Francesca, my pandemic-era sourdough starter, was revived especially for these Peanut Butter Sourdough Cookies with Salted Candied Peanuts. It’s my latest recipe for Feast Magazine’s September issue featuring all things fermented. I’d been mulling over the idea of creating a cookie with sourdough discard (it’s always sad to throw out that portion) and this was just the excuse to make it happen. My primary goal was to create a textural cookie with the perfect balance of soft, chewy, crunchy, salty, and sweet. The final result did not disappoint! Thanks to the natural leavening of the sourdough starter it imparts a soft, light texture to these chewy peanut butter cookies. No additional flour is added to the dough in order to enhance the peanut butter flavor; with each cookie rolled in caramelized salted candied peanuts for a salty-sweet crunch. All that’s needed to complete this dessert is a cold glass of milk. An important note before baking: Use regular peanut butter, such as JIF, to achieve the best texture and shape. If you love a comforting peanut butter cookie these will take you to a whole new level of enjoyment.
Peanut Butter Sourdough Cookies with Salted Candied Peanuts
Makes 13 cookies
Salted Candied Peanuts
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
¼ cup water
1 cup Spanish peanuts
Peanut Butter Sourdough Cookies
2 cups light brown sugar
2 large egg yolks
½ cup sourdough discard
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp kosher salt
2 cups creamy peanut butter
Flaky sea salt for finishing
For the Salted Candied Peanuts
Line a baking sheet with a non-stick silicone baking mat or parchment paper. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, sea salt, and water. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally with a heat resistant spoon, until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens into a syrup, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the peanuts. Continue to stir until nuts are coated and sugar begins to crystallize, about 2 minutes. The nuts and the bottom of the pan will develop a coarse powdery white coating.
Place saucepan back over medium-high heat and continuously stir until the crystallized sugar coating melts and caramelizes into a golden amber color, about 3-4 minutes. The saucepan will begin to smoke lightly as the sugar caramelizes. Immediately, scrape out candied peanuts onto the prepared baking sheet. With the back of the heat resistant spoon, spread them into an even layer and set on a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cool, place the candied peanuts into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until peanuts are chopped into fine pieces with bits of larger pieces scattered throughout. Pass the candied peanuts through a fine-mesh strainer to sift out any dust and discard the dust. Transfer candied peanuts into a small bowl; set aside.
For the Peanut Butter Sourdough Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the light brown sugar, egg yolks, sourdough discard, vanilla extract, and salt until combined. Stop and scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the peanut butter and mix to combine.
Using a 2 ½-ounce cookie scoop, about ¼ cup, portion out dough. Roll the top of each dough ball in the candied peanuts until well coated, then place 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten the tops of each to ½-inch thick using the back of a drinking glass. Bake cookies for 16 minutes, until they’re lightly puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and lightly sprinkle each cookie with flaky sea salt. Set on a rack to cool completely. Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.