disappeared within hours. Although I added chocolate chips and chocolate covered raisins, you could definitely vary the mix-ins for a number of different peanut butter cookie varieties. (I think crushed pretzels or m&m’s would be delicious!) So have some fun and incorporate some peanut butter into you daily diet. It’s a health food, I promise.

Ingredients: Makes 24 cookies

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chocolate covered raisins

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy
  2. Beat in egg until just combined
  3. Beat in peanut butter and vanilla
  4. Add baking soda, cornstarch & flour and mix until just combined
  5. Place dough in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill
  6. Remove dough from fridge and stir in chocolate chips and chocolate covered raisins
  7. Place tablespoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes

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