Right around this time every year, I start thinking of recipes I can make for my extended family when we're all together over the July 4th holiday. Pies are always a given; cookies are always a must. So this year, I thought it would be fun to bake up some nostalgic favorites that the adults would fondly remember and the kids would just love because, hey, it's a sandwich cookie.
So where did I turn? Brandi Henderson's lovely blog: I Made That. If you're not familiar with Brandi's work, she writes about fantastic recipes that you're not necessarily seeing on every other food blog. Very refreshing. She's a skilled pastry chef, so many of the recipes she profiles tend towards the sweeter side; Nancy Silverton's homemade Nutter Butters are no exception. After a quick online search, I noticed a little controversy over the cookies. Tim from Lottie + Doof loved them while Adam from The Amateur Gourmet despised them, calling them "paste and sand." Now I was really curious.
So I'm back to report that I'm in the Brandi and Tim camp. These cookies aren't the most decadent, moist peanut butter cookie you'll ever have. They're a little more a cousin of a Pecan Sandy in terms of their crumbliness, but the simple peanut butter filling holds them together in this slightly salty, slighly sweet sandwich cookie magic. They beg for a glass of milk (in a good way), are easily portable, and are visually delightful. While I'm personally not sold on taking the time to toast the oats (seems that the flavor of the peanut butter overwhelms the slight toastiness you gain from taking the time to do so), these are definitely making their way into our holiday weekend.
In my version, I did use 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean for purely economic reasons and they turned out just fine. I also wanted smaller, taller sandwich cookies so I used a small teaspoon to scoop out balls of dough and only pushed them down ever so slightly onto the baking sheet. If you prefer a wider, flatter cookie, use a larger scoop or roll them out and cut with a cookie-cutter like Brandi does.
Get the Recipe: Homemade Nutter Butters from I Made That
(Image: Megan Gordon)