Gluten Free PB Brownies

So, a lot of people are gluten free now-a-days. It’s a sad life, because I love my carbs. But I don’t want my flourless friends to get left out of the baking I do so often! The solution? I’ve been tampering with gluten free baking. It’s a lot easier, and much more interesting, than I anticipated. I have gotten a lot of great recipes from Baby Cakes NYC— it’s a darling little cookbook with easy to follow recipes! 

But these brownies of which I speak are kind of a cop out. In a way. If you consider Trader Joe’s to be the easy way out. In addition to the pre-made mix, I added in lots of chocolate chips and a hefty swirl of natural peanut butter. And you know what? If I didn’t know these were gluten free, I wouldn’t think there was anything fishy going on! It’s been great sharing some wheat-free love with people who don’t often come across a good baked treat.

Parent Trap Cookies

Remember these? They’re chocolate chip cookies with an oreo inside of them…so, magic, essentially. I decided to take this a step further an incorporate another magical ingredient: peanut butter. In the Parent Trap, the twins bond over the delicious, unconventional combination of oreo cookies dipped in peanut butter. If you haven’t tried it, you’ve got to. Before baking/assembling these marvelous, caloric cookies, I pipped peanut butter onto the non-cream side of an oreo, put the two sides back together, and popped them into the freezer until they were set. It’s an extra step that is so, so worth it. 

Junk in da Trunk Cookies

Let’s find anything and everything cookie-worthy in Trader Joe’s elusively sinful snack section and throw it into dough with reckless abandon. Never look back, just dump it ALL in there. If there were a conspicuous voice narrating the meeting of these ingredients, I’d imagine it would sound something like this: “No, I don’t know what business chocolate-covered potato chips and peanut butter filled pretzels have with one another. While they’re at it, they should invite along some butterscotch chips. Just wait until the next cookie add-in summit, it’ll involve the rest of the kitchen sink. How divine.”

Hedy Goldsmith hits the nail on the head with this recipe (which is from her amazing book, Baking Out Loud). I really, really like making cookies. The more unconventional and random, the better (let’s throw things back to that one time I made Mexican Hot Chocolate “Snickerdoodles”). Once she gave me the go-ahead to add in whatever spoke to me and be creative about the junk that goes into this cookie’s trunk, I realized the possibilities were endless. For this batch, I chose to add in peanut butter filled pretzels, bittersweet chocolate chunks, mini peanut butter cups, and honey roasted peanuts. I was honestly somewhat doubtful (read: stubbornly hoping for the best but expecting the worst) about this combination. That’s a lot going on for one cookies. Could it handle all of that flavor? But all that doubt melted away once I tasted one of these. 

The recipe for the “trunk” of the cookie is very basic. All you’ve got to do is cream a stick of butter, add half a cup (each) of white and dark brown sugar (as well as a healthy pinch of salt), followed by an egg and a teaspoon of vanilla. Once everything is happily combined, slowly mix in 1 and 3/4 cup of flour and 3/4 tsp of baking soda. Now for the junk. Take whatever add-ins you’ve decided to incorporate and carefully fold those into the dough. Once all of your junk is in the trunk, scoop the dough out onto a plate (this recipe gave me 10 large cookies) and let it chill out in the fridge for at least an hour or so. Once you’re ready to bake, pop those guys into the oven at 350 for 15 minutes, give or take. Pull them out once the bottoms/edges are golden brown, let them cool, and then savor the fact that you can make an endless amount of different cookies from this recipe! I can’t wait to experiment with more junk 🙂