Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Crumble Cookies

It wasn't until my move to England that I started to appreciate the art of the crumble. Apple, blackberry, apricot, you name the fruit, as long as it had that delicious sugary crunchy topping on top, I was happy as a clam when dessert rolled around. Yet this new dessert addiction had a downside- it happened to exist predominantly in a country without two other loves of mine: namely, the art of the cookie (NOT biscuit) and peanut butter. You will hear many an American ex-pat bemoan the lack of Skippy or Jiffy or whatever kind of sugared peanut-y substance they grew up with as a kid. And I was most definitely one of them. The cookie/biscuit debate was equally vexing.

Are biscuits really cookies in disguise? I have my doubts. Something about the term "digestive" just seems wrong when applied to the concept of dessert.

Anyway, I digress. These cookies, adapted from a recipe in the August edition of Delicious, made life in the UK so much sweeter. Someone from the UK, bless them, had realized the genius in combining three of my great loves in one delicious bite. Granted, there was far too little peanut butter in the original recipe, but hey, at least the Brits are trying. Add as much as your USA ex-pat heart dares. I used at least 3 tbsp. I may add more next time, just watch me.
I also skipped the finesse of the white chocolate drizzle. I was serving these at a dinner party and the last step to add artful flair seemed a bit much. Instead, I pressed a white chocolate chip into each one, and believe me, no one noticed the difference.

9 tbsp of butter, softened
115g of caster sugar (1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp)
1 heaped tbsp of creamy peanut butter (and you are heartily recommend to add more)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large free range egg, beaten
150g plain flour (1 slightly heaped cup)
30g of cocoa powder (8 tbsp)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g of semi sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)

For the crumble topping:
30g salted butter (2 1/2 tbsp)
40g plain flour (1/4 cup heaped)
30g of caster sugar (1/4 cup)
60g of unsalted peanuts (1/2 cup),
half of them coarsely chopped and half of them left whole

For the drizzle:
50g of white chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)


Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/gas mark 5. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Make the crumble topping by whisking together the flour and sugar. Rub in the butter until crumbly and then stir in the nuts. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar for the cookies, along with the peanut butter, until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Stir this into the creamed mixture, mixing it in completely. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Shape into 15 gold ball sized balls. Place well apart on the baking sheets. Press down lightly with a spoon, making a slight indentation in the middles. Sprinkle heaped TBS of the topping in the middles. (This will be messy, and some will fall off, but do the best you can do. You will not need all of the crumble topping, but it freezes well for another time and trust me, when you taste these little gems, there will be another time). Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are well set and the topping is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before scooping off to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave for about 60 seconds. Stir until smooth. Drizzle decoratively over the tops of the cookies, across the streusel. Allow to set before storing in an airtight container.

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