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Flour Girl: Chocolate peanut butter yumminess

Double Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chewies. (Jonathan Ernst for The Washington Post)

I'm a sucker for the flavor combination of chocolate and peanut butter. As a certain 1970s-1980s commercial slogan put it: "two great tastes that taste great together." Who really cares whether you got your chocolate in my peanut butter or the other way around when the results are so much more than the sum of their parts?

Recipe Included

The only way to improve upon the pairing would be to create a scrumptious dessert that, while not truly healthful, isn't as sinful as others.

In honor of Cookie Week (our issue devoted to all things "cookie" came out yesterday!) I tried a recipe from Eating Well's December 2009 issue. Heidi Farnworth, a loyal EW reader and finalist in the magazine's annual cookie contest, has improved the nutritional profile of these cookies by subbing canola oil for the usual butter. This is not always a workable substitution. Oil and butter obviously have different characteristics when used in baking. But when combined with the oats, the oil works to make a tender, chewy cookie.

Because the recipe makes a fairly loose and sticky dough, Farnworth calls for flattening the cookies with the bottom of a glass dipped in water, then in sugar. This is a little messy; if you chill the dough a bit (30 minutes) or use it immediately without handling it too much, you can roll balls of the dough in a bowl of sugar, which I found to be an easier process. And that way, the cookies are well coated, causing less "stickage" to the bottom of the glass when you flatten them.

Once baked, these cookies are sturdy enough for transporting to a cookie exchange party or for packing in a lunchbox.

--Leigh Lambert

Double Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chewies
Makes 3 dozen cookies

MAKE AHEAD: The dough needs 20 to 30 minutes' chilling time in the refrigerator. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze them for up to 3 months.

3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup rolled oats (do not use quick-cooking or instant oats)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chunky natural peanut butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup trans-fat-free peanut butter chips, such as Sunrise
1/4 cup turbinado sugar, for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have 2 or 3 ungreased baking sheets at hand.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, oats, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine the peanut butter, oil and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugars are well incorporated. Add the eggs, yogurt and vanilla extract; beat for 1 to 2 minutes until well blended.

Reduce the speed to low; gradually add the flour mixture until well combined. Use a spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. The dough will be sticky.

Cover and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes or work with the unchilled dough, handling it as little as possible. Place the turbinado sugar in a saucer or on a plate. Use a small cookie scoop or slightly rounded tablespoons of dough to form thirty-six 1-inch balls, rolling the balls in the sugar as you work and arranging them, spaced 2 inches apart, on the baking sheet. If you are shaping the dough by hand, moisten your hands as needed to prevent sticking. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies are just set. Do not overbake.

Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing.

Per cookie: 117 calories, 3 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 12 mg cholesterol, 78 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugar

By Leigh Lambert  |  December 10, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl , Recipes  | Tags: Flour Girl, Leigh Lambert, cookies, recipes  
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