When you’re pregnant and you get a craving, it usually hits pretty hard. It gets to the point where you actually need it, or you feel you may not survive much longer. Apparently, it’s your body’s way of telling you that you need a certain vitamin or some sort of nutrient. I’ve had a craving for peanut butter cookies lately, but I’m pretty sure there aren’t any needed nutrients in such a treat as peanut butter cookies! It’s not like I need any more sugar in my diet; anyone could see that just by looking at the recipes on my blog!
I’m 31.5 weeks into my fourth pregnancy. Things are going as you would expect; I’m tired, it’s very difficult to bend over, it’s very difficult to get back up when I finally get in a good position on the sofa, I’m hungry, I make frequent trips to the bathroom, I get heaps of Braxton-Hicks contractions. Well, if you’ve been pregnant before, you know all about it. An earlier ultrasound revealed that I’m having a 3rd son; it also revealed the baby had mild renal pyelectasis, which means that one of the baby’s kidneys are slightly larger than the other. This most likely will not result in any long-term problems, and will probably have resolved itself by my next scan. It’s a very common finding in males during ultrasounds. I’ve been waiting for about 10 weeks for my next scan, and still have 5 weeks to go, to see if it really has resolved itself. It’s a long wait. I’ve decided not to think too much about it, as there’s nothing I can do about it anyway. –If anyone’s had any experience with this, I’d love to hear about it – just send me an email via the contact link above!
In the meantime, I’m keeping myself busy with taking the kids to school, picking them up, and baking stuff. It’s taken me a while to get used to the oven in our new house, but I’m getting it figured out! Also, my 6-year-old daughter is having a tonsillectomy this week. My son had a tonsillectomy in April of last year, when he was 3. I think large tonsils run in my family, although thankfully I haven’t needed to have mine removed! Both my children have had trouble sleeping due to large tonsils, where they aren’t able to breathe properly – sort of like sleep apnea. My son’s tonsillectomy completely cured him, so we are hoping it will do the same with my daughter. She’s not very scared; she knows she’ll have two weeks off school, be able to eat all the ice cream she wants and we even have some presents for her to help take her mind off things (if her throat hurts too much).
So, there are quite a few things to keep me busy in these last few weeks of my pregnancy. I have some great recipes lined up as well that I can’t wait to get started on!
Anyway, back to the peanut butter cookie cravings. I was just about to start baking my favorite PB cookie recipe (which is this flourless one) when I came across this mega-PB cookie from Buttercream Blondie on FoodGawker. Each of these cookies is made with 4 ounces of cookie dough and stuffed with pretty pink peanut M&M’s. They looked gorgeous and just right for my cravings. They have more ingredients than my favorite flourless recipe, but it has been a while since I made a full-on PB cookie, so I went with it. I used milk chocolate chips instead of peanut M&M’s.
This PB cookie dough needs to be refrigerated for a few hours, or overnight, before baking. I’ve never refrigerated PB cookie dough that I can remember, so I baked one up just to see what it would be like if I baked the dough straight after baking it. Compared to the rest of the cookies, which I baked on the following day, the cookie I baked straight away spread more and was flatter. Otherwise, there wasn’t a huge difference in taste; just in appearance.
It is important that you do not over-bake these cookies. Over-baking will ruin them (unless you like crispy, crunchy cookies?). As you’ll read on Buttercream Blondie, you should take these out of the oven while they are still slightly under-baked as they will continue to bake on the tray once you take them out of the oven. This is true for most cookies. As Alton Brown once said, if your cookies look done while they’re in the oven, then they are over-baked and probably ruined. I took my cookies out of the oven while the edges were slightly golden and the middles were still wobbly. And the result?
The perfect balance of crispiness and chewiness. The middle of this cookie was to-die-for chewy. A simply beautiful texture. I found that they tasted best straight out of the oven, by the way.
I will note that I did not use 4 ounces of dough for my cookies – I used just 2 ounces! This still resulted in quite a large cookie at just over 3-inches (8.5cm) in diameter. I baked them at the recommended temperature for about 15-17 minutes. If you’re going to make smaller cookies like I did, just keep an eye on them because they may not require the full baking time as noted on the recipe. And again, under-baking these is really important if you’re after that chewy texture.
I really have no complaints about these cookies! Well, if I had to be picky, I may have liked them to be a bit more peanut-buttery. Maybe I should add more peanut butter next time?
I also noted that the bottoms of these cookies tended to burn really easily. The first batch of these cookies had quite brown bottoms! Keep this in mind if you make these, and if your oven’s heating element is on the bottom, try putting your oven rack up higher.
Adapted from Buttercream Blondie
Makes about 18
1 stick (115g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk (or dark, or white!) chocolate chips
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and mix well. Add egg and vanilla extract and mix well.
Sift in flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix on lowest speed until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.
Transfer dough to a bowl (or use the same bowl), cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 325F (170C). Line baking sheets with baking paper. Measure out 2 ounces of dough (I didn’t measure in tablespoons, but I’d say it was a good rounded 2 tablespoons of dough) and place on the baking sheets about 2-3 inches apart. Bake about 15-17 minutes, rotating the trays if necessary, being sure to take the cookies out when they still slightly under-baked. Let cookies cool on the sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack, then enjoy!