Peanut Butter Cookies
Aside from the gorgeous photography in My Father's Daughter, the book has a well edited collection of really delicious meals perfect for sharing with family and friends. Also apparent throughout the cookbook is Paltrow's penchant for health-conscious food, and she suggests substitutions throughout each recipe to make each dish more diet or health friendly.
My current favorite recipe is for Peanut Butter Cookies, and it has proven the perfect selection to send out in college care packages. With a step-brother and a boyfriend both away at college, I needed a way to send a little bit of love long-distance. These cookies are very moist and keep very well when wrapped in parchment paper, even when sent through the mail.
I have adapted this recipe slightly from Paltrow's recipe in My Father's Daughter, but she obviously deserves all the credit!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together one stick of room-temperature salted butter, 3/4 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter (depending on your preference), and 1 cup packed light brown sugar. Once well combined, add one egg and a generous splash of good vanilla extract (about 1/2 tablespoon) to the mix. With the mixer on low, add 1 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour in 1/2 cup increments, and then add 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Mix together until just combined, then turn the mixer off and add 3/4 cup of roughly chopped peanuts, and one cup peanut butter chips. Mix by hand until combined.
Form the dough into golfball sized cookies, and space them about an inch apart on your baking sheet. Using a fork, gently press down each cookie to flatten slightly and leave little groves. If you like, you can sprinkle a bit of demerara sugar (also known as turbinado or natural brown sugar) over each cookie, and it will catch nicely in the grooves you made with the fork.
Bake the cookies for roughly 14 minutes, until they have firmed slightly on top but still have a bit of softness beneath. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a plate and enjoy, preferably with a tall glass of cold milk.
If you want to send these cookies in a care package, wrap each one in a little bit of parchment or wax paper, and put them all in a plastic ziplock bag. Whoever you send them to will definitely feel very loved.