One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

This is my fifth single-serving cookie recipe. Or fifth and sixth, if you want to get technical.

You see, when I set out to make One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, I had just planned to make it one way: the classic cross-hatched way. But then I realized that at least a few of you would ask “can I put chocolate chips in it?” so I got real wild and made a second version, and then I put them together in this one lone post. You’re welcome, super-small-batch cookie bakers of the internet.

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

This is yet another twist on the classic three ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe that has been around since long before it ever occurred to me that baking might scratch all my creative itches. You’d think a three ingredient recipe (1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 large egg) would be pretty difficult to manipulate more than once or twice, but I’ve managed it many times. This is my fifth (?) vegan variation, and as none contains any flour, they’re all gluten-free too.

The method here is simple. Use a fork to whisk together two tablespoons each of peanut butter and packed brown sugar. Add some cornstarch and water to bind, some salt for balance, and a teensy bit of baking soda for lift. Though baking soda cannot be replaced in most recipes, here you can swap baking powder in as the leavener with the only major difference being that your cookie will be a touch lighter in color.

This is where things get exciting (as far as cookie baking goes). You can either roll this dough into a ball, coat it in granulated sugar and crosshatch it with a fork, or you can mix in chocolate chips and flatten it slightly with the heel of your hand. You could even nix the sugar coating or use M&Ms as your mix-in! Do whatever makes your little dessert-for-one heart sing. However you choose to proceed, your cookie will need to bake for about 12 minutes in a 350F oven.

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

Once it’s cool enough to handle, your minimal effort will be rewarded with one of *the* peanut butteriest peanut butter cookies you’ve ever had. Sweet, salty, rich & thick, studded with chocolate or not, this is one hell of a dessert for one. Or…two…hells?

Who’s writing this thing?

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

Have a great weekend, y’all. Make yourself a cookie (or two).

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​
One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways
makes 1 large cookie, about 1-2 servings

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (not natural-style)
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/8 teaspoon baking soda*
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water

If making a classic peanut butter cookie:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for rolling (optional)

If making a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie:
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips + more for topping (use dairy-free for a vegan cookie)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together peanut butter and brown sugar. Add baking soda, salt, cornstarch and water, and whisk to combine. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to make sure your dough is fully combined.

If making a classic peanut butter cookie, place granulated sugar in a shallow dish. Use your hands to form dough into a ball, then gently roll the ball in the sugar to coat. Place on the prepared pan.

If making a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, use your silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in chocolate chips. Use your hands to form dough into a ball and place on prepared pan. Dot the top with more chocolate chips (for aesthetic purposes), if desired. Use the heel of your hand to press down gently on the dough, just so that the dough is a 1-inch thick puck.

For both cookie variations, bake for 12-13 minutes or until puffed and no longer raw-looking.

Let cookie cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes before using a spatula to remove it to a plate. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Note:

An equal volume of baking powder will work in place of baking soda. The cookie it produces will be a bit paler, but still delicious. I do not recommend swapping baking soda and baking powder in any other recipes.
One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

Snickerdoodle Squares

Snickerdoodle Squares

I try very hard to keep a baking schedule that allows me a full day off every week, but as with everything, there are exceptions. For example, a friend of mine had a fully-vaxxed get-together last weekend. You know I couldn’t show up empty-handed!

Snickerdoodle Squares

Enter these Snickerdoodle Squares, the perfect low-maintenance party treat. They have all the flavor and texture of classic, cinnamon-crusted Snickerdoodle cookies, but bake up in a square pan with limited fuss!

Snickerdoodle Squares

These soft, chewy squares are easy as can be, with slightly tangy sugar cookie centers and crisp cinnamon-sugar edges. The base is very similar to my favorite blondie recipe, with the biggest deviation being the additions of baking powder and cream of tartar for a more cookie-like texture. It’s an easy, no-mixer batter that requires few ingredients and almost no time to whip together.

Heads up: there is no substitute for cream of tartar—it is a classic snickerdoodle ingredient that gives these squares that signature tang. If you don’t have any on hand, you can leave it out without any major consequences, but the flavor will be a bit less snickerdoodly. Snickerdoodlesque?

