Not too long ago, I was lucky enough to take up a six-week food styling and photography course at RMIT. The class is taught by Olivia Sparks, a super talented stylist who specialises in food, interiors, fashion and lifestyle. It was every bit as inspiring and insightful as I thought it would be, and, in addition to meeting some wonderful people, I also learnt heaps! Like how lighting can make or break a shot. And where to find the coolest props. And how stylists use lipstick to make strawberries look redder. And…yeah, I could go on all day! If you want to find out more about the class or are interested in taking it because, like me, you’re absolutely hopeless at anything that requires the flow of creative juice, here’s the link to the course page. I highly recommend it!
Of course, even having completed the course, I’m still a complete novice. But whenever I whip my camera out now, I’m thinking about props and backdrops and surfaces and negative space and a bunch of other things I’d never considered before I took the class. So, I decided to put a little effort into today’s post. A little more than my usual ‘dunk it on a plate and take a photo’ method, that is. 🙂
I thought I’d stick with something simple. But truth be told, I’ve never had much luck with cookies. In all of my tragic cookie-related experiences, I’ve always taken them out of the oven and waited eagerly while they cooled, only to find they had turned rock hard. Like eat-one-and-you-will-chip-a-tooth-rock-hard. Anyway, I woke up the other day with a massive craving for something – anything – peanut butter-flavoured, and the first thing that popped into my head was a big fat peanut butter cookie, oozy melted chocolate chunks and all. Promptly followed by me sledge-hammering my likely version of the poor thing to death.
Lucky for me, Curtis Stone knows his cookies. These peanut butter choc chunk bad boys are everything a cookie should be – soft, chewy and outrageously addictive. The recipe is pretty straightforward, as well – one of those plonk everything in the mixer and watch it work its magic types.
Yields approximately 15 cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (roughly 280g) peanut butter (I opted for smooth, but you’re more than welcome to go down the chunky route)
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup (125g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ tbsp honey
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
155g semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (you can use chocolate chips, as well!)
Preheat oven to 350°F /180°C/160°C fan-forced.
Line 1 large tray or 2 medium-sized trays with baking paper.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, caster sugar, butter, honey, egg and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture in 2 parts, mixing well after each addition.
Gently fold in chocolate chunks.
Spoon 1 ½ heaped tablespoons of dough for each cookie onto prepared baking tray(s), spacing them about 5cm apart. No need to flatten them, they’ll expand on their own in the oven.
Bake for 12 minutes or until cookies are slightly browned on top, but still very soft.
Allow cookies to cool on trays for 5 minutes (if you can wait that long, goodness knows I was chomping at the bit to eat one by this point) and then transfer to cooling rack once slightly they have firmed up a little.
I’m slightly alarmed at how many I’ve already polished off, but like all the sugary treats I’ve come across lately, I’m just going to file this one under ‘to be worked off at the gym’. Besides, it’s peanut butter! And chocolate! All counter-arguments are invalid. 😉
– Erika x