Today I would like to discus a book. It’s a book that is totally unrelated to this post but I just really wanted to talk about how amazing it is! It’s one I’ve read before and have just come back to again to re-experience it and hopefully see it through new eyes. That book is Shantaram.
I read it the first time after we came back from India and I just found it so evocative of the sights, smells and culture that you experience every minute you spend there. India is such an amazing country – within minutes of walking down the street you go from baffled, upset, angry, elated and pure happiness and back again. This book captures all that and does it in midst of a amazing story!
Not to go into to much detail but the main character is no saint, and really non are any of the character’s, but that’s what makes it such a great read as well as what makes them so likable. It looks at the seedy underside of India, the criminals, the drug trade and the slums seen through the eyes of a character already on the run from prison. But through all that the thing that really shines through is humanity – at both it’s best and worst – something which in it’s self sums up India.
It’s a book I would encourage anyone to read, whether or not you have been to India, or for that matter any other country. It’s a book you can really immerse yourself in and won’t want to put down. Something which is definitely a plus as it’s over a thousand pages long! But read it, enjoy it, and I hope like me it makes you see your world in a slightly new light!
Now the real point of this post!
These cookies are as all American as they come! No ifs, no buts, no apologies! One thing I should admit to any American readers out there is that I’m not a fan of peanut butter(I know! Don’t hate me!). Don’t get me wrong I like the taste, but it’s something in the texture I just can’t get away with in a sandwich or on toast. But recently I’ve discovered Reese’s peanut butter cups, which I am now somewhat addicted to!
Because of this I’ve kind of discovered baking with peanut butter as an alternative to just eating it. That way I get to appreciate the flavour without being put off by the texture! These cookies are crumbly, salty sweet and deliciously moreish. I used miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups – if you struggle to find them (they can be tricky to track down here in the UK) you could always just use chocolate chunks as the cookie dough has peanut butter in anyway. But I do really think the Reese’s add something special when combined with the salty, crunchy pretzels! I used a smooth peanut butter for the batter but use whatever you’ve got – I’ve not tested the recipe with crunchy but if that’s your preference go for it!
Just a note on cooking these cookies don’t spread much and they don’t colour much so don’t panic if they don’t look done. Pat the down well before you put them in the oven and trust the cooking time! On standing they will firm up and become deliciously crumbly!
I’ve adapted this recipe from the lovely blog The Novice Chef.
Peanut Butter and Pretzel Cookies:
245g Plain Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
115g Butter – Softened
100g Caster Sugar
110g Brown Sugar
190g Peanut Butter
1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste (or extract)
5.3 oz Bag of Reese’s Pieces Minatures – Each chopped into quarters
50g Pretzels – chopped into pieces
Oven 180C/350F/Gas 4
Cream together the butter, both sugars and peanut butter with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla paste.
Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Beat it into the butter mixture a little at a time until a dough forms. Add in the peanut butter cups and pretzels and bring the dough together, incorporating the cups and pretzels with your hands.
Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper. Roll the mixture into balls of about walnut size (about 2 tablespoons). Place them on the baking paper and press them to flatten them down well – you should end up with about 10-12 cookies.
Place them on the second shelf in the oven and cook for 12 minutes. They won’t spread or colour much but they will be slightly born round the edges when they are done.
Leave on the baking sheet for 15 minutes before removing.