Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A cookie a day ... thanks to 365 recipes

After winning $1 million in the Pillsbury Bake-Off, what's a home cook to do? If you're Anna Ginsberg (who won in 2006 for her Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing, made with frozen waffle sticks and syrup), you'll keep on creating recipes.

Ginsberg shares original recipes four or five times a week on her Cookie Madness blog and is the author of a new cookbook, The Daily Cookie: 365 Tempting Treats for the Sweetest Year of Your Life (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $24.99).

Wondering what to bake on Valentine's Day? She suggests Mocha Truffle Brownies. Veteran's Day? Lemon Rosemary Shortbread. July 3, foodie icon M.F.K. Fisher's birthday? Mini Ginger Cookies.

You'll find cookies of almost every description and that appeal to almost everyone. What child wouldn't want to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday, March 2, with Green Egg Cookies? (The green "yolks" are frosted balls perched on poached egg-shaped "whites.") Pork and Beans Bars, in honor of National Pork and Beans Day, July 13, might be a harder sell. The 10-ounce can of baked beans with pork contribute an intriguing smoky flavor to the cakey bar cookies, Ginsberg writes.

Dec. 11 calls for these Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Chunk Cookies. The reason might be a bit of a stretch -- Dec. 11 is the day a monument to the boll weevil was erected in Alabama, and the infestation of those cotton-eating pests prompted farmers to grow peanuts instead -- but the cookies are delicious and easy to make. While most cookies are best fresh from the oven, I thought these tasted even better the next day, when the flavors had time to meld and the peanut butter became more pronounced.

Yield: About 48 cookies

1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (4.5 ounces) white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats (not instant)
7 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and place a rack in the center. Have ready two ungreased cookie sheets.

Mix both flours, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl and using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add both sugars and beat for 3 minutes or until light. Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and beat in the eggs, beating just until mixed. By hand or using the lowest speed of the mixer, beat in the flour mixture. When the flour is incorporated, stir in the oats and chocolate.

Drop generously rounded tablespoons of dough about 2 1/2 inches apart onto the baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for about 13 to 15 minutes, until the edges start to brown and the cookies appear set. Let cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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