In the world of dentistry, “SRP” stands for “Scaling and Root Planing,” a super thorough deep-clean. In the world of FoodSwingBlog, “SRP” stands for “Short Recipe Post,” a condensed, flavor-packed post with minimal added comedic fillers and no high fructose corn syrup.
Sweet & Salty Peanut Cookies
Crunchetize me Cap’n! I have not seen a Cap’n Crunch cereal commercial in yeeeeaaaars, but I still remember the slogan perfectly! As a kid, my mom would never buy it for me because it was “too sugary,” yet, I still was allowed to eat Little Debbie Zebra Cakes — I guess that’s balance.
It wasn’t until college that I experienced the delights of Cap’n Crunch cereal. As my peers were discovering things like pot, beer, and “themselves,” I was exploring the world of sweetened cereals. My parents must be so proud.
I never wanted to eat these sugar bombs in the traditional bowl-with-milk fashion; I preferred to mix them into trail mixes for in-class snacking. In my world, my love of the sweet & salty combination manifests in everything from desserts to snacks.
As mentioned in my last post (kindly see here for details), discovering “Crunch Coating” (a mix of Cap’n Crunch, salted peanuts, & sprinkles) at a small ice cream stand in Watkins Glen, NY was a game-changer for me. I used this nectar of the gods in a batch of cupcakes last Friday, but I went a tad overboard on the quantity (1st world problems). I couldn’t bear to toss the extra, and I figured I’d have a mammoth tummyache if I downed it all myself. The solution? Cookie mix-in!
Over the years, I’ve found that you can really mix almost any dry items into a classic cookie dough with delectable results (adding juicy things like fruits can be a bit more problematic). Chocolate chips, of course, mix in beautifully, but so do chopped candy bars, nuts, seeds, and even potato chips & pretzels.
This dough is my Classic(ish) Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, slightly adapted to accommodate the cereal (I added a large splash of cream to help prevent the dry cereal from sapping the moisture from the dough as it rests). You really can’t go wrong with this flavor profile (barring any nut allergies — anaphylaxis is typically not the goal). Plus, these cookies hold up well to both time and travel!
Sweet & Salty Peanut Cookies
1 stick (8 tablespoons) + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 yolk, room temp
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or imitation vanilla…really, either is fine here)
1 cup bread flour + 1 cup all-purpose flour (use 2 cups A-P flour if you don’t have bread flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + a bit more for pre-bake sprinkling
1 cup Cap’n Crunch cereal (original or peanut butter)
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1/2 cup chocolate jimmies
1/4 cup mini Reese’s Pieces candies (in the baking aisle)
Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, for decorating
1 tablespoon milk or cream
At least 2 hours before making the dough, brown 1 stick of unsalted butter (read post above, if you’ve never browned butter before), and immediately transfer to a small glass dish or heat-safe measuring cup. Stir cinnamon into hot browned butter, cover dish, & chill at least 2 hours (up to one day), until butter has re-solidified.
In a large freezer bag, add cereal & peanuts. Use a rolling pin or meat mallet to bash up the ingredients into smaller pieces (don’t beat it into a fine powder). Add chocolate jimmies & candies to the bag, and shake to combine. Set aside.
Remove chilled brown butter, 4 tablespoons un-browned butter (cut into 1/2″ chunks), and eggs from fridge 1 hour prior to dough assembly — room temp ingredients blend together sooooo much more easily. In the bowl of a stand-mixer, or mixing bowl with hand-mixer, cream together both butters and both sugars, on medium speed, until pale & fluffy, ~2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula, turn mixer to low, and add whole egg, then yolk, then vanilla. Return mixer to medium speed, and beat for an additional minute. Again, scrape down sides of bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda, & salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients in 3 batches (you may want to switch the mixer off for each dry aliquot to prevent coating yourself and onlookers in flour). Switch mixer off immediately after adding the last of the dry ingredients, and add the milk. Beat for 10 seconds on high. Turn mixer to lowest setting, and add the crushed cereal/jimmie/candy mix. Mix 10 seconds. Use rubber spatula to scrape sides of bowl and gently pat dough into a rough ball. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour.
Remove chilled dough from fridge, and scoop out heaping tablespoonfuls of dough. Use your hands (slightly dampened with cold-water if you have excessively hot hands) to roll into squat cylinder shapes. Place rolled dough cylinders onto a plate lined with wax paper. Artistically top each cookie with a few mini chocolate chips, pressing gently to ensure adherence; cover plate with plastic wrap, and chill 24-48 hours.
Remove chilled dough from fridge one hour prior to baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line two cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Place 6-8 cookies per sheet, and sprinkle a small amount of kosher salt on top of each cookie. Bake 5 minutes, rotate sheets, and bake for an additional 4-4.5 minutes, edges should only barely be browning, cookies should be puffy, & tops should still be light-colored but dry, with tiny microcracks forming on surface. Allow cookies to sit on hot sheets for 4 minutes to set (they should deflate a bit), before removing to wire racks for complete cooling. Cooled cookies may be stored at room temp, in airtight containers, for up to 5 days. [Note: if it’s very humid out, you may need to chill the cookies for 20 minutes, prior to stacking in storage containers, to re-harden the topping chips]