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October 12, 2010

Roasted unsalted peanuts (Recipe: sweet and salty peanut chocolate chunk cookies)

Saltedpeanutchocolatecookies1

One surprising thing to know about roasted unsalted peanuts:

Peanuts are not nuts. Really, they're not. They are legumes (like beans or peas) grown on a trailing bush, which explains why they often are called groundnuts. Roasted unsalted peanuts (I buy mine at Trader Joe's) come peeled and ready to use, often after a quick chop with a heavy chef's knife or Chinese cleaver, or ready to eat right from the package. If you're planning to cook or bake with peanuts, never ever buy salted nuts, which are far too salty for anything except eating with a cold beer at your side.

Because peanuts are not nuts, people allergic to tree nuts sometimes can tolerate peanuts. People with peanut allergies, however, need to be especially vigilant, as many foods are processed in plants that also process peanuts, and while some products contain advisory labeling, the US Food and Drug Administration does not require it.

Cooking or baking?
Both. Peanuts add crunch to noodle dishes and cake batters alike.

Storage:
In the cupboard, in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. The oil in peanuts will cause them to turn rancid if not stored properly. If you're not going to use them right away, peanuts will be happy in the freezer for up to one year.

Pantry ingredients in this recipe:
Roasted unsalted peanuts (more facts and ingredient photo)
Sea salt
Pure vanilla extract
Baking soda
Brown sugar


Salted peanut chocolate cookies

Sweet and salty peanut chocolate chunk cookies

The words "quick" and "baking", when used together, are music to my bake-o-phobic ears. This recipe, from Cooking Light Quick Baking, a magazine special on newsstands now, took just minutes to make, and everyone who's tasted the cookies (which I made twice in the past week) has taken just minutes to consume the entire batch. Though peanuts and chocolate are a classic combination, it's the sea salt that takes these cookies to a whole new place. If you prefer cashews, pecans or macadamias, feel free to substitute for the peanuts. Makes 18-30 cookies.

Ingredients

1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with Silpats (silicone mats) or parchment paper, and set aside.

Place nuts in a small baking pan, and set in the oven for 8 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven, and let cool while you keep working. (I lined my small pan with aluminum foil, and removed the foil with the nuts so they'd cool more quickly out of the pan.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.

In the bowl of a Kitchenaid-type stand mixer, beat the sugars and butter at medium speed until well blended (2 minutes). Add vanilla and egg, and beat on low speed until well blended. On low speed, stir in the flour mixture, peanuts, chocolate chips and sea salt.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets, or use a disher (an ince cream scoop with a release). Depending on the size of the spoon or disher, you'll get 18-30 cookies. (I used a teaspoon, which made 24 cookies.)

Bake for 11 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Cool cookies on the pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Tofu with peanut sauce
Kartoom croquettes
Asparagus, pepper and peanut soba
Espresso nut cookies
Maple nut cookies

More recipes on Soup Chick:
Mulligatawny soup with chicken

Other recipes that use roasted unsalted peanuts:
Roasted eggplant with chiles, peanuts and mint, from Recipegirl.com
Tin roof ice cream, from Brown Eyed Baker
Cabbage and lime salad with roasted peanuts, from Smitten Kitchen
Malaysian satay peanut sauce, from Rasa Malaysia
African tomato and peanut soup with sweet potato and chickpeas, from Cookin' Canuck

Comments

Wow this looks good I had to stop in and tell youo personally. Keep up the great work I love to cook.

These sound delicious Lydia. I grew up near a peanut farm in Southern Ontario so have probably had them roasted in every way imaginable.

These are the best cookies ever. We've made them three times now and they've disappeared every time.

OMG, it's almost that time of the year again when cookies and baked goods will flood our kitchens. I'll start by bookmarking this recipe, peanut cookies are one of my favorite.

I'm surprised to see that peanuts are grown in Southern Ontario. I tried growing them once, foolishly. Here's what you need: http://www.aboutpeanuts.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=69&Itemid=32

I haven't made some cookies for a long time. I am so excited for this one. Something new and delicious.

Dsheray, thanks so much.

Bellini Valli, I never think of peanut farms in Ontario. I imagine that's very beautiful country.

Rupert, these cookies really are too good, aren't they? I think we need a cookie time-out!

Ben, the salt with the peanuts and chocolate makes these cookies so good. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

Susan, I never think of growing peanuts here in New England, either! Thanks for the link -- way too much work for me.

DT, hope you like them.

STOP I can't take any more - They look too good! This will officially kick off an "OCD" attack of peanuts. Now I will need to eat everything with peanuts!! Yumm!

Those look absolutely delicious. I have lost count of all the chocolate chip cookie recipes I have tried, but I am definitely adding this one to the list!

By the way, while I agree that one should only use salted peanuts when baking as a deliberate choice, they can add a wonderful salty twist to chocolate. Dorie Greenspan (whom I admire greatly) calls for them in several recipes in "Baking: From my home to yours," including her Chocolate Chunkers: http://doriegreenspan.com/print/2009/03/chocolate-chunkers-the-cookies-that-didnt-get-me-fired.html

Carol, beware, these cookies are truly addictive!

Judy, I feel about salted peanuts the way I feel about salted butter: I'd rather control the salt myself, so I start with the unsalted product and add salt to taste. (And I adore Dorie, too.)

Love, love, love peanuts and chocolate... so these cookies are going straight into the "must try" file. Of course, I also have to figure out how to keep my hubby out of the peanuts until I can make them! ;)

Can salted peanuts be substituted for unsalted tree nuts in a recipe that contains cool whip and chocolate pudding? I used salted peanuts rather than unsalted walnuts and the pudding and cool whip did not set properly. I could not cut the dessert into squares but had to spoon it into dishes.
Thanks

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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