Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Peanut Butter And Jam Crescents...

Jeff asked if I could make some sort of cookie for this week's Wednesday Treat Day - I said that wasn't a problem, but gave him such a selection that I think I overwhelmed him a bit! He gave up on trying to pick out one... so he closed his eyes to randomly pointed to these two-bite Peanut Butter And Jam Crescents.

Peanut butter actually plays a role in two area of these cookies - besides being in the filling, it also works itself into the dough! Into the bowl of dry ingredients, I added chunky pieces of softened cream cheese, butter and a couple scoops of creamy peanut butter. Instead of bothering with a pastry blender, I plunged my fingers right in and used them to work those into the flour, creating a shaggy mess that quickly came together into a smooth dough. After dividing the dough into two pieces, you'll want to wrap each well and set them aside into the refrigerator as we gave it a work out and it needs to rest. This also gave the cream cheese and butter a chance to firm back up, which will aid in the ease of rolling it out.

After an hour of chilling out, we rolled the discs of very forgiving dough into a large ten inch circle - on top of each, we smeared on a creamy concoction of peanut butter and jam. You can use any smooth jam you like, be it grape, strawberry, raspberry or whatever your heart desires and would go well with peanut butter! With lots of soft textures, we wanted to add some textural contrast to the cookies - to achieve that, we scattered finely chopped peanuts over the top, which also played a role in ramping up the magnitude of peanut flavor. Just be sure to gently press those peanuts into the jam layer to give them some staying power as you roll them up.

To cut these cookies out, find your pizza wheel you have hidden in your drawer - it will make quick work of slicing each round into sixteen equal wedges! To shape the cookies, you'll want to start at the wide end of the cookie (the edge) and tightly roll the cookie up towards the point to form a crescent shape. To help give the cookies a rich color, we prepared a simple egg wash by mixing a golden egg yolk with a splash of milk to give each a light coating with a pastry brush. Once browned, you'll want to let the cookies cool completely before dusting them with powdery confectioners' sugar for an attractive finish.

Using the cream cheese and butter in the dough made for quite a tender cookie, while the peanut butter bounced off the flavors inside the spiral for a more cohesive nature - I also enjoyed the fact that these were just barely sweet, a nice change! Dainty and just the right size for a treat, I'm already conjuring other fillings that might mingle well - maybe a handful of miniature chocolate chips or swapping out the jam for Nutella and using chopped hazelnuts? I also wonder if it would work to use mashed roasted banana and swirl it with the peanut butter, along with a drizzle of honey!

While we didn't prepare a new main dish for tonight's dinner, I did throw together a new side to go with!

In these Shoestring Fries with Garlicky Dijon Mayo, we got the sauce together first so the flavors had mingle while the fries baked. To soften the harshness of the fat clove of raw garlic we used, we let the minced pieces float in a little sherry vinegar for a few minutes. In addition to those two ingredients, we stirred in mayonnaise, a dollop of grainy Dijon mustard and a little fresh parsley for color.

For the potatoes, we sliced away at a couple russets until we had fries that were roughly 1/4" thick and wide. Since these are baked, not fried, there is one step that takes them a step above your ordinary baked fries. To help them crisp as the bake, but stay moist and fluffy on the inside, the potatoes are placed into a bowl and covered with hot water to sit . The hot water works to draw some of the starch out, which you'll be able to see at the bottom of the bowl when you drain away the water! You could use colder water, but using hot speeds up the process to a short ten minute wait. While I was busy finishing up the potatoes, I also did one more trick that I like to do to help the fries along... I slid the coated pan I was going to bake the potatoes on into the oven for five minutes to preheat before I added the fries. I find this gives them a head start and I love hearing the sizzle as soon as the hit the pan!

One of the more important parts to this is you'll want to drain away that hot water and dry off the potatoes as much as you can - if they are still wet, the minute amount of oil we used would have a tendency to slide off and not stick. While we do make sure to season them well with salt before they hit the oven, I also like to toss them with a bit more as soon as they come out from the oven as a lot of the salt gets left behind in the bowl or on the pan. As much as I've seen others do it, I've never been one to dip my fries into a side of mayonnaise... I never saw appeal. However, this easy garlicky dip sure threw my reasonings right out the window! Creamy with just enough bite from the garlic, this tantalizing mixture persuaded each crispy fry I picked up to go for a dip. Needless to say, I was sad when I noticed it was all gone while I still had a few fries to go - I'll have to scribble down a note to double that next time!


  1. These crescents sound amazing! Just amazing. I love the crunch you added with the peanuts. Man, what great flavor combinations. And, cream cheese does such wonderful things for dough! (And, of course, shoestring fries are AMAZING!)

  2. They are super. That was a great choice.

  3. Those crescents are beautiful! I am sure they were enjoyed :o)


  4. Elyse - Thanks!

    Helene - They went pretty fast too!

    Courtney - Thanks!