Monday, December 15, 2008

Those skinny peanut wafers . . .

aren't half bad either. Just ask a certain unnamed boyfriend who managed to consume approximately (okay, exactly) 7 of them last night, both as a pre-dinner snack and as dessert. They didn't spread out as much as I expected them too, but their flavor is definitely reminiscent of peanut brittle (which I love and which I eat a lot of when I'm in India). I'd recommend putting as many nuts as will fit on top of the cookies. (I was too delicate with my peanut sprinkling, which is why I suggest this.) Maida Heatter recommended honey-roasted, but I wasn't crazy about the flavor of the ones I bought, and I like the extra bit of saltiness that the roasted peanuts add.

These were very easy to make and relatively speedy, especially compared to biscotti. (2 batches down and 1 to go for this week's biscotti needs. I have to blanch more almonds before I can make the next batch of biscotti, though, and I'm not looking forward to it. Would I rather blanch almonds or work on my quarterly proofing project? That's a good question. I think I need a cookie while I ponder. )

Skinny Peanut Wafers
from Maida Heatter's Brand New Book of Great Cookies

4 ounces (1 cup) salted peanuts
plus optional additional peanuts to use as topping
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sifted unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg graded "large"
2 tablespoons milk

Adjust an oven rack to the center of the oven (these will be baked only one sheet at a time). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If you have cookie sheets with only one raised rim, these are best for this recipe; otherwise, use any cookie sheet turned upside down. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil, shiny side up. (Do not use heavy-weight foil-the cookies won't bake well.) Set aside.

Place the 1 cup of peanuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade. Add a few tablespoons of the sugar (reserve remaining sugar). Briefly pulse the machine 10 times to chop the nuts into coarse pieces; some will be powdery, some coarse, some still whole-OK. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a small pan over moderate heat; set aside.

Sift together the flour and soda; set aside.

Place the egg, milk, melted butter, and the reserved sugar in the small bowl of an electric mixer and beat until mixed. Add the sifted dry ingredients and the chopped peanuts and beat again until mixed. Transfer to a shallow bowl for ease in handling.

Spray a foil-lined sheet with Pam or some other non-stick spray. (I used easy release tin foil, and it worked just fine.)

Place the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls (not heaping) on the prepared sheet, placing the mounds 3 inches apart (I place 6 on a 12 by 15-1/2 inch sheet). Try to keep the shapes neat. Top each cookie with a few of the optional peanuts, or with as many as you can fit on the top of each cookie.

Bake one sheet at a time. After 5 minutes, reverse the sheet front to back. The cookies will rise up, spread out, and then flatten into very thin wafers with bumpy tops; they will spread out to 3-1/2 to -4-1/2 inches in diameter. Total baking time is about 8 minutes. The cookies should bake until they are golden brown.

Remove from the oven. If the cookies have run into each other cut them apart immediately, while very hot. Cool on the sheet for a minute or two. Then slide the foil off the sheet. Let the cookies stand until they are firm enough to be removed. Then it will be easy to peel the foil away from the backs.

As soon as they are cool store in an airtight container.

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