Once upon a time, there was a Princess* who lived in the magical land known as Smurf Kitchen. One morning, after getting out of her magical princess bed (i.e. mattress on the floor filling in for the undelivered new bed) and being dressed by magical singing woodland creatures (i.e. her arms), she realised that she was in a baking mood.
Being a Good Princess, she put a lid on this mood in order to make a magical delivery of magical chocolates to her mother (who is neither evil, step-, nor fairy in nature), because her mother was facing a Sad Happening that the Princess wanted, but was unable, to wish away.
After completing the chocolate mission and using her housemate’s golden hair to climb back into Smurf Kitchen through the third-floor window, the Princess realised she still wanted to bake. Sadly, she had been cursed by the Wicked Witch of Limited Pantries, and did not have much to bake with.
The Princess was an enterprising lass, though, and remembered a certain Flourless Peanut Butter recipe that she had noted both in a Real Paper Cookbook and on several friends’ blogs. It involved merely one cup of peanut butter, one cup of white/caster sugar, and one egg.
Easy peasy, thought the Princess.
Well, yes and no. Where’s the fun in making a recipe that many people have done before? Particularly when it’s such a simple recipe, and you are a Princess who waxes lyrical about flavours like Chocolate and Coconut or Kangaroo and Quinoa.
Exactly. This Princess needed some pizzazz in her peanut butter cookies. First, she replaced the caster sugar with light muscovado sugar. Then she added cinnamon. Almost there, the Princess thought.
What happened next is called, in cartoon parlance, a Light Bulb Moment. Can you spot the magical fairytale ingredient that the Princess, giggling as she went, snuck into her cookie batter?
Because of the Princess’ sugar amendment, these cookies behaved a bit differently to the original recipe’s cookies. The muscovado made the batter very wet, which meant that it had to be somewhat plopped, not rolled into balls, onto the baking tray. Also (because of the sugar), the cookies spread out a lot and became quite thin and chewy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside.
Well, they tasted like awesome. Pure, unadulterated awesome. Sometimes the first thing the Princess tasted was peanut butter with crispy, chewy caramel notes (from the muscovado sugar). Other times, though, she’d take a bite and a tiny little eensy weensy zing would emerge at the back of her throat, while another tiny little eensy weensy bit of fruity Tabasco flavour** danced on the tip of her tongue.
In less than 48 hours, the Princess ate 14 of 18 cookies. Some straight-up, some crumbled over and semi-melted into hot oatmeal. Then more straight-up.
And she most certainly lived Happily Ever After.
Not Yo’ Mama’s Cookies: Flourless Tabasco Cinnamon Peanut Butter Cookies
(This is my halved, adapted version of the standard recipe mentioned above. Feel free to double for a full batch – I did half because I knew my housemate wouldn’t go near the cookies with a twenty-foot pole. I got 18 out of the following.)
• ½ cup peanut butter (I used crunchy, because I’m a die-hard crunchy nut butter fan)
• ½ cup muscovado sugar (if you want a less spreading-out dough, use caster/white sugar)
• ½ egg (halving an egg is up there with the more silly things I’ve done in my life)
• ½ tsp cinnamon (estimated. Next time, I’d add more)
• ¼ tsp Tabasco (again, estimated. We don’t have teaspoon measures in Smurf Kitchen)
1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Mix all ingredients together. Roll/somehow get rounded teaspoons of dough onto the tray, leaving room for spreading (which I didn’t quite allow enough room for, as you can see in the photo above).
3. Bake 8-10 minutes, until cooked to your liking.
4. Daintily gobble up, Princess-style, enjoying the interplay of sweetness, nuttiness, and heat. Repeat the Princess’ own words upon tasting her first cookie: “I’m a little bit in love with myself right now”.
* Because only princesses live in Once Upon A Time World. Not potential PhDs trying to decide if/when to start said PhD.
** Tabasco lovers will know what I mean. Because Tabasco has heat, of course, but it also has that slight fruitiness that resides in chillies and capsicums, seeing as they’re technically fruit.