What happens when you start baking and realise you’ve ran out of vanilla essence? Bourbon. Bourbon is what happens when you realise you’ve ran out of vanilla essence. Or at least, it is in my house. I don’t mean drown your vanilla-less sorrows in a sea of bourbon, I’m not condoning becoming an alcoholic here, but the vanilla flavours present in bourbon make it perfect as a substitute in recipes where the alcohol has a chance to cook off. I was putting together some butterless and flourless cookies, i.e. I was baking simply because I had the urge to bake and hadn’t stocked up on some of the necessities, when the situation arose. I was following a recipe, which was first done by Averie Cooks, which it calls for fairly sizable amount of vanilla, meaning that a complete omission just wouldn’t be a good idea. Fortunately I had a bottle of cheap bourbon nearby and substituted the vanilla for a healthy glug of the hard stuff. Thus the Peanut Butter and Bourbon Cookies were born. The lack of butter and flour made them friendly to the vegan and gluten free friends.
I’ve never had something requested to be made again so rabidly. I made them again just two days later and will undoubtedly make them again soon.
- 260g Smooth peanut butter (I have done this since with “crunchy” peanut butter but preferred the result of the cheaper smooth stuff that I used first time around partly as the cheaper peanut butter spreads less.)
- 220g light brown sugar, packed
- 2 Medium Eggs
- 1 tsp Bourbon Whiskey (I used a cheap brand, no sense in wasting good whiskey and the cheaper brands tend to have more flavourings in them) OR 1tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 150g dark, or bittersweet chocolate, chopped roughly (larger chunks are encouraged)
- Start by creaming together the peanut butter and the sugar on a medium speed. Once they have encorporated, beat in the eggs. One at a time.
- Add in the glug of bourbon and beat until the mixture isn’t at all granular.
- Beat in the baking soda. Once this is incorporated beat in the chocolate chips. This won’t need much and you don’t want to blitz the chips themselves too much.
- Place in the fridge for between 2 and 24 hours. You want the dough nice and chilled.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
- Form the dough into small balls and press them (gently, you don’t want these too flat) onto the baking tray a couple of inches apart
- Bake for around 8-10 minutes, until the edges have cooked but the center is still gooey.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack.