Adaptations of adaptations

by April on October 5, 2011

This recipe is an adaptation. Of an adaptation.

David Lebovitz adapted it from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet, using plain roasted peanuts (he was out of salted) and adding a pinch of fleur de sel.

I’d planned to make them Lebovitz-style, until Luis asked, “What about cajeta?”

And with that, these cookies took a turn for the Mexican.

Cajeta is similar to caramel, but made of sweetened, caramelized goat milk. It can be eaten on its own (not that I do that several times a day until the jar is empty), but it’s especially good for filling pastries, topping crepes, or poured over ice cream, which is how it’s typically consumed at our house, with the addition of toasted pecans.

You can check out Lebovitz’s recipe here, or find some cajeta of your very own and make these cookies as follows. Either way, you’ll see how perfectly caramel, peanut butter, dark chocolate, and a touch of salt meld together, and they are awfully cute besides.

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies with Cajeta

Makes about 50 cookies.

You’ll need:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup creamy salted peanut butter (for these, Lebovitz recommends regular peanut butter over organic)
  • 1 3/4 cups  flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bottle or jar of cajeta
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped, roasted, salted peanuts
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  3. Beat in peanut butter.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
  5. Scoop tablespoon-sized portions of dough and roll each between your hands to make them as smooth as possible.
  6. Space dough 1 1/2-inches apart on the baking sheets, then use the rounded end of a wooden spoon, or your thumb, to make a depression in each one. If the sides crack, push them back together.
  7. Bake for 13–16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, until they are light brown and the edges just start to darken. Remove from oven, and while warm, press in to reinforce each depression with the end of a wooden spoon. Let cool completely.
  8. Add the chopped peanuts to the cajeta. Spoon some into each cookie, then drizzle them with chocolate.

Lebovitz says these cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. I’ll have to trust him on that — none of our cookies stuck around that long.

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