For his birthday, Andrew was sent some cookie cutters all the way from Australia, from his Great Uncle and Great Aunt who live out there. The cutters are in the shape of Aussie animals (kangaroo, koala and crocodile) and one is in the shape of the country itself. As we hadn’t done any baking for a while, mainly due to the amount of birthday cake we had, I thought we’d have a go at some biscuits using these new cutters. Andrew loves rolling out dough and cutting out shapes, particularly if the dough is edible and not play-dough! Joel has even started to take an interest too, but he was asleep when we baked this time.
I looked through a biscuits and cakes recipe book that I got for Christmas for some inspiration. When I saw the recipe for some peanut butter biscuits, I thought that these would work well with the Australian theme – they’re not exactly Anzac cookies, but they’re along those lines, and I remember eating a few peanut butter sandwiches when we went to Australia. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, I never do! But they turned out yummy, and went down very well with the boys. So here’s our take on peanut biscuits…
- 100g butter
- 50g white sugar
- 50g brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 80g peanut butter
- 190g plain flour
- Preheat oven to 180ºC, and prepare a baking tray by lining it with grease proof paper.
- Cream the butters and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the vanilla essence and flour to form a stiff dough.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut out biscuit shapes (they don’t have to be Aussie if you don’t have such cool cutters!), and transfer them to the baking tray until all the dough is used.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until lightly golden – they will still be slightly soft to touch.
- Leave them to cool and firm up on the tray.
- Store in an airtight container.
I actually think these are better a few days old, because I like my biscuits slightly chewier rather than snappy crispy, but they won’t last much longer around here!
A while ago (OK, quite a while ago, back in June!) I posted a recipe for cheese scones, and I talked about the reason why I decided on that recipe that particular day: I had 2 eggs to use up as they were on their use-by date. One of those eggs went in the scones, and the other I promised I would blog about later. Well, these peanut butter cookies are what the other egg went in! The idea for the cookies also came from the need to use something up that had been in the cupboard for a while. I usually like peanut butter, either in a sandwich or used in cooking (for example, I have a great and easy peanut butter curry recipe), but I went off it in early pregnancy as I didn’t feel like eating it when I was so sick. So we had a couple of jars (one smooth, one crunchy) open in the cupboard for quite a while. But as the sickness eased, I felt like I wanted to try it again, and it turned out I really quite fancied it then, I think because it’s quite savoury (at least the brand I buy is, with no added sugar like some).
I had heard something about avoiding peanuts in pregnancy though, so I looked this issue up in the NHS ‘Pregnancy’ book. The current advice is that eating peanuts as part of a balanced and varied diet in pregnant is fine, unless of course you are yourself allergic to them. It was once advised that pregnant mums should avoid eating peanuts if their baby’s immediate family had a history of allergies in general (such as asthma, eczema or food allergies). But the most recent research shows no clear evidence that eating or not eating peanuts affects the chances of the baby developing a peanut allergy. That advice sounds good enough to me, and as I was in the mood for something peanutty, the cookies were a good option.
I only put a small amount of sugar in, so they actually turned out more like savoury biscuits with the texture of a soft cookie than sweet cookies. I used some smooth and come crunchy peanut butter, so I was careful when I gave one to Andrew, checking each bit as I gave it to him for big chunks of peanut – it was fine though, as there were no big chunks. If I was making them just for myself, I’d probably go for all crunchy, to give the overall soft cookies a bit of a bite to them. But the smooth butter needed using up! The recipe is below – it’s a really quick and easy one to do.
- 100g margarine
- 100g peanut butter (I used half smooth half crunchy because that’s what needed using up!)
- 100g self-raising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 50g brown sugar
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan), and line a couple of baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
- Cream the margarine, peanut butter and sugar in a bowl until smooth and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg until smooth.
- Add the flour and baking powder, and stir until well combined.
- Dollop teaspoonfuls of mixture on the baking sheets, spread well apart as they will expand.
- Bake in the oven for about 15 mins, or until lightly golden and still quite soft.
- Allow to cool, during which time they will firm up.
- Remove from baking sheets and store in an airtight container – though they go dry quite quickly, so I would recommend eating them asap!