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Man-Happy Cookies

Whenever I pull out my mixer and measuring cups, my husband will eagerly chirp, “Oooh, what are you baking?”

If I answer “lemon-grapefruit-kumquat coconut bars” or “cardamom-nutmeg-pine nut chewies” or anything else a little exotic, he’ll sigh dejectedly.

“Oh,” he’ll fret. Then add, “How about chocolate-chip or peanut butter instead?”

You see, besides his nickname of Meat Boy, he’s also known in our house as Basic Boy.

Sure, he likes his fancy four-star dinners at swank restaurants. But after awhile, he’s craving the simpler tastes in life. A good burger or — dare I say it — Taco Bell.

Like many men that I know, he’s also a milk chocolate lover. He much prefers that to the dark, earthy, slightly bitter, dark variety I can’t get enough of.

So when I spied this recipe for “Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate” in the “Baked” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) cookbook by Brooklyn bakery owners Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, I thought I’d give it a try.

Unlike other peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I’ve made, this one calls for milk chocolate, coarsely chopped from a bar, rather than milk chocolate chips. So instead of a peanut butter cookie studded with milk chocolate chips you get a cookie that’s a little like a melted Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. As the cookies bake, some of the milk chocolate melts into the peanut butter batter, creating chewy cookies that are swirled throughout with nutty and chocolatey goodness.

The recipe calls for sprinkling the cookies with granulated sugar before baking to give them an even sweeter note. When I make this recipe again — and I will — I think I’ll skip the last bit of sugar since I rather enjoy a more salty-sweet interplay.

And the next time my hubby asks if I can make chocolate-chip or peanut-butter cookies, I have the perfect response:

“Why not both?”

Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chunks

(Makes 24 cookies)

1 3/4  cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup creamy peanut butter

6 ounces good milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars together until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. The mixture will look light and fluffy. Add vanilla and peanut butter and beat until just incorporated.

Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add remaining flour mixture and mix until incorporated.

Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in chocolate. Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. With palm of your hand, very gently press each cookie down so it forms a very tall disk shape. Do not press too hard and do not press it flat.

Sprinkle tops of cookies with granulated sugar and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time, until tops of cookies just begin to brown.

Remove pan from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer individual cookies to the rack to cook completely (although they are also delicious warm).

The cookies can be stored, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

From “Baked”

More from “Baked”: Root Beer Bundt Cake

More Still from “Baked”: Nutella Scones

More Peanut Butter Goodness:
PB&J Cupcakes From Martha Stewart