Friday, March 9, 2012

Chocolate and peanut butter cookie-brownies, and are food bloggers proper food writers?

Recipe first. I felt it coming when my husband asked me three times if I was going to the supermarket (no, no, and no) and then moved around the kitchen saying that there wasn't anything bad to eat. Our American wwoofer lifted his eyes in surprise, but I knew exactly what it all meant, and replied that the cookie jar is empty on purpose. Yes, that he worked it out too, I am not the type that simply forgets to fill the tins, I simply try to 'regulate' the weekly intake of sugar in this family. But then I felt guilty, with the wwoofer we had an extra mouth to feed, and another thought crossed my mind: I never made peanut butter cookies!

When I told the American he couldn't believe it, they are such a classic US thing, but to be honest I am not really fond of them and I rarely eat peanut butter, which is also the only food that my kids don't like.
But my husband loves it, so I decided to go for peanut butter and chocolate and invent something that would feel more .... decadent? 

I used:
200 g smooth peanut butter (with salt)
100 g 72% dark chocolate, melted
100 g sugar
1 egg
more sugar, regular and icing, to dust.

It is great to see that flour is not needed (gluten free, hurrah!!) you realize that as soon as the egg goes in: everything becomes really thick! I rolled the mixture into walnut size balls and then rolled half of them in icing sugar and the other half in regular sugar before baking them. I wanted to see the difference, and regular sugar works better for this recipe, possibly because there is no butter.
Baking flattens the balls into little domes, keep it at 180°C for about 16 minutes, no more than 18 if you like me like the cookies to be soft inside. Let them cool completely outside the oven before removing from the baking tray. 

I actually had step by step images but they got lost while a keen helper erased more images that needed to be erased from my phone, but the process is very simple and similar to this one, a method that I often use, with few variations, to make most of my chocolate cookies. Of course I didn't tell this to Jacob, the American wwoofer, since he was so impressed that without having ever made peanut butter cookies I came up with these little beauties in less than 40 minutes, and no recipe! 

Of course he loved them, so did my husband, but what about the kids? The came home from school and smelled chocolate. Arantxa was the first, one bite and she looked at me, but her expression wasn't happy. 

What did you put in it? 
You tell me, use your sense of taste! 
Mmmh, some sort of nut... hazelnut? 
I thought so, I like hazelnuts... oh... no... you didn't!!! How could you!!!!

Max hadn't taste his yet

What!!! What is it, what did she put in it!!
Shhh don't tell him...
Peanut butter!!! She put peanut butter in!!!
You did?
Yes... but the chocolate is stronger, try...
Yes, they are not bad, you can just taste the peanut butter.
No, this is not good, these are like the cookies that Dad likes...

... And she doesn't. So, feeling guilty, I also made some vanilla cupcakes :-).

Next chapter: on Wednesday I went to a social media seminar held by the Guild of Food Writers. I have been a member for years, but attended very few events, and it was about time I showed up again. Nothing new to report back to food bloggers about the content of the seminar itself, since all of us seem to be already connected to most of the social media available now, but there is one thing that I like to tell you: Greig Buckley, the presenter, mentioned the New Zealand Food Bloggers Association, the fact that we had our first well attended conference, and put up on the screen this page, telling how many members there are already. I think that I was the most surprised person there. I was surprised because bloggers were talked about so 'officially'. And I was the only member there who also happens to be a (non commercial) blogger. I asked the committee if they would consider food bloggers as potential Food Writers Guild members, and they said yes, they had talked about it already (didn't I read the newsletter???), and bloggers are food writers (or write about food...) although individual blogs will need to be considered first for 'quality'. But mostly I had the impression that food bloggers matter, I said that food bloggers can be very powerful (why use half terms here?) and a lot of people nodded. Maybe not everybody likes it, but that is another matter.
So, if you like to belong to the NZ Guild of Food Writers, you should submit your blog!

Well, happy weekend to all, I leave you with one of Arantxa's art pieces, a thank you token for watching and supporting her video.

 Artwork by Arantxa  Zecchini Dowling©

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. Su quei biscotti al burro di arachidi, passo anche io...è un alimento un pò lontano dalla mia cucina e dai gusti dei miei., però l'aspetto è fantastico.

    Sul presentare il blog al NZ penso che avrei problemi, visto che non scrivo in inglese, anche se mi avrebbe fatto piacere.

    buon we


    1. Non ti preoccupare Loredana, questa informazione e' solo per i neozelandesi :-)

  2. Lucky husband and yummy cookies. They'll like it someday =)

  3. True, my husband didn't like peanut butter when he was a child!

  4. I've noticed that in NZ professional food writers (mostly) seem to totally accept what we do as the real deal, the total opposite to opinions in the States and here in Australia too. It's been really encouraging for me to have NZ food writers comment on my blog or email to say they enjoy what I do and last year I was encouraged to apply to become a member of the NZ Guild of Food Writers and was accepted! I hope those attitudes stick around and it's awesome to see, and really the only difference between professional food writers and a good number of food bloggers is that they get payed, we (sadly!) don't. Xx

    1. I think many food writers here now also have a blog, so they understand a bit more what blogging is about.

  5. troppo bellino il video di tua figlia!

    e con figli così, ti permetti pure di lasciare loro e il maritino a corto di biscotti?!?!?!?

    scherzi a parte, dopo che l'anno scorso ho fatto biscotti a gogò, e sono diventata un baule gagà, ho smesso di farli, semplicemente. quelli comprati sono meno sani, ma dato che a me non piacciono, almeno non li mangio :-(

  6. Interesting how blogging is starting to be realised as a medium in its own right! Good on you for promoting it!!

    And those biscuits look ... hhhmmm ... interesting!! Might have to follow your children's lead!

