peanut butter chocolate toffee cookies

I love browsing in the baking goods aisle in my local grocery store.  I particularly love looking at all the different kinds of baking chips — semisweet, bittersweet and milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, cinnamon chips, and on and on.  Among my favorites are Heath Toffee Bits.  There are two varieties — Bits O’ Brickle, which are just the toffee bits, and Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits, which are pretty much chopped-up Heath Bars.  I found this recipe on the back of the bag of the latter.  Ordinarily, I prefer not to bake with shortening, but I decided to bake them as written to see how they’d turn out.  I was concerned that substituting butter for the shortening would produce cookies with too much spread and that were too thin.  And they are pretty thin, even with the shortening.  Maybe next time I’ll try them with the butter and substitute baking powder for the baking soda (baking soda contributes to spread).  One more thing: the recipe cautions to be careful to not overbake the cookies. However, the cookies looked a bit raw at the 8-minute mark so I baked them for another minute or two.  Even then, I thought the centers were a bit iffy.  I had to cool them on the baking sheet for longer than the recommended 2 minutes as well; they were just too soft and fragile to move at that point.
The verdict on the cookies?  Thin and chewy, with crisp edges — I love how the peanut butter and chocolate toffee bits play against each other. Give them a try!
Heath Bits Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies. 
1/2 cup (95g) shortening
3/4 cup (202g) creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cups (284g) packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk (I used 1%)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups (181g) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups (8 oz. pkg.) Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits
Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add egg; beat just until blended. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Stir in 1 cup bits; reserve remainder for topping. Drop by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet; top each with reserved bits. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until set. Do not overbake. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely.
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awesome pb lovers’ cookies (aka get well soon cookies)

I love reading food blogs, as is evidenced by the lengthy list on the right sidebar. One of my favorites to comb through is Anna Ginsberg’s Cookie Madness. Some months ago, Anna posted the recipe for the Get Well Soon cookies she had created for a sick friend and I immediately bookmarked it for future use. I made them today for L.’s book group gathering and have taken the liberty of rechristening them (just for today) “peanut butter lovers’ cookies,” because (hopefully) none of the kids present are sick. These soft molasses-tinged peanut butter cookies, with chopped up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Dove Dark Chocolate and Reese’s Pieces, are quite addictive. P., who is not normally a big peanut butter cookie kind of guy, couldn’t stop eating them.

my thursday with dorie — chunky peanut butter and oatmeal chocolate chipsters

Tuesdays with Dorie is a group of very dedicated baking bloggers who, once a week, select, prepare and post a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. Although I own the book and I’ve often considered participating, I haven’t yet, I think mostly because I’m frightened what weekly goodies will do to my waistline. So today, I thought I would have my own day with Dorie. I baked her Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters (page 73 for those who wish to follow along).

Maybe it’s because I’ve been so (relatively) good in the past week, but the combination of oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate came to me several days ago and just sounded so appealing. I proceeded to google cookie recipes with that combo only to discover that I already had such a recipe in my own house! I actually halved Dorie’s version since I wanted to continue being (relatively) good, and opted to use creamy peanut butter (it’s what I had in the house) and semisweet chocolate chunks (ditto) instead of bittersweet chocolate. The house smells amazing — baking brown sugar, peanut butter, cinnamon and chocolate — and (mmmmmmm) the cookies are even more amazing.

chocolate scotcheroos

A lot of people prepare family favorites during the holidays, as a tradition, or even just as a way to connect with loved ones. I don’t have much in my holiday baking repetoire that fits that category. Living in Bangkok with my mother, we weren’t really in the practice of baking holiday goodies at Christmastime. And when I was with my father in the States, holiday baking was just not one of his traditions.

When I was a teenager, my father was married to a woman who loved all things peanut butter. At holiday time she’d make peanut brittle (and a few different kinds of fudges), but throughout the year she’d make this concoction called Scotcheroos. I actually thought she’d invented it, although I’ve since learned that it was actually a popular recipe. For potlucks she’d make the complete version of the recipe with the melted chocolate and butterscotch chips on top, but much more often she’d make an everyday version — just the peanut butter-cereal base — for a treat, or a snack, or even a pick-me-up after a bad day. Most often she’d make it with Wheaties, and on a really bad day, she’d eat it warm out of the bowl.

I always make my Scotcheroos with the melted chips — my teenage son demands it — and I use Rice Krispies rather than Wheaties. I haven’t lived with my stepmother in almost 25 years, but every time I make Scotcheroos I always think of her.

Chocolate Scotcheroos

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup white sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup light corn syrup
6 cups Rice Krispies (or Wheaties)

Cook sugar and corn syrup in a large pot until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and add peanut butter; stir until smooth. Add the cereal and mix until all the cereal is coated. Press into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Let harden. Melt butterscotch and chocolate chips together over hot water (or melt in microwave in glass bowl). Spread the melted chocolate/butterscotch chips over the cereal mixture. Cut into bars after top is firm.