Callie’s Cabin: Peanut butter cookies with a cool spin (recipe) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Callie’s Cabin: Peanut butter cookies with a cool spin (recipe)

Cal Orey
Callie’s Cabin

It's time. We're now entering a new month and soon a new season. That means it's almost time for baking. But we're taking it slowly, remember.

Why not bake a batch of peanut butter cookies and change it up a bit? As history tells it, criss-cross imprints made by using fork tines goes back to the early 20th century.

My mom told me pressing the cookie dough made it bake better. Perhaps it does but add-ons can make this classic cookie superb, mixing it up like late summer and pre-fall.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Sea salt caramel is a good trend and combining it with peanut butter — a superfood — is great. These flavors in ice cream or gelato are a favorite cold comfort food I've enjoyed in the summertime at the Lake; and peanut butter cookies are a fall-time treat that take me to South Shore's coffee and cookie shops.

These ingredients take me back to a special day…

Last fall one Sunday afternoon I sensed I'd win if I played the dollar slot machines. Indeed, I hit the jackpot. While waiting to cash out, my sibling had to go home and get my ID. (I didn't think I'd win 2,000 bucks.)

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The casino manager asked me if he could get me anything. I answered, "Water and a cookie." I was craving chill time during the excitement.

This casino-inspired recipe reminds me of that event so I included a bit of wow factor (sea salt and caramel) for you to enjoy.

PEANUT BUTTER CRISS-CROSS COOKIES (SEA SALT CARAMEL)

½ cup European style butter

1 cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup golden brown sugar

¼ cup white granulated sugar

2 brown eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ¾ all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups caramel chips (Ghirardelli)

Sea salt (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine softened European style butters, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients (flour and baking soda). Fold in chips.

Place dough in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On an ungreased cookie sheet or lined with parchment paper or foil, drop ice cream scoop (¼ cup size) onto sheet. Sprinkle with salt.

Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and cool. Makes about 15 cookies.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Serve with tea, gelato or ice cream and fresh summer strawberries.

One more thing: To make this the perfect treat, spread ice cream (the flavor of your choice, but vanilla or chocolate are good) on a cookie and make a peanut butter cookie sandwich to celebrate the change of seasons.

These cookies are easy to make. Not only do they smell flavorful with peanut butter and caramel but you can taste both in each bite.

The criss-cross marks will give you a classic peanut butter cookie and the caramel chips and sea salt brings you back to present-day fun food combos.

It's a winning chewy sweet and salty cookie to bite as we edge into off season and plunge into autumn.

Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, and Superfoods) published by Kensington. The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.