Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lana's Blue Ribbon Peanut Butter Cookies

I have searched high and low for the perfect peanut butter cookie. You know the cookie that is crispy on the exterior, chewy on the interior. The one that tastes of peanut butter. I've tried dozens of recipes, only to be disappointed. All the recipes I tried were lacking in the peanut butter flavor department. Even the recipe that is mainly peanut butter and no flour. It uses a lot of peanut butter and yields a small amount of cookies. What I disliked about the no flour recipe is that the dough was too greasy. I gave up, then decided to make my own. Boy am I happy I did! I now have the perfect Peanut Butter Cookie recipe. So perfect, in fact, that these cookies won a blue ribbon at our local fair!

I start by grinding peanuts, in a food chopper.

Then stirring in flour, baking soda and salt.

This mixture gets set aside, while I prep the peanut butter base.

The butter, sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter are mixed thoroughly. Then an egg is mixed in.

Flour is incorporated, in batches.

The dough is turned out, on a clean working surface, then kneaded a few times, to form a large ball.

I like to portion the dough, using a cookie scoop.

This recipe yields 65 cookies, using a 1 ounce scoop.

Since the dough is kind of dry, I knead it into the palm of my hand, then shape it into a disk. The discs are placed on a cookie sheet, a few inches apart.

For the traditional criss cross design, press a fork, vertically, into the flattened cookie dough.

Then press the cookies, horizontally.

Leave cookies plain, or sprinkle with sugar or flaked sea salt. I didn't have flaked sea salt, so I used crushed sea salt.

Bake in a 350, preheated, oven for 12 minutes.

Ahhh, perfect Peanut Butter Cookies. Crispy, chewy, peanutbuttery!


1 Cup dry roasted peanuts                                                           
2 ½ Cups all-purpose flour                                                        
1 Teaspoon baking soda                                                               
½ Teaspoon salt                                                                           
1 Cup butter                                                                                     
1 Cup sugar                                                                                      
1 Cup brown sugar
1 ½ Cups peanut butter
1 Egg

Optional toppings: flaked sea salt, sugar, chocolate, candy

Grind peanuts in a mini food processor. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Combine peanuts, flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugars and peanut butter, until smooth. Beat in egg. Add flour to peanut butter mixture, working in 3 batches. Remove dough from mixer and knead, a few times, on a clean work surface. Use a 1 ounce cookie scoop to portion dough. Since dough is dry, you will need to shape cookies into a disc shape, using your hands. Place cookies on a cookie sheet, spaced 2 inches apart. Press dough with a fork, vertically, then horizontally. Sprinkle with sea salt, or sugar, if desired. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Makes 65 cookies.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pork Chile Verde Base

Pork Chile Verde has to be my all time favorite recipe. I've tried lots of Chile Verde in Mexican restaurants. I am usually disappointed. The general problem is the broth is watered down, as are the ingredients. After lots of experimenting, I would have to say, "I've got this!"

I start with the perfect blend of fresh ingredients: milperos (tiny) tomatillos, pasilla pepper, jalapeno, yellow bell peppers, green bell peppers, yellow onion, red onion and garlic. The vegetables are drizzled in olive oil, then seasoned with salt and pepper. They are roasted at 400 degrees for one hour. *Try to find the milperos tomatillos, they are less tart than the standard size tomatillos.

While the vegetables are still warm I process everything through the food mill.

Then I strain the verde sauce through a fine mesh strainer.
These are the discards from a double batch of chile verde. Some recipes call for blending ingredients. I take the extra steps because I want a smooth sauce, with minimal seeds.

This is the sauce that has been processed and strained. It is definitely worth the effort, and is why you won't find chile verde sauce like this in your local Mexican restaurant! I recommend you double or triple the vegetable base of this recipe and freeze batches for future use.

4 Pounds milperos (tiny) tomatillos
3 Pasilla peppers
6 Large Jalapeno peppers
2 Yellow bell peppers
2 Green bell peppers
1 Small yellow onion
1 Large red onion
1 Head garlic
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Teaspoon pepper
1 Teaspoon sea salt

Prepare vegetables for roasting by cutting the peppers in half and laying cut side down on a baking tray. Peel onions; cut in quarters and lay on a baking tray. To prepare the garlic head: cut across the top of the head of garlic, to reveal the cloves. Layer vegetables onto baking trays. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for one hour. While vegetables are still warm, process, using a food mill. Strain verde sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove remaining seeds. Use as a base for Pork Chile Verde. Makes 5 cups. (enough for 2 recipes). Base can be divided and stored in the freezer.