Honestly, I did not think that judging The Takeout’s First Annual Holiday Cookie Contest would be as difficult as it was. I’ve judged a number of baking competitions in my time and have tasted a lot (and I mean a lot) of subpar treats, so I anticipated that we’d receive a number of dubious entries, easily whittle the list down to a handful of semifinalists, bake and eat a few hundred cookies, and a clear winner would emerge all on its own. There would be no emotional turmoil, no sleepless nights filled with second thoughts or cookie guilt. Oh, how wrong I was.
People, you wowed this professional baker and the entire Takeout staff with your cookie recipes. Some of you didn’t just wow, but completely blew us away. I have now stuffed my face with pfeffernüsse and gingersnap sandwiches and brown butter chocolate chunkers, and I am still going back for more (and not just because my house is full of hundreds of cookies). I won’t say that everyone’s a winner, but everyone who entered should be extremely proud of themselves. We’re definitely proud of you!
There were at least five cookie recipes that were in serious contention for the crown, but at the end of the day, it came down to trusting my gut, literally. I have found myself craving this cookie in the middle of the night, sneaking downstairs at 3 a.m. to grab a few. It’s entirely unique and completely irresistible—the sort of cookie you may initially greet with skepticism, but after one single bite, you’ll kick yourself for ever doubting it.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the newest cookie to make your holidays merry and bright: Chocolate Thai Peanut Butter Cookies, by John Roskopf.
“I’ve always been on the savory side and the only baking I really do is holiday cookies,” John told The Takeout in his submission. “My classic cookie is a rosemary shortbread, but last year I came up with this recipe.” These cookies are extremely flavorful, super easy to make, and vegan! Thank you to every person who graciously shared your recipes with us, and thank you John for making this holiday season a little bit sweeter.
Text and recipe by John Roskopf
I got inspiration for this cookie recipe from my all-time favorite ice cream, Jeni’s Bangkok Peanut. It’s a classic peanut butter cookie at heart, complete with fork imprints, but kicked up a notch with red curry paste and a spicy dark chocolate coating. I like to just dip the bottom in chocolate like a Florentine so you can still see the design on top but to each their own. As a bonus, these cookies are vegan (you can use regular milk instead of coconut milk but WHY WOULD YOU) but no carnivore would turn their nose up at them. Cheers!
Yield: 16 cookies
- 1 cup / 240g Peanut Butter (mix well if using natural PB)
- 1 cup / 200g Sugar, granulated
- 1 fl oz. Coconut Milk, room temperature works best
- 1/4 cup Red Curry Paste (about half a 4-oz. jar)
- 1 cup / 120g Flour, all-purpose
- 1 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1 tsp. Salt, kosher
- 160g Dark Chocolate, chopped
- 1.5-2 tsp. Red Pepper (I use Penzey’s Aleppo pepper)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two cookie sheets with parchment and spray with Pam.
In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter and sugar until well combined. Mix in coconut milk and red curry paste.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture and stir. The dough will become stiff, but don’t worry.
Portion into 1.5-oz./40g/whatever cookie scoop you have and roll into balls. Place them on the prepared sheets and make the standard criss-cross pattern with a fork. To prevent sticking, dip the fork in a bowl of sugar between marks.
Bake for about 12 minutes, turning once.
Once the cookies are cool, temper your chili chocolate: Melt 120g of chocolate slowly over a double boiler and mix in the red pepper. Stir in the remaining 40g of chocolate until it melts and cools to about 82F. Slowly reheat and hold in the 88F-92F range. Dip the bottoms of the cookies in your spicy chocolate and return to the cooling rack chocolate side up. Tempered properly, your chocolate will be dark, shiny, and have a snap to it.
Honestly, just melting and not tempering the chocolate is fine, the chocolate police aren’t going to kick down your door or anything. If you don’t want to bother, the cookies are delicious without chocolate! 86 the chocolate and throw the chili in the dough! Or not! It’s 2020, you’ve been through enough without me telling you what to do.