Kids of all ages will go nuts for super-peanutty peanut butter cookies encrusted with crunchy sweet coconut toffee or plain toffee coated peanuts and (if you like) sprinkled with tiny pinches of crushed flaky sea salt. Tuck them into a lunch box, bring them to the office, or take them as a hostess gift. If your audience is adventuresome, trade the toffee peanuts for those Thai curry cashews in the bulk bin aisle of better supermarkets, or add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Thai curry paste or hot sauce to the dough. Really! Adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Cookies (Artisan Books 2010) By Alice Medrich. —Alice Medrich
approximately 12 to 15 cookies
(113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and warm
(100 grams) light or dark brown sugar
(100 grams) granulated sugar
(255 grams) natural (the kind that is unsweetened and requires stirring) chunky peanut butter, well-stirred to blend in the oil before measuring
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, peanut butter, salt, baking soda, vanilla, and egg. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Add the flour and mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon just until evenly incorporated.
Cover the dough and refrigerate for an hour or two, or up to 2 days.
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
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 a 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 baking sheets. If you like, sprinkle each cookie with a very tiny pinch of crushed flaky sea salt.
Bake the cookies until they are lightly colored on top (and underneath), 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. The cookies will seem very soft to the touch, but they will firm up as they cool. Set the baking sheets on a rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).