A warm welcome to delightful Betty Hechtman. Betty has a Christmas book out this year, YOU BETTER KNOT DIE. Isn't that the best title? It's also Betty's first hardback in her crocheting mystery series. Congratulations, Betty!
My original plan was to write about a recipe I considered, but didn’t include in You Better Knot Die, but when my family heard I was writing about food, which meant I’d be making what I wrote about, they talked me out of it. Instead, they thought I should write about making my giant chocolate chip cookie. They argued that it’s good for the holidays or really any day. They reminded me I have even stuck candles in it and made it into a birthday cake.
And then when I was shopping for chocolate chips at Trader Joe’s, my son showed me a container of mini peanut butter cups. Why not use those instead of chocolate chips? Hmm, milk chocolate and peanut butter. How could you go wrong?
My baking night finally arrived and at around 11 p.m., I was ready to start. I had the jelly roll pan buttered, the two sticks of butter were cut up in the bowl of my old (it’s avocado, if that’s any hint) Kitchenaide mixer. BTW, I love using it, instead of having to juggle things in one hand while holding a mixer in the other. But then I went to measure the sugar. White sugar, no problem. Brown sugar, the rock of Gibraltar. I tried chipping it with a spoon, which worked okay until I tasted it. Uck!
There’s nothing like a midnight trip to the grocery store. You get a weird crowd - except me, of course. On my way through the baking aisle, I passed an adult couple pushing one of those carts the store has for little kids. There were groceries in it, too. I kept seeing these two sixty-something guys with white hair. They were having a big discussion about ice cream. They ended up in front of me in line. They were buying a garish cake in the shape of a Santa Claus head and a quart of rum raisin ice cream. Visions of an upset stomach danced in my head.
Once I was home with the nice soft brown sugar, the mixing process went smoothly. I thought the mini peanut butter cups might be a little too rich, so instead of adding the whole 12 ounce container, I added half. (Traditional chocolate chip cookies call for 12 ounces of chocolate chips.)
Getting the batter in the jelly roll pan was no problem, but then it sat like a big mountain in the middle. I found the best way to spread out the batter was to lay a piece of wax paper over the whole baking pan and use my hands to push the batter all the way to the ends of pan.
The great part about making a giant cookie is that you just pop the pan in the oven. No endless in and out with cookie sheets. And you have the 20-25 minutes it takes to bake to clean up. I don’t know about anybody else, but I always end up with flour all over the place.
At last the moment of truth. I took the delicious smelling golden brown monster cookie out of the oven. I laid it on a rack to cool. But, hey, nobody in my house was going to leave it alone that long. We were on it, like white on rice. As fast as I could cut it into bars, they were disappearing. All agreed it was a yum, though my husband thought I used have used the whole 12 ounces of mini peanut butter cups. But then he likes everything really sweet.
I admit it, I had cookies for breakfast, but I don’t think they count because I went to the gym right afterwards.
2 sticks of unsalted butter, cut into slices
3/4 cup of white sugar
3/4 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
6-12 ounces of mini peanut butter cups (But if you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, Nestles make a mixture of chocolate and peanut butter chips that would probably have a similar effect.)
Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix the flour, salt and soda in a small bowl and gradually add to the butter, sugar, etc. mixture. Stir in the chopped nuts and mini peanut butter cups. Spread in a 15 inch X 10 inch jelly roll pan and bake in a oven preheated to 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until it’s golden brown. Cool the pan on a wire rack and cut into bars.
Betty Hechtman writes the national bestselling crochet mystery series. The latest release is You Better Knot Die. She lives in Southern California with her family and growing stash of yarn. For more information go to www.BettyHechtman.com.