The Way The Peanut Butter Cookie Crumbled


It would seem that I’ve been having a short slue of serendipitous mishaps in my kitchen lately.
First I have the uncheesecake pops from the Daring Bakers challenge and now I have crumbly peanut butter cookies.

After a craving and an urge of inspiration from seeing a jarful of banana jam, I wanted to make thumbprint cookies. My first batch of cookies were pretty good but with a cup of oatmeal they lost the peanut butter Pow! and were mostly just oatmeal cookies with a sinkhole of banana in the center. A cookie I’d try again, but just not for this…

Next, I stuck clear of the oats and stayed traditional. I pretty much mimicked my Nana’s peanut butter cookie recipe. (You know the ones with the fork or potato masher prints?) To veganize, I just left out the egg and added a drop of soy milk. No matter how I’d mixed the batter it was dry. I added another tablespoon of milk, then another… and another. I managed to shape them into balls to get into the fridge but there was no way I would be getting a potato masher anywhere near these things. I flattened and shaped a trays worth by hand and watched the edges crack as I squished my thumb into the middle to get the jam blob in.

The results were creamy, peanut-buttery but d-r-y. Certainly not a satisfying cookie. As the jar runnith empty, I was getting tired of inventing new disasters to eat. Then it donned on me that these were good for about one thing – and no, not wanting to waste everything, it wasn’t the compost. These crusty, crumbly cookies were just that, crust and with combined with something even creamier, a potentially perfect dessert base.

Given that mini tart pans make for a great finished dessert, these looked almost like they came from the bakery with little to no effort. Of course, if you don’t have the pans, I’m sure you could go larger into a pie dish. Of anything I’ve learned lately is to just go with the flow, because you might just end up with something pretty great where you least expected it.

CRUMBLY PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE CRUST

1/3 Cup Margarine (or Butter)
1/2 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 1/3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Soy Milk

Cream the margarine and sugar.
Add peanut butter and vanilla mixing well to combine.
Add the baking powder and salt followed by half of the flour.
Combine the soy milk then add the remaining flour.
Refrigerate for about one hour, or freeze for later use after shaping into a disk and wrapping well.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Break off walnut sized pieces, flattening as best as possible and press into tart pans.
Bake for 10-12 minutes cooling completely before filling.

Fill with vegan caramel 1/2 way up the sides and top with an even layer of walnut halves.
Melt a semi-sweet or dark chocolate in a double boiler or in a heat safe bowl over simmering water until smooth.
Pipe or drizzle chocolate over top of the nuts and lightly sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Chill until ready to serve.

Walnut Crumb Banana Muffins


Upon noticing an onslaught of bananas in my frozen hoard and an indecent craving for sweet comfort food, (like I haven’t been eating enough of that lately) I hit my freezer stash and thawed a few bananas.

Even though they go against a local market movement, they were light, sweet and deceivingly healthy (ish). The candied walnuts further pushed these banana muffins to almost gourmet status.

Well, you be the judge:


BANANA MUFFINS

3 Ripe Bananas
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

WALNUT CRUMB TOPPING

1/2 Cup Walnut Halves or Pieces
1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Margarine
1/8 teaspoon Salt

Preheat the oven to 350º.
Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.
With a fork, mash the bananas in a large bowl.
Add the oil, brown sugar, vanilla and salt; mix well.
Once well combined, add the sifted flour in batches, mixing only to moisten.
Line cooking tin with muffin papers and add enough batter to fill them 2/3 up.

In a small bowl, melt 1 tablespoon of the topping margarine. Toss the walnuts in the melted margarine, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar to coat evenly; set aside.
Combine the remaining margarine and brown sugar with the flour,oats and salt. Mix completely with a fork.
Add spoonfuls of the topping to the waiting muffin batter and top evenly with a few of the sugared walnut pieces.

Bake at 350º on the centre rack for 18 minutes, until firm and golden or insert and remove a toothpick. The muffins are moist but it should come out fairly clean.
Allow muffins to rest in the tin before moving to a rack to cool.

Makes about 10 -12 muffins.

Cindy over at Where’s the Beef tried them out, giving some really great play by play photos along the way!