Wednesday, May 13, 2009

hyperbaking! (and pb cookies to the max)

I heard Jackie Newgent speak on Wisconsin Public Radio a week and a half ago. She talked about being a green cook. Much of what she said - for example: buy local, eat lots of fruits and veggies (less of a carbon footprint than meat processing) - I'd heard before, but then she mentioned "hypercooking." I listened in and learned.

Hypercooking & Hyperbaking
The idea is that you use as little energy as possible to cook or bake. (Watch TV and order out, ha ha). Hypercooking/baking works best with small things. So next time you cook pasta, bring the water to a boil, add the pasta, turn off the stove, and put a lid on it. I added a minute or two to cook time and drained. Perfect pasta! I used the same method when quick cooking my green beans. Even butterflying or pounding chicken breasts thin saves a bit of cooking energy.

I was doubtful about hyperbaking but tried it anyway. I baked three pans of cookies using this method and each turned out very well. In short: no preheating, turn the oven on when you place the cookies in the oven. I waited about five or seven minutes and then turned the oven off. I did not open the oven (resist the temptation - you'll lose heat) but left the pan in for another eight or ten minutes. You'll have to experiment with your own oven to find its balance. But it worked very well.

Check out Jackie's website, the Big Green Cookbook, and glean what you may.

Peanut Butter Cookies to the Max
This recipe is modified from my Mom's tried and true recipe and another peanut butter cookie recipe I found online.

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. peanut butter - creamy or crunchy
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped peanuts
1 c. dark chocolate pieces

1. Beat the butter for three or four minutes. (I do this but I don't think you really have to if you'd rather skip that step). Add sugars, egg, vanilla, and mix well.

2. Blend together flour, baking soda and powder, and salt. Add to the batter. (Or just dump it all in at once, like me).

3. Add chopped peanuts and chocolate. Chill dough for at least two hours.

4. Drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheet by teaspoon or tablespoon. (Oh the choices: eat more little cookies or just one or two big cookies). Don't bother smashing them flat. Bake at 375 for eight to ten minutes or, better yet, hyperbake as per above instructions.

Suggestions: The first few times I made these cookies I actually chopped a cup of peanuts using a paring knife. Near the end, I'd get more irritable by the nut. Justin suggested I throw all the peanuts in a ziplok and smash them with the flat side of my meat tenderizer. Which I did. Why didn't I think of that!? Also, because these cookies seem very sweet to me, I use dark dark dark chocolate. Like a mix of 70 and 85% dark. That might be too bitter for your tastes so do what you like best.


DC Running Mama said...

Oh man. Those cookies sound awesome!

Clare said...

umm... this would be dangerous for my pb addiction. wowzer!