We found this recipe in the Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2009 cookbook. Paige gave it to me for Christmas 2008…go figure on the dates. It is sheer brilliance to substitute cereal for flour. We were quite excited to find out that Cap’n Crunch could boost the cookies’ peanut butter flavor without the peanut butter fat content. One caveat though, we made quite a mess dealing with the peanut butter sticking to everything. Still, it’s relatively easy to make, tastes great, and makes the house smell like a Reeses Cup – YUM!
Ease of Preparation: Easy
- 1.5 cups Cap’n Crunch’s Peanut Butter Crunch cereal
- 1/3 cup plus 1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened; plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 5 tablespoons reduced-fat chunky peanut butter (this recipe calls for Skippy Super Chunk specifically)
- 1.25 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon water
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. We swear by parchment paper and the like. There’s nothing like not having to clean the baking sheets. Pulse the cereal and 1/3 cup flour in a food processor until finely ground. We don’t own a food processor, so we put the cereal and flour into a large ziplock bag and ground it together with a rolling pin. Just make sure that the cereal stays in the middle of the bag and doesn’t get jammed into the corners. Otherwise, the bag will split and the cereal will be forced out by the rolling pin. Add the remaining flour, baking soda, and salt and pulse to combine. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the softened butter, peanut butter, and sugar together until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in the melted butter, egg whites, and vanilla until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until incorporated. Add the water and mix until absorbed.
Roll 1.5 tablespoons dough into 1.5 inch balls and space 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. The cookies expand as you bake them, so the spacing actually helps. Using the bottom of a drinking glass, gently flatten the balls to approximately 1/4 inch thickness. Then, using a fork, press a crosshatch pattern into the top of each cookie. Bake one sheet of cookies for about 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Depending on how many cookies are on the sheet, how thick the cookies are, and how your oven performs, baking times vary. You’re looking for the edges of the cookies to be crisping just slightly as the middle remains soft. Don’t look for the cookies to brown, because the color of the peanut butter makes it difficult to tell. If you see browned edges, then they’re probably going to be overcooked and hard. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. We found that the cookies were actually better cooled. When eaten warm out of the oven, the peanut butter flavor didn’t come through fully. Repeat with the remaining dough.