Now onto the main event: the cinnamon sugar! You simply can’t have a snickerdoodle without cinnamon sugar—it’s basically the whole point. Here, it’s scattered in the bottom of the buttered pan before being topped with the batter and more cinnamon sugar. As the squares bake, the top layer expands and cracks with the batter, while the bottom layer melts and caramelizes. After the squares cool completely in their pan, that bottom layer will be extra-crispy, like a thin layer of cinnamon sugar glass against all that cookie square goodness! Textural diversity for the win.

Snickerdoodle Squares

Y’all, these Snickerdoodle Squares are as satisfying as they are simple. All the flavor and texture of a perfect, soft snickerdoodle and half the work! The combination of the crunchy, crystalline cinnamon sugar on the top, the crackling-crisp layer on the bottom, and the thick, chewy centers is irresistible. I, for one, will be hauling these to every picnic, party and anything else I’m invited to this summer, and I have an inkling you will be, too.

Snickerdoodle Squares
Snickerdoodle Squares
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan, about 16 squares

Cinnamon Sugar:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Batter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan well with butter. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for removal. Grease again.

Make cinnamon sugar. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together sugar and cinnamon.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar in the bottom of the prepared pan. Tilt the pan around to coat the bottom. Set aside both the pan and the remaining cinnamon sugar.

Make the batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, granulated sugar and light brown sugar. Mix in the egg, followed by the vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt, and whisk just until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to gently spread it to the edges, covering the layer of cinnamon sugar. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar over the top, taking care to get all the way to the edges. Tap full pan on the counter a couple of times to knock out any large air bubbles.

Bake squares for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs (not wet batter). Let squares cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Once cooled, use the parchment overhang to lift the bars onto a cutting board. Discard parchment. Slice into 16 squares with a large, sharp chef’s knife. Serve.

Leftovers will keep well covered at room temperature for up to four days.
Snickerdoodle Squares
Snickerdoodle Squares

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Fresh sweet cherries are one of my absolute favorite summer fruits, but they sure don’t last very long! Buy a bag too early and they taste like chlorine; too late and they’re mush. But right now? Right this minute? They’re perfect! Sweet and pretty and perfect for eating on their own or adding to your summer bakes. Here are all my favorite sweet cherry recipes from the archives.

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherry Shortbread Bars

Like cherry pie but less than half the work, these shortbread bars are a summer staple around here. These are so simple—think fresh cherry pie filling sandwiched between two layers of shortbread. They’re sooo good, but if you want to turn up the volume…

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherry Cheesecake Bars

…you can add in a layer of cheesecake! Cherries and cheesecake are a classic match, especially when they’re paired with shortbread crust. Mmhmm.

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble

Are you sensing a theme? Because I am! Sweet cherries and buttery cookie anything are absolute magic together. Here, sweet cherry pie filling is topped with a boatload of crumbled sugar cookie dough, then baked until brown, bubbly and screaming for ice cream.

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherry Rhubarb Galette

Rhubarb isn’t just for strawberries anymore! Here it’s paired with sweet cherries, wrapped in homemade pie dough and baked until golden. This galette is sweet, tart, and perfect for any summer get-together.

Friday Favorites: Sweet Cherries

Sweet Cherry Turnovers

I love a cherry turnover! As with so many other recipes on this list, the combination of sweet cherries and butter(-y pastry) are what makes these rustic little hand pies so irresistible. These are a summertime must-make.

Have you made these or any of my other sweet cherry recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Strawberry Lemon Bars

Strawberry Lemon Bars

I feel like I’ve been throwing freeze-dried strawberries in everything lately, but who can blame me? They’re pretty readily available at your local Target or Trader Joe’s, are consistently tasty, and can be eaten as a snack or pulverized into powder and tossed into anything that you wish to look and taste like summer. You know, like these Strawberry Lemon Bars.

Strawberry Lemon Bars

These are simply Lemon Bars with two tablespoons of pulverized strawberry powder in the filling and a tiny bit more in the confectioner’s sugar topping. Seriously, that’s it—no other changes. Easy peasy.

