Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

monster cookies 4 585x825 Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Who needs a cookie? I do.

Apparently it’s September. I dunno.

monster cookies 3 Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Honestly, I love fall. It’s my favourite time of year – the warm sun, crunchy leaves, longer nights (besides food, sleep is my favourite), explosion of fruits and veggies, and then the parade of festivities – Thanksgiving, a round of birthdays (including mine), Halloween and Christmas. The only problem with fall is when you realize it’s September first tomorrow and the huge list of things you were sure you’d get done over the expanse of summer that stretched so indulgently before you back in June still remain undone. Especially when that to-do list involved a new kitchen.

monster cookies 2 Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I made these out in Tofino this summer, when we had a house full of hungry kids, no flour, very little butter and only one egg. They’re similar to monster cookies, which are traditionally made with peanut butter and oats but no flour (which makes them thin and chewy), and generally topped with Smarties or M&Ms or some such, which would totally be appropriate here if you’re into that sort of thing. I had a big bar of chocolate I had brought up to test some unrelated recipes with, and I knew if I packed it to come back home it would either be eaten in the car or melt en route, or both.

monster cookies Collage Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I realize that it’s the eve of back-to-school, and while I’m thinking that W’s lunches will provide a perfect excuse for me to bake batches of these, most kids aren’t allowed to bring nuts to school. (We have no allergies at our school – or haven’t since W was in kindergarten – so I can send all the PB&Js I want – if you can’t use peanuts, almond butter should work fine, or one of those nut-free butters, like Wowbutter or No Nuts Golden Pea Butter, which in my experience works as well as peanut butter.

monster cookies 1 Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

As I’ve been typing this Mike came in with Snickers, and it occurred to me that they’re similarly chewy/chocolatey/peanutty, and that chopping one into the batter would likely be a Very Good Idea. I’ll give it a go tomorrow morning (I have an office to bring them to this week!) and report back.

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut or almond butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups old-fashioned (large flake) oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2-1 cup chocolate chunks, chips, or M&Ms

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, beat or stir together the butter, peanut butter and sugars until creamy and smooth; beat in the egg, vanilla and salt.

Stir in the oats and baking soda, then the chocolate chunks. Drop by the spoonful onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them well apart (they spread out pretty thin), and bake for 15 minutes, or until spread out and golden. Let them cool for a bit on the baking sheet, then remove them with a thin spatula. Eat them warm.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies.

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September 01 2014 | cookies & squares | 1 Comment »

Back to Busy: Bubble Biscuit Pizza

biscuit pizza 2 Back to Busy: Bubble Biscuit Pizza

We’ve been eating a disproportionate amount of pizza these past couple weeks… not only because it’s easy to cook on the grill (we’re currently without a kitchen), but because it’s easy and requires little in the way of dishes – just napkins that can be tossed in the garbage. (Doing dishes in the bathtub tends to make one acutely aware of just how many dirty dishes one generates.)

This particular pizza is not the thin crust variety; it’s made on thickly patted out biscuit dough, making it sort a of quasi-focaccia, but then again not really – it’s more like thick wedges of comfort; dough topped with cheese, served warm. You could, of course, add anything you might add to a pizza – and the dough itself can be stirred up in about a minute, without kneading (a bonus when you currently have no countertops) or the need to let it rise. Which means you can come home from work and have a pizza in the oven in about ten minutes – it’s also easy enough for kids to make themselves, if they’re the sort who come home hungry and like to bake.

biscuit pizza 1 Back to Busy: Bubble Biscuit Pizza

We baked this in the toaster oven – one of the small appliances that has saved our collective bacon since I decided it was a good idea to tear the kitchen out in order to force us to come up with a new one. My toaster oven is old and well-used, but London Drugs asked if I’d curate a short list of small appliances that make life easier during the back to school (and work) end of summer crunch, and the toaster oven is often overlooked, I think, for its ability to do far more than melt cheese on a bagel.

toaster oven 585x361 Back to Busy: Bubble Biscuit Pizza

You can bake a batch of biscuits in a toaster oven, which really is a regular oven, only mini, that sits on your countertop. Most people don’t realize you could bake a pie in a toaster oven. (And you might want to, if another heat wave comes along. Toaster ovens don’t heat up the entire house.) It doesn’t use as much power when you’re baking something small, like a banana loaf, or if you’re cooking or reheating a meal for one. (Sometimes you want crispy bits, which aren’t always possible in the microwave.) And they’re great for students with limited space – I have no idea how dorm rooms work these days, but I know I’d want some sort of kitchen setup, even if it was in a closet.

Like every other appliance, toaster ovens range from the inexpensive to the fancy (this Breville has an LCD screen and convection capabilities), but I’ve worked with many toaster ovens in many makeshift kitchens and on cooking sets over the years, and had success with most of them – I’d choose the Oster or Hamilton Beach (you can toast, bake or broil), or the Breville if you want to go higher end.

Happy long weekend, all! Enjoy this last summer hurrah.

Bubble Biscuit Pizza

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose, half whole wheat)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup tomato sauce or 1/2 cup pesto
2 cups grated mozzarella
ΒΌ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the cream and stir just until the dough comes together. Turn out onto the countertop, knead once or twice, and pat out about an inch thick.

With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-inch squares and place in a large bowl. Pour the tomato sauce and half the mozzarella overtop and gently toss to coat. Scrape out into an 8-inch cast iron skillet, or a greased cake pan or pie plate.

Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Serve warm. Serves 4-6.

* This post was sponsored by London Drugs to help get through the back to school crunch – and to help me pay my web hosting fees – but all words and thoughts are my own. Thanks, London Drugs!

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August 29 2014 | bread and one dish | 8 Comments »

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