Friday, February 1, 2013

A Small Batch of Naughty

Since we've moved to Seattle, I've taken up a tiny bit of snowshoeing. I found a pair of snowshoes in the clearance bin of a Tennessee TJ Maxx, so I flew across the country with them wedged in my suitcase. 
I'm not a natural athlete, and I only love hiking when the elevation gain starts to reward me with a view, but something about snowshoeing syncs with me. It's slow and quiet progress that's a great workout too.
My newfound love with this might have something to do with the guilt-free refuel that follows. After a few hours of clomping through the snow, I'll do serious work on a basket of chips and salsa. No burrito is safe around me!

Some days, though, only chocolate will do. Even if I haven't burned 800 calories, and even if I already had a muffin for breakfast, I need chocolate. I need chewy intense chocolate, studded with peanut butter chips, and--because when it comes to cookies, I usually can't leave well enough alone--dusted with sea salt. Made with Greek yogurt (added protein!), a judicious amount of butter, and cocoa (a great way to get intense chocolate flavor without all the fat of chocolate), these cookies are a great way to get my fix without overdoing the naughty stuff. This recipe makes a small batch, too, so I can't go TOO crazy before there are no cookies left.
In addition to hitting all the right craving spots, these are dangerously easy to whip up. There's no creaming the butter and sugar! Don't drag out the 20-pound stand mixer! Just melt some butter, add sugars, sift in the cocoa (or not, if you don't mind some cocoa lumps), and then add the flour with leavening ingredients.
Add some yogurt--I used my favorite, the Greek Gods honey flavor--then stir in the peanut butter chips. Bonus: The dough doesn't contain any egg, so it's safe to eat raw! You will be shocked at how easy and amazing these cookies are, just like this outlet is.
Of course, these cookies work just fine without the peanut butter chips, or with chocolate chips instead. I bet if you brought a double batch of these to a Superbowl party, you'd be the coolest kid there. Just remember to leave a few stashed at home for a chocolate emergency, especially if you live with Alex Smith


Cocoa Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips
Adapted from Cooking Light | 2 dozen cookies

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons (71 g) butter
7 tablespoons (52 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup (150 g) granulated sugar 
1/3 cup packed (67 g) brown sugar
1/3 cup honey or vanilla yogurt 
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Alternatively, coat the sheet with cooking spray.) Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in the microwave in a large glass bowl. Stir in both sugars, and sift in the cocoa powder. The mixture will resemble coarse sand...very delicious coarse sand. 

Add the yogurt, stirring well to combine. Add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined--don't overstir--and then stir in the peanut butter chips. Scoop out the dough by tablespoons and roll between your palms to form balls. (If the dough doesn't stick together, chill the bowl of dough in the fridge for a little while.) Place the balls two inches apart on the sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. (I find that just shaking a salt grinder above each cookie works really well. I'm partial to Trader Joe's pink Himalayan salt.)

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with the other half of the dough.