The primary flavor here is lemon, but there’s just a *little* hint of strawberry—think something akin to pink lemonade. It’s a subtle thing, to be sure, but it’s there and it’s delicious.

Strawberry Lemon Bars

The color, as you can see is anything but subtle. It’s bright as can be, in fact, and I totally dig it. I mean, why make another batch of regular old lemon bars when you can add one ingredient and get to show up to the party/picnic/cookout/your couch with these gems? I think we can call agree that pink, summery desserts just taste better.

Strawberry Lemon Bars
Strawberry Lemon Bars
makes 16 bars

Shortbread Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes

Strawberry Lemon Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
2 tablespoons pulverized freeze-dried strawberries, from about 1/2 cup pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 3 medium lemons
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 drop red food coloring (optional)

Topping:
3-4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pulverized freeze-dried strawberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with parchment or aluminum foil, leaving overhang on two sides for removal. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the shortbread crust. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Mixture will be very crumbly and dry. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and use your fingertips to press it into one even layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, lemon zest and pulverized strawberry powder. Use your fingertips to rub zest and powder into sugar until combined. Mix in all-purpose flour and salt. Whisk in lemon juice, followed by eggs and egg yolk, and melted butter. Add food coloring, if using. Mixture will be thin.

Pour filling over the shortbread crust. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until center is set. Let cool completely on a rack before chilling for at least four hours.

Use the foil overhang to remove bars from the pan to a cutting board. Peel parchment (or foil) from the edges. Use a large, sharp chef's knife to slice bars.

In a small bowl, stir together confectioner’s sugar and pulverized strawberry powder. Sift confectioner's sugar over the tops of the bars before serving.

Serve bars immediately or refrigerate for up to three days. Confectioner’s sugar will degrade over time—this can be remedied by sifting more over the tops.
Strawberry Lemon Bars
Strawberry Lemon Bars
Strawberry Lemon Bars

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

My birthday is tomorrow, so let’s talk birthday cake! From elaborate layer cakes to ice cream cakes to marble cupcakes to cookie cakes, the cake you choose to have at your birthday celebration is highly personal. Some people have the same thing every year. Others, myself included, like to change it up. No matter which camp you fall into, I have loads of cake recipes for you in my archives. Here are some of my absolute favorites.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}

While feeling homesick on my birthday last year, I decided to recreate a Swiss-style Black Forest Cake that is hugely popular in my hometown. You won’t find any cherries or chocolate cake here, just layers of airy almond dacquoise, whipped cream and dark chocolate. It also happens to be naturally gluten-free and so, so good. I’ll be having the real deal for my birthday this year (lucky me!), but this homemade version hits the spot if you’re not near Fort Worth, Texas.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake

Who doesn’t love ice cream cake? This one is simple as can be, starting with sandwiching mint chocolate chip ice cream with two layers of chocolate cake, then finishing it with whipped cream and anything else you like! Feel free to change up the ice cream flavor or just use this as a template and change the recipe completely. There is no wrong way to ice cream cake.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Funfetti Cookie Cupcakes

When I was a kid, all the best birthday parties involved cookie cake. The same is true as an adult. I have Brown Butter Chocolate Chip, Chocolate M&Ms and Red Velvet Cookie Cakes in my archives, but this almost-36 year-old could really go for these colorful, miniature Funfetti Cookie Cupcakes right now!

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes

We all know a red velvet person. I usually save it for Oscar Night, but I think these Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes would fit the bill for birthdays too!

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake is a thing to behold. Made with all vegan, gluten-free ingredients and stacked tall with vegan chocolate buttercream, it might just surprise you and become a favorite.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Something about Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting screams “birthday” to so many people. Mine is made with very good things like sour cream and brown sugar, mixed using the reverse creaming method, and finished with an irresistible chocolate frosting.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

Not quite ready to start celebrating with larger groups yet? A mini layer cake might be the perfect solution! This tutorial has everything you need to make a birthday cake for 4-6 people.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

M&Ms Surprise Cake

This is the cake for that person in your life who’s a little extra. The one who likes all the bells and whistles and would enjoy slicing into a cake full of candy—this cake is for that person. Also? Hi, I’m that person.

Have you made these or any of my other chocolate chip treats? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​