I think by now we’ve established that indulgence is perfectly fine, even necessary, as long as it adheres to the golden rule of moderation. How boring would life be without chocolate, or cookies or sweets or, gasp, peanut butter? I don’t even want to think about it. However, there’s no denying that finding a balance can be difficult. I don’t know about you but there’s been many a time when I’ve wandered into the kitchen for one cookie/square of chocolate/spoonful of peanut butter (please tell me I’m not alone on this one folks) and overstayed my welcome. A while later I emerge cursing that I even I entered the kitchen, and vowing that next time I’ll have a stronger resolve. The whole “I’ll just have a little more”…”and a little more” ends up being an “oh heck, I’m here I’m might as well go the full hog”. So what if I told you there was a solution? And, even better, one that involves chocolate and cookies and sweets and, wait for it, peanut butter? Now we’re talking.
A week or two ago I was drooling all over my keyboard at the dreamy recipes round at Sally’s Baking Addiction. I envy that girl something mighty – producing the most wonderful treats, snapping away, jotting down a little something to accompany it…All. Day. Long. But jealousy aside, I came across a recipe that encapsulated the ‘restrained indulgence’ concept. Anyone fancy a Colossal Peanut Butter M&M Cookie? One the size of your hand? Not all for yourself, silly. That would defeat the purpose of moderation. This cookie is meant for sharing, whether it’s between two, three or four (any less than that and you may as well not even bother, after all it is indulgence we’re talking about). And voila! It’s gone, removing any chance of sneaking back for extra’s later on.
This cookie is simply ah-mazing. A soft cakey centre, enclosed in a crispy outer edge and not hyperactively sweet (add an extra tbsp. of sugar if you wish), with a pop of melt-in-your-mouth scrumptiousness from the M&Ms. I’ll guarantee you’ll be fighting over the crumbs, wishing to high heaven that you’d made two. But once the urge to shove more and more in your face resides – and believe it or not it does – you’ll be grateful you didn’t. There’ll be no disdaining voice in the back of your head, no food-baby and no dilemma about what to do with the leftovers. Go on treat yourself to a wedge of something special. No guilt-laden strings attached. Just pure cookie bliss.
Colossal Peanut Butter M&M Cookie
Makes one giant cookie. Serves 2-4.
2 tbsp margarine/unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp beaten egg (awkward, I know. Crack an egg, beat it & measure out 2 tbsp)
½ tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
6 tbsp whole wheat flour (you can use plain for a more refined texture)
¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp quick oats
4 tbsp M&Ms
1 scant tbsp. dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease a baking tray and line with greaseproof paper.
Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into a small bowl. Stir through the quick oats. Set aside.
In a large bowl beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg and vanilla and stir until well combined. Now beat in one tablespoon of the peanut butter, when it forms a smooth (apart from the peanut chunks) paste, beat in the second tablespoon until fully incorporated. Gently fold in the flour mixture. When almost combined, fold in the M&M’s. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gather the mixture in your hands, shaping gently to form a round ball. Place in the centre of the baking tray and press down on the top gently, so that it resembles one big (and about 3cm tall) cookie. Push the chocolate chips into the top and sides of the cookie.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown. Don’t fret if the cookie appears uncooked in the middle – it will firm up while it cools. Place the baking tray on a wire rack and leave to cool for 10 – 15 minutes. Remove the cookie from the baking tray with a rubber spatula and serve warm or allow to cool completely on the wire rack.
Source: Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.