  7. complimenti Alessandra molto buoni i tuoi biscotti, un abbraccio maria

  8. Great biscuits! You also covered an interesting topic.
    Bloggers do write very interesting articles and I find that you learn as you do it, improving all the time. Buon weekend!

  9. ogni tanto mi salvo ricette di biscotti con peanut butter, ma ancora non trovo il coraggio di farli ......ogni biscotto un etto di ciccia spalmata.....anzi prima si mette sui fianchi e poi si spalma ^________^ ma l'idea mi rimane a ronzare nella testa, ciauzzzzzzzz

    1. Lo so, e qui si mangiano biscotti a palate!! Meglio che vada a farmi una camminata adesso! :-)

  10. Ciao Ale, questi biscotti sono golosissimi, ma ti devo chiedere un favore: per caso hai una ricetta di dolcetti orientali, tipo a base di mandorle e miele? Un'amica mi ha chiesto aiuto per una serata sulla Cambogia dove voleva offrire qualcosa di dolce orientale, magari tu ne conosci , in rete non ho trovato nulla! Grazie ciao

    1. Deve essere per forza mandorle e miele? Se fossi in te la cosa piu' facile e' fare delle gelatine di agar agar come i cubetti di mango che ho postato nei miei sette link di dolci. Il mango pudding (gelatina di mango) si mangia in tutta l'Asia sud-orientale, io ho usato il pure di mango in scatola (preso in un negozio indiano) ma puoi usare mango in scatola (a meno che non trovi tanto mango fresco maturo) e frullarlo, po allunghi con acqua , aggiungi agag agar (leggi quanto ce ne vuole per peso del liquido) e non serve neppure lo zucchero. Presentarlo a cubetto come ho fatto io sa molto di orientale. A parte quello in Cambogia so che servono anche vassoi di frutta fresca (esotica) tagliata come dessert, oppure riso glutinoso con sopra fette di mango fresco (ma questo non piace molto agli occidentali).

      Spero che quesTo posso esserti utile


  11. Love peanut butter, so these cookies would be a huge hit with me.

  12. We are peanut nutter fans here, so the cookies would be a big hit in my house. I loved your daughter's art work. You have a very talented youngster and she has a very bright future ahead of her.I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  13. grazie a tua figlia per il disegno è molto delicato :)

    il burro di arachidi non mi piaceva. da qualche mese ne vado matta non so nemmeno io perchè, e faccio fatica a starci lontana.....quindi questi biscotti saranno da fare ^_^

  14. Grazie Ale,me li ricordo quei cubetti, mi hanno sempre ispirata!! problema è trovare un mango decente o quello in scatola....però se lo troviamo, effettivamente è una cosa molto carina e molto esotica, grazie tante, ciao! Franci

    1. Si in Italia i mango buoni sono difficili da trovare (ma anche qui eh! Per questo compro la polpa di mango in scatola). Avete un negozio di prodotti asiatici dalle vostre parti?

  15. I am not very into peanut butter either, I only like to use it to make savoury dishes...! I am sure adding chocolate to the cookies would make them more decadent, at least imho ;).,

  16. Thanks for the story Alessandra, so interesting to hear about the guild! I'm certainly going to think about it further. And lovely cookies!

  17. Wow no flour! These are fun treats indeed. How many does your husband eat in a sitting?

    I think the modesty of kiwis means that when we start our little blog we often don't realise how much of ourselves and our time we will put into it. I certainly didn't when I started. I'm almost embarrassed when I'm referred to a as a food blogger. Not because I'm not one, but because blog writers are self appointed. Unlike published and salaried writers for other publications, your own blog can go ahead no matter the experience and quality. Anyone can start a food blog. No training required. For this reason, I'm hesitant to let people know that I keep a food blog.

    I love reading other people's blogs though and if there's a guild then it's great that they are looking at blogging as just another platform. One of the best things about blogs is that they are interactive. You can comment the most famous writers around and they can reply to you pretty instantly. It's wonderful. We're all on the edge of the same stage.

  18. I didn't know about the Food Writers Guild but glad to hear there is one! I think people who can write well about food as well as enjoying doing things with food are amazing. I'm still on the experimenty side, and about half of the time if I let myself keep editing I'd never get anything written - so check the spelling and then go for it!

    I think blogging can be a great way to get writing experience - it certainly provides a mechanism for your body of work to be quickly displayed.

    Just like Bunnyeatsdesign I was a little shy about mentioning the blog, but when applying for a job before Christmas I added it into my interests. One of the interviewers asked for the link during the interview and looked up my post on Turducken! A very interesting diversionary topic during a dry interview! I've made heaps of fascinating online friends blogging, and am glad to know that if I took the writing end more seriously then there is a pathway for development available. Great news!

  19. The story behind this recipe made me laugh out loud. I've just come back from a few days working in Christchurch and my husband was complaining bitterly there was no snacks in the fridge, cake tin or biscuit jar! Interesting perspective on the Food Writers Guild - thanks for letting us know about that.

  20. I didn't know about the Food Writers Guild so thank you & those cookies sound amazing :)


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