They make 4 varieties of almond butter (chocolate, honey, maple and classic), 3 varieties of peanut butter (chocolate, honey and classic), and chocolate hazelnut butter ... oh, my! I had mentioned in my rant that the only natural peanut butter that I consider to be edible is Koeze's, made in Michigan's own Grand Rapids. It was good to know -- and from a most trusted source -- that there might be other options.
Well ... that had all the makings of a peanut butter battle, didn't it??? I emailed Angela and proposed our own little mini Foodie Exchange: a jar of Koeze's for a jar of Justin's, to which she happily agreed. This was less for the sake of competition and more for the sake of being a couple of happy gourmandes who would try almost anything once, so why not try something as luscious as a new brand of peanut butter???
Jeremy was so excited when our box from Angela came that he called me at work; I could hardly wait to get home to try it. Of course, it arrived on a day when I got out of work late, rushed around, then had to leave for the evening. But in addition to a large jar of the chocolate hazelnut butter, Angela had also sent totable packets of honey, maple and chocolate peanut butters which I brought to Tom's. He is a devoted worshiper of peanut butter, so he was thrilled to receive tastes of these treats.
We immediately opened the chocolate peanut butter, which was unbelievably rich and creamy and chocolatey; it had hints of Nutella which, as we all know, is one of the most perfect foods in the universe. Tom thought it would be wonderful drizzled over apples, with classic peanut butter tossed into that mix as well. Personally, I thought it was a thing of supreme beauty just eaten off a fingertip.
Then Jeremy told me that the mom of one of his good friends is having a surgical procedure done today, so I plan to make a dinner to send over to the house. And, of course, cookies are supreme comfort food in times of stress, right??? So why not make a batch to send along with the meal? And, given that I had a new ingredient to play with, why not incorporate it into the batter?
So I took my basic peanut butter cookie recipe, but used only half the traditional peanut butter; the other half was Justin's chocolate hazelnut spread. I threw in some chocolate chips simply because they can do no wrong, especially in a chocolate cookie. Et, voila!
I still love my Koeze's peanut butter dearly, and would never forsake it. But I do have to admit that Justin's is an amazing product! Frankly, it's so good that I wrote to Angela and said that Tom and I might just fall out of love with each other and in love with the chocolate peanut butter. Well, not quite! But ....
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Koeze's smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and brown sugar. Mix in egg, peanut butter, chocolate hazelnut butter, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Stir in flour and chocolate chips.
Form 1" balls of dough and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are just set. Let cool on a rack.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.