Some like ’em chewy, some like ’em crispy and some are so firmly entrenched in one camp or the other that the wrong amount of crunch can ruin an entire cookie experience.
"I just found an old cookbook using bran to make cookies," wrote Clarita Ayson. "Made one with peanut butter and another with bananas and raisins and they were soft. I am a crispy cookie lover. Is there anything I can do to make crispier, healthy bran cookies?"
My general rule of thumb is to leave the cookies in the oven until set (meaning they give only a little when touched) and let them cool on the cookie sheet, not on a rack. This will give you more crunch. Don’t bake the cookies until firm or they’ll just be hard. Like rocks.
Those seriously into food science have other suggestions: Use all white sugar or at least a higher percentage of white to brown; add a little milk to thin out the batter just enough to make a thinner, crunchier cookie.
This recipe is adapted from one developed by Hodgson Mill, which makes a line of whole-grain products. For more baking ideas using oat bran and the like, I recommend the website www.hodgsonmill.com.
Ingredient note: You want to use oat bran cereal, which is not the same as oatmeal, All-Bran or wheat germ. Quaker Oats is one brand, generally sold as a hot cereal right there next to the oatmeal and Cream of Wheat. It’s a light, powdery substance that gives a look of graininess to the cookie but doesn’t taste grainy at all.
Health note: Despite the bran, this cookie still has lots of butter and sugar. So while it has more fiber than an all-white-flour cookie, don’t go eating a dozen of them.
Peanut-Butter Bran Cookies with Crunch
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup sugar (or 3/4 cup white and 1/4 cup brown sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1-1/2 cups oat bran cereal
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter and peanut butter in microwave (1 minute on high). Stir until smooth. Beat in sugar and egg; add vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Combine flours, bran, baking powder and baking soda. Add to peanut butter mixture and stir until well combined. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet. Press with fork to make a crisscross pattern.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly brown and well set but not hard (when you press on them they should still give just a little). Let cool on cookie sheet. Makes 36.
Nutritional information unavailable.
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