It’s time for one of the biggest food blogging events of the year: The 2014 Food Blogger Cookie Swap! All around the world, food bloggers exchange holiday cookies to support the organization Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Long-time readers may remember that I participated in the cookie swap last year as well, with my recipe for Almond Toffee Cookies. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do the cookie swap this year. Baking and packaging cookies at home is a breeze, but carrying ingredients and equipment down to my dorm kitchen involves a few more logistics. Even so, I’m really glad that I decided to participate in the cookie swap this year; it was a great study break to dream up a new cookie recipe, and getting boxes of cookies in the mail has been such a nice surprise during finals week. This year, I sent cookies to Emma from My Upbeet Life, Kate from Three Sixty Five Degrees, and Diana from The Dreamery. Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten Mexican Chocolate Cookies from Hannah of FleurDelicious, Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies from Aly of The Michigan Mom, and Peppermint Chia Seed Cookies from Holly of Happy Food Healthy Life. All the cookies were absolutely delicious and my friends and I have been enjoying them after dinner or for snacks in between classes.
This year, I decided to make a peanut butter oatmeal cookie with salted caramel peanuts mixed into the dough. The recipe may or may not have involved the always-treacherous task of taking a mug of half-and-half from the dining hall without being noticed, but it was worth the risk. The cookies are full of flavor from the dark brown sugar, brown butter, and peanut butter, but still have the delicate, almost shortbread-like texture that peanut butter cookies are known for. The peanuts are coated in a simple salted caramel sauce before being folded into the dough, and if you are lucky enough to have any peanuts leftover they make for an excellent sundae topping.
With that, I hope everyone gets to bake and eat plenty of cookies this holiday season and that you all have a wonderful start to 2015!
Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
Cookie dough recipe adapted from How Sweet Eats
Salted Caramel Peanuts:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and browned
1 7/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
9 tablespoons creamy, salted peanut butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups salted caramel peanuts
- For the salted caramel peanuts: Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. Stir together the granulated sugar and water in a large skillet, then place over medium-high heat. Cook the sugar, without stirring until it turns a deep amber color and smells like caramel. Immediately remove the pan from the burner, then stir in the butter until melted. Return the pan to medium-low heat, and add the cream and the sea salt and stir well to combine. Add the peanuts to the pan and toss until coated, and cook until sticky and covered in caramel sauce. Transfer the peanuts to the prepared baking pan and let cool completely before proceeding with the recipe. Once the peanuts have cooled, break them apart so that each nut is separate from the rest.
- For the cookie dough: Place 1 stick (8 tablespoons) of the butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook until melted and browned, 5-6 minutes. The butter should be a deep golden brown in color and have a nutty fragrance. Pour the butter into a large bowl, and add the remaining 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons of butter) and stir until melted. Let the butter sit for 15 minutes.
- While the butter cools, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 325F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, and baking powder, and set aside.
- Once the butter has cooled for 15 minutes, whisk the peanut butter into the melted butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar and the granulated sugar and whisk until well combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients, and fold gently to combine until just incorporated. Fold in the salted caramel peanuts until evenly distributed.
- To form the cookies, roll 1 tablespoon of the dough per cookie into balls, then flatten into disks, and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Take care not to overbake these cookies. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.