Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Espresso Nib Peanut Butter Cookies

LESLIE: When I was working on As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles, I came across a recipe for peanut butter cookies using Spicy Thai peanut butter, and got a serious urge for it. Alas, no spiced peanut butters were available in local groceries, and I wasn’t sure how to flavor a jar myself.

The next summer, during my book launch trip to Seattle, my BFF and I explored Big John’s, a wholesaler to local restaurants that is also open to the public. There we spotted black chickpeas from Washington’s Palouse country, Camargue red rice from France, and all manner of staples and treats from around the world.

And Eliot’s Adult Nut Butters, the brand featured in the recipe I’d seen months earlier. But I was flying and didn’t think peanut butter in the checked bag would pass TSA scrutiny — heck, are you kidding? What TSA agent wouldn’t want to confiscate a jar of this stuff and take it home?

So later that fall, when BFF and her Mr. Right visited us, by car, she brought me a jar of Honey Chipotle Peanut Butter. And last Christmas, she sent me a jar of Espresso Nib peanut butter, flavored with a hint of espresso and tiny bits of cocoa nibs, its own cookie recipe on the label.

So good. So very, very good, especially with a cup of coffee.

You can make this with any flavored nut butter—I’m beginning to see other varieties around, mainly in specialty groceries. We never have managed to try the Spicy Thai version. Almost worth a drive to Seattle!

Espresso Nib Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup Espresso Nib peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-3/4 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Stir in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. In a separate small bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture until thoroughly combine.

Shape the dough into one-inch balls and place on your baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Dip a fork into flour and lightly press the balls, turning the fork to make a cris-cross pattern. (Press lightly—your goal is to flatten the balls slightly, so they bake evenly, not to crush them.)

Bake 18-20 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen. They freeze well.

From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books, June 2019): 

 Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. 

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," is nominated for the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

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  1. Espresso Nib peanut butter sound so delicious -- I'll have to try to find some1 Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. That espresso peanut butter sounds amazing! I may need to experiment to make some of my own. I love nut butters but they can be so expensive! Worth it, but outside our household nut butter budget. Thanks for sharing your recipe, Leslie! I'll have to give these a try.

    1. You know, I think it would be pretty easy to replicate the flavored peanut butter, doing the "grind your own" thing at the natural foods store and adding some nibs and a teeny bit of espresso or espresso powder. It is possible to grind your own nut butter at home with a powerful machine -- I tried it with almonds and it was almost too much for my Kitchen Aid blender, but it did work. At least the trial and error would be tasty!

  3. The spicy Thai peanut butter would make a great sauce for a veggie noodle bowl!

    1. It sure would! We used some of the honey chipotle in making sesame noodles and it was terrific!

  4. I have a weakness for peanut butter cookies, this looks like a fun updated flavors kind of iteration. Have never tried cocoa nibs but have seen them when reading recipes. Must branch out with the fun flavors of peanut butter now available.

    1. I'm trying to make a joke combining Bon Appetit and peanut butter and it isn't working, but I know you'll have tasty fun!