When I think of peanut butter, the first thing that comes to my mind is the film Meet Joe Black and Brad Pitt's wonderful expression as he takes that perfectly peaked spoonful and puts it in his mouth. It's a lovely thought that one of the most striking experiences to someone in a body for the first time was a certain taste. There is a wonderful innocence as he discovers the world through every sense but it is the peanut butter that stays with me.
Taste memories can be as clear as pictures and just as powerful: the old Jamaican lady in the film says "take that nice picture you got in your head home with you, but don't be fooled. We lonely here mostly too. If we lucky, maybe, we got some nice pictures to take with us" - I would imagine Joe Black's pictures include the taste of peanut butter. I know some of my most treasured memories revolve around flavours and come to life every time I taste them again, blossoming out before my eyes.
On that note, maybe I should make some madeleines...
I think my favourite time for these biscuits is with a glass of milk or cup of tea in a quick break from work. They're deep, intense and yet light. They're also very easy to throw together - I knocked this batch up in about half an hour this afternoon with things from the cupboards.
As I didn't have any demerara sugar, I decided to change it up a bit and use golden caster with a little cinnamon. The finished biscuits tasted a little like snickerdoodles (or at least, like the snickerdoodles I made in the summer) but with an intense depth of flavour from the the peanut butter - it really comes through as the second wave of flavour hits.
They have a lovely texture - it's almost like a cake, but crumbly and crisp in a different way and definitely not dense and chewy like a cookie. I call them biscuits out of habit but they're not crisp all the way through.
Peanut Butter Biscuits
(I think the recipe is Delia in origin - I only have a family copy)
110g peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, up to you)
75g butter at room temperature
110g soft brown sugar
175 plain flour
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
demerara/ golden caster sugar and (optional) a sprinkle of cinnamon to top
Preheat oven to 180C and lightly grease a baking tray. To use a food processor, simply blend all ingredients except the sugar/cinnamon. If using a mixer/by hand, beat the butter and sugar together first and then beat in the rest of the ingredients (especially if your butter isn't very soft). Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the demerara/golden caster sugar onto a plate and optionally sprinkle a little cinnamon over the top (I reckon I used maybe 1/4 tsp, maybe a bit more). Then shape balls out of the dough (I made mine walnut sized) and squish them into the sugar to make discs. Turn them over and place onto the baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Leave on the sheet for five minutes before removing to a wire rack. I recommend eating at least one while still warm.
Makes about 15.