I think every cook or baker has a collection of recipes they know they’ll never get around to making. Whether it’s Pinterest boards, a cookbook addiction, or a subscription to a cooking magazine, delicious-looking recipes pile up. When Bob’s Red Mill brought out a list of cookie recipes for every state in the US I decided it would be my first challenge in what will probably be a lifelong quest: to “bake on through” as many of my backlog as I can.
We start with Alabama’s cookie, a peanut butter cookie full of peanuts and caramel chunks.
You’d think that a professionally trained baker wouldn’t make the rookie mistake of messing up how many sticks of butter are in half a cup (answer: one) but I’m claiming “Mommy brain” on this one. Also, weirdly enough, if you’re used to dealing with a pound of butter as one brick, and dividing it that way, mentally dividing it into sticks lengthwise takes a few extra minutes of thought.
What I’m trying to say is that I accidentally doubled the amount of butter in this recipe. The funny part is I only knew when I re-read the recipe after. It tastes fine and the dough didn’t seem off, except maybe that the finished product isn’t as crackly with oozing caramel, and the texture is really sandy like shortbread, probably due to the excess shortening effect of the extra butter.
Quick food science lesson: “shortening” is any fat, and it’s called that because it coats the flour grains, protecting them from water, and so inhibiting gluten development. The less gluten development, the more crumbly the product.
They still tasted good! A few managed some caramel leakage, the soft caramel taking on a crunchy texture like brittle. I wish they all did that (as they were probably supposed to). Otherwise it’s just a bunch of caramel sticking in your molars.
It might also have helped if I didn’t roll the dough into balls like they instructed. My husband scooped some for me, he didn’t roll, and they seemed a bit more crackly. I use a cookie scoop so they were pretty round anyway. I also followed the suggestion to flatten them with my hand a bit before baking.
Interesting that I had to cut up caramels for this. I once made an apple cider caramel cookies where the dough was formed around the caramel. That was a sugar overdose.
The only sea salt I had to sprinkle on top was this:
The cookies aren’t as flavorful as I expected. I definitely preferred the ones where the caramel leaked and got crisp. I have no idea how much doubling the butter changed the flavor.
Tips and Suggestions
- Pay attention to butter amounts
- Don’t roll into a ball, just scoop
- Get higher quality caramel (Brachs is designed to be stable and eaten as is, not to melt deliciously in a baked good).
Berry Baked Alaska cookies for Alaska. This looks less like a cookie and more like an entire dessert.
All images by Amber Sutton
Originally published at bakeonthru.wordpress.com